Von Tirpitz was responsible for the transformation of the German Navy into the world-class maritime force. The Nazis later named the largest battleship ever built in Germany after Tirpitz.
On this day in 1849, the famous German Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz was born. He is responsible for the transformation of the German Navy into the world-class maritime force. It is interesting that Tirpitz was born in Küstrin, which today belongs to Poland and is named Kostrzyn. This city is quite far from the sea (over 100 kilometers), but that did not prevent Tirpitz from becoming a naval officer and admiral.
At the age of only 16 and more by accident than design, Tirpitz enrolled at the Kiel Naval School as a cadet. Namely, one of his friends had decided to attend the naval school and Tirpitz liked that idea, so he enrolled as well. At the age of 26 Tirpitz had already achieved the rank of “Kapitänleutnant”, and allowed to command a ship. At 39 he became “Kapitän zur See” (the highest German rank below admiral).
Tirpitz was promoted after he proposed the strengthening of the Navy by the construction of large warships to the German emperor. Emperor Wilhelm II was quite ambitious and he liked such a grandiose idea. Namely, he wanted the Navy comparable to the one of his grandmother – the British Queen Victoria. Tirpitz became admiral, then Secretary of State of the Imperial German Naval Office (Staatssekretär des Reichsmarineamtes). This function was his powerful foothold for implementing the reorganization of the German Navy policy. In fact, as Secretary of State for the Imperial Navy, he was a member of the German imperial government (Cabinet) i.e. he was, in a way, the German naval minister.
In the year 1911 Tirpitz was elevated to the rank of Grossadmiral – which was the highest rank in the German navy in general. Only a few people in German history received this rank. He died at the high age of 80, slightly before Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. The Nazis later named the largest battleship ever built in Germany after Tirpitz.