Who's Who - Eduard von Capelle

Eduard von Capelle Eduard von Capelle (1855-1931) was called as Alfred von Tirpitz's replacement as German navy minister in March 1916.  Regarded as something of a weak but independent minded man, the Kaiser nevertheless continued to support Capelle in order to prevent Tirpitz's return to office.

A naval officer since 1876, Capelle enjoyed a succession of naval promotions in the years immediately preceding the outbreak of war in 1914.  He was made Rear Admiral in 1906, Vice Admiral in 1909 and Admiral in 1913.

From 1891 Capelle served in the National Marine Ministry.  In 1904 he was made Director of the Administration Department and in 1914 he was promoted as Tirpitz's deputy at the naval ministry.

An early supporter of Tirpitz, Capelle was responsible for drafting the expansionist Navy Laws of 1898 and 1900.  However his political career appeared to be cut short with his retirement from office in 1915 on grounds of ill health.

However, with Tirpitz's resignation in March 1916 Capelle was called upon to replace him.  Expected to support then-Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg's policy of opposing an extension of submarine warfare, Capelle's public statements were unclear, with neither side of the argument understanding quite where he stood.

Although his political credibility was undermined in the aftermath of his public statements blaming unrest in the High Seas Fleet in August 1917 on the parliamentary socialists, the Kaiser, Wilhelm II, resolved not to accept Capelle's resignation in October 1917, for the simple reason that he feared a return to office by Tirpitz.

Nevertheless, Capelle's political star had fallen, and he exercised dwindling influence until his effective retirement brought about by Scheer's establishment of the Naval Supreme Command in October 1918.

Capelle, who was personally awarded the Pour le Merite by the Kaiser on 9 January 1918 (for outstanding leadership and distinguished naval planning and successful operations), died in 1931.

Click here to read Capelle's official report into the Battle of Jutland.

In preparation for the Battle of the Somme, the British launched a seven-day artillery bombardment in which 1,500 guns fired 1.6 million rounds.

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