Read Castles of Steel Online

Authors: Robert K. Massie

Tags: #Non Fiction, #Military

Castles of Steel

BOOK: Castles of Steel
9.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea

Copyright © 2003 by Robert K. Massie


Title Page
List of Maps
Half Title Page

Chapter 1. July 1914
Chapter 2. “
Is Your Objective”
Chapter 3. Jellicoe
Chapter 4. First Days
Chapter 5. Beatty
Chapter 6. The Battle of the Bight
Chapter 7. Submarines and Mines: “Fisher’s Toys”
Chapter 8. “Shall We Be Here in the Morning?”
Chapter 9. Prince Louis Departs
Chapter 10. Admiral von Spee’s Voyage
Chapter 11. Admiral Cradock’s Voyage
Chapter 12. The Battle of Coronel
Chapter 13. “Very Well, Luce, We’ll Sail Tomorrow”
Chapter 14. The Battle of the Falkland Islands
Chapter 15. Fisher Returns to the Admiralty
Chapter 16. “The Requirements of the Commander-in-Chief Were Hard to Meet”
Chapter 17. The Yarmouth Raid and Room 40
Chapter 18. The Scarborough Raid: “Within Our Claws”
Chapter 19. The Scarborough Raid: Hipper Escapes
Chapter 20. The Cuxhaven Raid: “Stupid Great Things, but Very Beautiful”
Chapter 21. The Battle of the Dogger Bank: “Kingdom Come or Ten Days’ Leave”
Chapter 22. The Battle of the Dogger Bank: “Why Didn’t You Get the Lot?”
Chapter 23. “A Demonstration at the Dardanelles”
Chapter 24. The Minefields
Chapter 25. The Naval Attack on the Narrows
Chapter 26. Gallipoli: The Landings
Chapter 27. “Some Corner of a Foreign Field”
Chapter 28. The Blockade of Germany
Chapter 29.
and the American Reaction
Chapter 30. The Eve of Jutland
Chapter 31. Jutland: Beatty vs. Hipper
Chapter 32. Jutland: Jellicoe vs. Scheer
Chapter 33. Jutland: Night and Morning
Chapter 34. Jutland: Aftermath
Chapter 35. America Enters the War
Chapter 36. The Defeat of the U-boats
Chapter 37. Jellicoe Leaves, Beatty Arrives, and the Americans Cross the Atlantic
Chapter 38.
Finis Germaniae

About the Author
Also by Robert K. Massie

For Deborah, Christopher, Sophia, and Nora

All nations want peace,
but they want a peace that suits them.



The Escape of

Coronel and the Falklands

The Dardanelles and Gallipoli

off the Irish Coast

The Battle of Jutland

The North Sea Theater

July 1914

On an afternoon in early July 1914, a middle-aged man with restless, bright blue eyes and curly, iron-gray hair boarded his yacht in the German Baltic harbor of Kiel, and the following morning departed on his annual summer cruise to the fjords of Norway. Two unusual and striking features marked the vacationing traveler: one of these he was eager to display; the other he was even more anxious to conceal. The first was his famous brushy mustache with its extended, upturned points, the creation of a skillful barber who worked on it every morning with a can of wax. The other, hidden from sight, but all the more noticeable for that, was his left arm, three inches shorter than the right. This misfortune was the result of an extraordinarily difficult breech delivery performed without anesthesia on his eighteen-year-old mother, Princess Victoria of England. He was unable to raise his left arm, and the fingers on his left hand were paralyzed. Every doctor had been consulted, every treatment attempted; nothing worked. Now, the useless hand was gloved and carried in his pocket, or placed at rest on the hilt of a sword or a dagger. At meals, a special one-piece knife-and-fork set was always placed next to his plate. To compensate for the helplessness of his left arm, he had developed the right to an unusual degree. He always wore large jeweled rings on his right hand; sometimes, grasping a welcoming hand so hard that the rings bit and the owner winced, the hand shaker said merrily, “Ha ha! The mailed fist! What!”

There were two sides to the traveler’s behavior. He was a man of wide reading, impressive although shallow knowledge, a remarkable memory for facts, and, when he wished, amiability and charm. He had a strong, clear voice and spoke equally well in German and English although his English had the slightest trace of an accent and when he resorted to English slang, which he liked to do, he frequently got it wrong. He “talks with great energy,” said an Englishwoman who saw him often, “and has a habit of thrusting his face forward and wagging his finger when he wishes to be emphatic.” “If he laughs,” said an English statesman who knew him, “which he is sure to do a good many times, he will laugh with absolute abandonment, throwing back his head, opening his mouth to the fullest extent possible, shaking his whole body and often stamping with one foot to show his excessive enjoyment of any joke.” His moods changed quickly. He could be expansive and cheery one day, irritable and strident the next. His sensitivity to suspected slights was acute, and rejection turned him quickly to arrogance and menace. Remarkably, he could switch between personalities like an actor. He had complete control of his facial expressions. In public, he tightened his features into a glowering mask and presented himself as the lofty, monarchical figure his rank proclaimed. Other times, he allowed his face to relax and a softer, milder expression appeared, one indicating courtesy and affability—sometimes even gentleness.

This complicated, difficult, and afflicted person was Kaiser William II, the German emperor and Supreme War Lord of the most powerful military and industrial state in Europe.

The imperious side of William II’s character was the handiwork of Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor and creator of the German empire, who inflamed the young prince in his youth with the glory of monarchy. Astride a white horse, wearing the white cuirassier uniform of the Imperial Guard and a shining brass helmet crested with a golden Hohenzollern eagle, William saw himself as an embodiment of the divine right of kings. “We Hohenzollerns derive our crowns from Heaven alone and we are answerable only to Heaven,” he announced, adding that God was “our old ally who has taken so much trouble over our homeland and dynasty.”
Ich und Gott
were the two rulers of Germany, he declared, sometimes forgetting who was answerable to whom. “You have sworn loyalty to Me,” he once told a group of new army recruits. “That means, children of My guard, that you . . . have given yourself to Me, body and soul. . . . It may come to pass that I shall command you to shoot your own relatives, brothers, yes, parents—which God forbid—but even then you must follow My command without a murmur.” He drew surprising historical analogies. In 1900, sending a contingent of German troops to China at the time of the Boxer Rebellion, he shouted to the departing soldiers, “There will be no quarter, no prisoners will be taken! As a thousand years ago, the Huns under King Attila gained for themselves a name which still stands for terror in tradition and story, so may the name of German be impressed by you for a thousand years on China.”

BOOK: Castles of Steel
9.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Where Sleeping Dragons Lie (Skeleton Key) by Cristina Rayne, Skeleton Key
Jeremy Varon by Bringing the War Home
Rise of the Defender by Le Veque, Kathryn
Bare Nerve by Katherine Garbera
Wild Nights by Karen Erickson
Dead of Winter Tr by Lee Weeks
7 Steps to Midnight by Richard Matheson