Alfred von Tirpitz Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1849 - 1930 *** Full Name: Alfred Peter Friedrich von Tirpitz *** Occupation: German Grand Admiral and Secretary of State of the German Imperial Naval Office *** Date of Birth: Alfred von Tirpitz was born on March 19th 1849 *** Place of Birth: Alfred von Tirpitz was born in Kustrin, Kingdom of Prussia *** Family background: His father was Rudolf Tirpitz and lawyer and judge and his mother was the daughter of a doctor *** Early life and childhood: He grew up with his parents in Kustrin *** Education: Alfred von Tirpitz was educated as most children of the time although he remembered himself as only a mediocre student *** Alfred von Tirpitz died on March 6, 1930.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 1: Alfred von Tirpitz was born on March 19th 1849 and during the 19th century period in history when many empires across the globe collapsed, the Spanish, first and second French, Holy Roman, Mughal and Chinese but the British and Russian Empires, the United States and German Empire where on the rise.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 2: In 1884 he married Maria Augusta Lipke who would outlive him, they had a son, Wolfgang von Tirpitz.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 3: Having finished his education he found himself in the Prussian Navy when a friend announced he was going to join and liking the idea, gained the consent of his parents and at sixteen he became a naval cadet at Kiel Naval School.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 4: Before the year was out Prussia would be at war with Austria.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 5: Young Tirpitz would be made a midshipman and in June of 1866 was sailing on a patrol ship in the English Channel.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 6: In that same year the Prussia became part of the North German Confederation with the navy officially coming under the confederation and he became part of the new institution in 1869.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 7: Serving on SMS Konig Wilhelm with the rank of sub-lieutenant.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 8: While the Franco-Prussian War took place much to the dismay of the Prussian Navy, sadly outnumbered, the ship spent most of the war at anchor. During this period in history, Prussia and Britain were allies and the Prussian Navy would inhabit British ports quite frequently.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 9: Tirpitz would later report that the British port of Plymouth was far more welcoming than that of Kiel and it was also far easier to source supplies and of much better quality than equipment at home. At that time the British were happy to support the developing Prussian navy and Prussian officers grew up with great respect for their British counterparts.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 10: By 1871 as the Unification of Germany took place so the naval moniker changed again, this time to the German Imperial Navy. In 1877 Tirpitz was assigned to view the Whitehead Torpedo development and later was charged with overseeing the German torpedo section. Two years later he was placed in charge of developing torpedo boats.Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 17: There were many that felt the army was a better force to spend the money on but Tirpitz would not be swayed and by the time the debates had been discussed the whole country was in agreement and that the bill should be passed.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 11: Ten years later in 1887 it would be torpedo boats that would escort Prince Wilhelm as he attended his grandmother, Queen Victoria’s, Golden Jubilee celebrations.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 12: By 1888 Alexander von Monts succeed as State Secretary for the Navy and decided torpedo boats were less important and at that point Tirpitz requested a transfer and was put in command of first SMS Preussen followed by SMS Württemberg.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 13: With a new promotion to Captain he was attending a dinner in the presence of the Kaiser who was asking questions of the officers present what they thought about where the navy needed to develop. When Tirpitz was asked, his response was to build battleships and this the Kaiser found very appealing.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 14: In 1892 he would become chief of the naval staff and would made a rear Admiral in 1895. At a point when the Kaiser was looking the navy demanding hardware that was not available it was decided by the Kaiser that his problem was the Navy State Secretary von Hollmann who did not fight hard enough for what was needed, on a whim, the Kaiser replaced Hollmann with Tirpitz.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 15: In June of 1897 Tirpitz would present to the Kaiser an account of the German fleet and who was her potentially their largest concern, Great Britain.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 16: Tirpitz would be charged with putting together a draft naval bill setting out exactly what was need, how much it would cost and over what period of time it would take to accomplish. With his plan in place he began the rounds of gaining the support he would need to go the Reichstag with as much information as he could muster.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 18: As tensions rose around the globe between the British, the Boers, the Russians and French Tirpitz was being hand more and more compelling evidence for his proposed further bills. By the time Tirpitz was finished there was only one other force in world bigger than Germany and that was Britain and there were several factions that were trying to pick a battle with Britain.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 19: By the turn of the century a naval arms race was underway between Great Britain and Germany. Britain had called upon Japan, whose fleet was largely made in Britain to dispatch the Russian threat which they did. This was not ideal for Tirpitz plan. The Kaiser, ever a complex man, began to fall out of interest with Tirpitz and his plans for the navy and bit by bit Tirpitz who had attained the highest possible rank and felt he had succeeded as far as he could go, he resigned on March 15th 1916.
Alfred von Tirpitz Fact 20: Alfred Peter Friedrich von Tirpitz died on March 6, 1930 near Munich. His body was laid to rest in the Waldfriedhof in Munich.
Influence & Legacy of Alfred von Tirpitz: His truly enormous legacy is that of completely rebuilding the German navy into a power, if not as big, but second only to the British Royal Navy.
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