German Imperial Naval High Command

The German Imperial Naval High Command (German: Kaiserliches Oberkommando der Marine) was an office of the German Empire which existed from 1 April 1889 until 14 March 1899 to command the German Imperial Navy. A similarly named office existed in the Prussian Navy and the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany.

After the dissolution of the German Imperial Admiralty (Kaiserliche Admiralität) on 1 April 1889, the Imperial Naval High Command, the Office of the Inspector-General of the Navy, and the Imperial Naval Office (Reichsmarineamt) were established as successor institutions. The Imperial Naval High Command was headed by a commanding admiral, directly subordinate to the emperor, Wilhelm II of Germany. With the same obligations and rights as a commanding general of the army, this admiral fulfilled the duties of a Chief of the Naval Staff. Under instructions from the emperor, he commanded all naval units at sea and ashore.

When the German Emperor decided to take over the supreme command of the Navy himself on 14 March 1899, the Imperial Naval High Command was disbanded. This happened mainly at the instigation of Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, to increase the power of his Imperial Naval Office (Reichsmarineamt). Some of the powers of the Imperial Naval High Command were transferred to the previously existing Admiralty Staff.

Kommandierender Admiral
Flag for the Commanding Admiral

Commanding Admirals

Commanding Admiral Took office Left office Time in office
Max von der Goltz
Max von der Goltz
1 April 18898 March 18955 years, 341 days
Eduard von Knorr
Eduard von Knorr
8 March 189514 March 18994 years, 6 days

See also


  • Walther Hubatsch: Der Admiralstab und die obersten Marinebehörden in Deutschland 1848-1945. Bernard & Graefe: Frankfurt/Main 1958
  • Konrad Ehrensberger: 100 Jahre Organisation der deutschen Marine, Bernard & Graefe: Bonn 1993.

External links

German High Command

German High Command may refer to:

German Imperial Naval High Command (Kaiserliches Oberkommando der Marine)

Oberste Heeresleitung (OHL, "Supreme Army Command") of the German Empire

Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW, "Supreme Command of the Armed Forces") of Nazi Germany

Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH, "Supreme Command of the Army") of Nazi Germany

Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL, "Supreme Command of the Air Force") of Nazi Germany

Oberkommando der Marine (OKM, "Supreme Command of the Navy") of Nazi Germany

German Imperial Admiralty

The German Imperial Admiralty (German: Kaiserliche Admiralität) was an imperial naval authority in the German Empire. By order of Kaiser Wilhelm I the Northern German Federal Navy Department of the North German Confederation (1866–71), which had been formed from the Prussian Navy Department (Marineministerium), became on 1 January 1872 the German Imperial Admiralty (Kaiserliche Admiralität). The head of the Admiralty (Chef der Admiralität) administered the Imperial Navy under the authority of the imperial chancellor and the supreme command of the Emperor (Kaiserliche Kommandogewalt). It lasted until 1889, undergoing several reorganizations, but proved an impractical arrangement given the constant growth and the expansion of the Imperial Navy. Finally it was abolished in April 1889 and its duties divided among three new entities: German Imperial Naval High Command (Kaiserliches Oberkommando der Marine), the Imperial Naval Office (Reichsmarineamt), and the Imperial Naval Cabinet (Kaiserliches Marinekabinett). The Imperial Naval High Command was, on 14 March 1899, replaced by the German Imperial Admiralty Staff, which simply transferred over most of the personnel of the Admiral Staff detachment of the former Naval High Command.

German Imperial Admiralty Staff

The German Imperial Admiralty Staff (German: Admiralstab) was one of four command agencies for the administration of the Imperial German Navy from 1899 to 1918. While the German Emperor Wilhelm II as commander-in-chief exercised supreme operational command and control of the naval forces, the military staff was split into the Admiralty, the Naval Office, the Naval Cabinet, and the Inspector-General. The command structure had a negative impact on German naval warfare in World War I, as a professional head of the Imperial Navy, similar to the First Sea Lord, was not established until August 1918. After the war and the German Revolution of 1918–19, the Admiralty Staff became subordinate to the Naval Office and was finally disestablished by order of the German President.

Imperial German Navy

The Imperial German Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine, "Imperial Navy") was the navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy (from 1867 the North German Federal Navy), which primarily had the mission of coastal defence. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded the navy, and enlarged its mission. The key leader was Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, who greatly expanded the size and quality of the navy, while adopting the sea power theories of American strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan. The result was a naval arms race with Britain as the German navy grew to become one of the greatest maritime forces in the world, second only to the Royal Navy. The German surface navy proved ineffective during World War I; its only major engagement, the Battle of Jutland, was indecisive. However, the submarine fleet was greatly expanded and posed a major threat to the British supply system. The Imperial Navy's main ships were turned over to the Allies, but were sunk at Scapa Flow in 1919 by German crews.

All ships of the Imperial Navy were designated SMS, for Seiner Majestät Schiff ("His Majesty's Ship").

Otto von Diederichs

Ernst Otto von Diederichs (7 September 1843 in Minden, Westphalia, Kingdom of Prussia (now in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany) - 8 March 1918 in Baden-Baden, Germany) was an Admiral of the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine), serving in the Prussian Navy and the Navy of the North German Confederation.

Paul von Hintze

Paul von Hintze (13 February 1864, in Schwedt/Oder – 19 August 1941, in Meran) was a German naval officer, diplomat, and politician who served as Foreign Minister of Germany in the last stages of World War I, from July to October 1918.

Chiefs of the navy by country


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.