The German High Seas Fleet was a major investment that failed to provide a return, a sad part of German history. This balanced account of a chapter in history that has received remarkably little attention but left a dark stain on the record of German arms – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: The Last Days of the High Seas Fleet, From Mutiny to Scapa Flow FILE: R2918 AUTHOR: Nicholas Jellicoe PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword, Seaforth BINDING: hard back PAGES: 351 PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWI, World War One, World War I, World War 1, the Great War, war at sea, Jutland, Armistice, German surrender, morale, Communism, social disorder, rebellion, mutiny, captivity
IMAGE: B2918.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/yxhhl3r4 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The German High Seas Fleet was a major investment that failed to provide a return, a sad part of German history. This balanced account of a chapter in history that has received remarkably little attention but left a dark stain on the record of German arms – Very Highly Recommended For the second time, Germany tried to establish mastery of Europe and an Empire to rival that of Britain. It ended very badly for Germany but it also damaged the rest of Europe, only to be exceeded by the third attempt under Hitler and perhaps the forth attempt under Von Der Leyen. In 1914, war was a result of miscalculations by several nations but the core was the personal ambition of the Kaiser and his feeling of inferiority. For no better reason that to compete with his British cousins, he started an arms race which centred on the construction of a navy to equal the Royal Navy. Germany had some naval successes during WWI, but not with the High Seas Fleet. Small squadrons and independent warships were able to prey on merchant vessels and old axillary warships in the further oceans from the European fighting. The German submarines also enjoyed some success until the Royal Navy introduced convoys and developed new anti-submarine weapons. The High Seas Fleet, at considerably more cost than its productive detached warships, spent the war almost entirely mouldering in port. There was the brief foray for the Battle of Jutland but although some vulnerabilities were exposed in the British Fleet, the Germans were forced back into port to sit out the war. The years of sitting around doing nothing, other than to consume resources, was naturally demoralizing. Even if nothing else had influenced matters, mutiny was always the risk in a fleet without real purpose and action. As it was, social change was in the air from before 1914, particularly in Russia. This generated unrest across Europe and German began to suffer. When the Allies forced surrender on Germany, they were initially too soft in allowing German troops to head home with their weapons, and then too harsh in the terms they forced through in 1919. The result was that the dangerous myth grew that Germany was undefeated in battle but betrayed by the Jews and the politicians. Burning resentment spread across the German military and the civilian population, leading to the formation and growth of Communist forces and the matching growth of right wing military groups in the form of the Friekorps, leading in to the founding of the NSDP. The German High Seas Fleet became subject to these tensions early and by the time they were required to sail to Scapa Flow and surrender, the situation was already poisonous. Sitting in Scapa Flow with nothing to do but sulk and agitate, the German sailors were forming soviets and the officers' resentment was turning to a plan to scuttle the entire fleet. For the British, the scuttling of the High Seas Fleet was a win because they had no need for the vessels but held the responsibility of the crews who had to be kept on their vessels and fed. What should not be overlooked is the potential for dissent to transfer to the British sailors guarding the impounded German ships, spreading through the British Fleet and then infecting the civilian population. One Midshipman was reprimanded by his Captain for permitting his whaler crew from singing. The Midshipman thought the sailors were just in good spirits and perhaps that was all, but the Captain recognized the 'Red Flag' being sung and saw this as almost mutiny. The result was that the High Seas Fleet had been a costly failure, its scuttling casting a stain on German arms. It became in interesting scrapyard where British divers learned new methods of salvage, helping the Royal Navy in a number of ways. One invention being the hollow rivet fired into a ships hull and then connected to an air hose to force water out of a sunken vessel. This and other inventions became important tools in salvage work and also in damage control on a warship.