Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Scapa Flow and the end of Germany's fleet
On Nov. 11, the Germans had to hand over their surface fleet to the Allies. The once-proud fleet was in a state of great disarray. Shattered by mutiny, and left in disrepair, the fleet had sat in port since Jutland. The fleets reached scapa flow for internment soon after they met. But a German admiral was left in charge of the fleet, a grave mistake for the allies. In spring, 1919, the British fleet was away on exercises. People looking at them must have seen a change come over the German fleet. They may have noticed some of the ships sinking gradually into the water. Whatever the case, a loudspeaker probably confirmed that the germans were sinking their own fleet. By the time the British arrived, it was too late. Grossadmiral Tirpitz said that Germans did not understand the sea, and to brace themselves for the darkness of the future, whatever it may have been. The darkness of the future would, in only 20 years, come crashing down on Germany and the battleship.