The Surrender of the German Navy, 1918

One of the terms of the armistice in 1918 was the surrender of the German Navy, which was held in Scapa Flow, in the Orkney Islands. The German commander, von Reuter, ordered it to be scuttled, rather than face the shame of handing them over.

As in the case of ‘the stab in the back’, was this a case denial, a refusal to admit the reality of defeat? Certainly, it is strong evidence of the powerful impact of that defeat, and of the sense of humiliation felt by parts of the elite which would go on to poison German politics in the years to follow.

Still, there’s a silver lining in every cloud, especially for any divers reading this.

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