Tirpitz, Alfred von

(1849-1930)
   admiral; no figure held greater re-sponsibility for poisoning Anglo-German relations in pre-World War I Europe. Born to the family of a jurist in Ebenhausen, near Munich, he entered the small Prussian navy when he was sixteen. In 1892 he was named chief-of-staff of the navy s Supreme Command. Upon appointment in 1897 as State Secretary of the Naval Office (Reichsmarineamt), he instituted a vigorous program of naval ex-pansion. He was ennobled in 1900 and was promoted to Grand Admiral of Germany in 1911.
   A master manipulator of public opinion, Tirpitz aimed to challenge Britain s control of the seas. His large naval construction bills were landmarks. Yet his plan not only threatened to bankrupt Germany, it failed to match British con-struction and innovation. With his dream fleet years from completion, he tried desperately to avoid war in July 1914. Because of Britain s effective use of blockade,* the war soon underscored his inadequacies as a strategist. The Kaiser made him accountable for Germany's deficiency in overseas squadrons, blamed him for the loss at the Falkland Islands, and then vetoed his plans for use of the fleet. His frantic efforts to build submarines—an option he had opposed before the war—sullied his reputation still further. In disgust, he resigned his position in March 1916.
   Tirpitz retained massive influence until the end of the war, both through well-placed admirals and through founding, with Wolfgang Kapp,* the Vater-landspartei, a one-million-strong ultranationalist pressure group that sought vast annexations and indemnities. After the war he joined the DNVP and engaged in efforts to overthrow the Republic. Although he formed friendships with Os-wald Spengler* and Gustav von Kahr,* he detested Hitler s* anti-Semitism* and was suspicious of the Nazi leader s plans. After the DNVP s excellent show-ing in the May 1924 Reichstag* elections, the Party endorsed a Tirpitz cabinet with Wilhelm Marx* as Vice Chancellor. Since the Center Party* refused to "serve as a fig leaf for German Nationalist policy," and the DNVP shunned a government led by Marx, nothing came of the nomination. However, Tirpitz retained his Reichstag mandate until 1928. In 1925 he helped persuade Hinden-burg* to run for the presidency. His posthumous memoirs are bitter and vindic-tive.
   REFERENCES:Herwig and Heyman, Biographical Dictionary of World War I; Scheck, "Intrigue and Illusion and "Politics of Illusion.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • Tirpitz, Alfred von — born March 19, 1849, Küstrin, Prussia died March 6, 1930, Ebenhausen, near Munich, Ger. German naval commander. The son of a Prussian civil servant, he enlisted in the Prussian Navy in 1865, attended the Kiel Naval School, and was commissioned in …   Universalium

  • Tirpitz, Alfred von — (1849–1930)    A key figure in German domestic and foreign policymaking as the naval minister of Kaiser Wilhelm II from the late 1890s until his dismissal in 1916. Tirpitz was born in Kuestrin on the River Oder on March 19, 1849 into an upper… …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

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  • Alfred von Tirpitz — (1903) Alfred Peter Friedrich Tirpitz, ab 1900 von Tirpitz (* 19. März 1849 in Küstrin; † 6. März 1930 in Ebenhausen bei München) war ein deutscher Großadmiral und Nachfo …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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