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Sea power in World War I and World War II. Germany as primarily a land power. Compares with British dependency on its fleet. German U-boats; commerce raiding and warfare. Development of German pocket battleships and heavy cruisers. Errors on Hitler's part re: German naval power. Lack of concern for sea power. His strategic mistakes.
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Pages 11
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Hitler and the German Navy in World War II
In order to understand the German naval problem of World War II, it is useful to briefly examine the naval experience of World War I from the German perspective. Before that war, Germany had built a powerful fleet of battleships, the Hochseeflotte or High Seas Fleet. It was described as a "risk fleet." The strategic concept behind it was that Germany, primarily a land power, could ultimately take risks with its battlefleet that maritime
dependent Britain could not. In principle, Germany could lose the fleet and still win the war. In contrast, a major loss of the Royal Navy would force Britain to sue for peace.
In a war, moreover, Britain was certain to blockade German ports, as it had blockaded France's ports in the Napoleonic Wars. The British fleet woul

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