Alfred von Tirpitz, Pwned

September 21, 2012, 3:56 pm

From Michael Epkenhans, “Imperial Germany and the Importance of Sea Power,” in N. A. M. Rodger, Naval Power in the Twentieth Century (Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1996), p. 27:

When writing his memoirs after the military and political collapse of the German Empire in November 1918, Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, who can rightly be called the builder of the Imperial German Navy, still remembered an encounter with an unknown English woman in Gibralter some fifty years earlier. Boarding one of the very few German warships, which lay in the harbor of this outpost of the British Empire, and seeing a number of ratings, this woman exclaimed astonishedly: ‘Don’t they look just like sailors?’ When Tirpitz, a young sub-lieutenant then, asked what else they should look like, she replied bluntly: ‘But you are not a sea-going nation.’

Tirpitz, whose memoirs were published the same year that his beloved High Seas Fleet scuttled itself in the British port of Scapa Flow rather than surrender, should have listened.

This entry was posted in military history, mini-thought. Bookmark the permalink.