Vintage Audio - Alfred von Tirpitz on German Government and U-Boat Warfare

Alfred von Tirpitz Click to download as MP3 Click to download as MP3

Available here are two audio files of Germany's powerful wartime naval minister, Alfred von Tirpitz, both recorded in 1915.

Tirpitz was chiefly responsible for the high-speed development and enlargement of Germany's navy, especially the High Seas Fleet, in the early years of the 20th century.  This policy, backed by Kaiser Wilhelm II, was intended to counteract Britain's undisputed dominance of the seas.

A keen advocate of the military benefits of the controversial practice of unrestricted submarine warfare - which did not differentiate between neutral or enemy shipping within widely defined 'no go' zones, Tirpitz's policy ultimately proved disastrous.  Formally adopted in early 1917 Germany's enthusiastic implementation of unrestricted U-boat warfare resulted in America's entry into the war within months, in April 1917.

Tirpitz was by then however out of office.  Germany's earlier retreat from unrestricted U-boat warfare in 1916 (in the face of heavy U.S. opposition) had caused Tirpitz to tender his resignation to the Kaiser. Somewhat to his surprise it was accepted and his influence thereafter was minimal.

In the first audio clip Tirpitz provides a defence of Germany's method of government; the second audio clip sees Tirpitz outline arguments in favour of U-boat warfare.

A 'Tour' was a period of front-line service.

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