Alfred Peter Friedrich von Tirpitz
Alfred Peter Friedrich von Tirpitz (19 March 1849 – 6 March 1930) was a German Grand Admiral, Secretary of State of the German Imperial Naval Office, the powerful administrative branch of the German Imperial Navy from 1897 until 1916. Prussia never had a major navy, nor did the other German states before the German Empire was formed in 1871. Tirpitz took the modest Imperial Navy and, starting in the 1890s, turned it into a world-class force that could threaten Britain’s Royal Navy. However, during World War I, his High Seas Fleet proved unable to end Britain’s command of the sea and its chokehold on Germany’s economy. The one great engagement at sea, the Battle of Jutland, ended in a narrow German tactical victory but a strategic failure. As the High Seas Fleet’s limitations became increasingly apparent during the war, Tirpitz became an outspoken advocate for unrestricted submarine warfare, a policy which would ultimately bring Germany into conflict with the United States. By the beginning of 1916, he was dismissed from office and never regained power.