House Order of Hohenzollern
The House Order of Hohenzollern was a dynastic order of knighthood of the House of Hohenzollern awarded to military commissioned officers and civilians of comparable status. Associated with the versions of the order were crosses and medals which could be awarded to lower-ranking soldiers. The House Order of Hohenzollern was instituted on December 5,1841 by joint decree of Prince Konstantin of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and these two principalities in southern Germany were Catholic collateral lines of the House of Hohenzollern, cousins to the Protestant ruling house of Prussia. On August 23,1851, after the two principalities had been annexed by Prussia, the order was adopted by the Prussian branch of the house. Also, although the two principalities had become a region of the Prussian kingdom, the princely lines continued to award the order as a house order. The Prussian version was known as the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern. The Princely House Order continued to be awarded, after the fall of the German Monarchy, Prince Karl Antons second son, Karl Eitel Friedrich of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, had become prince and king of Romania as Carol I.
Carol I had died childless and was succeeded by his nephew Ferdinand I and this form of the order existed until the Romanian monarchy was abolished in 1947, King Michael awarded a slightly altered order in exile. The Royal House Order of Hohenzollern came in the classes, Grand Commander Commander Knight Member Member was a lesser class for soldiers who were not officers. The Members Cross, especially swords, was a rare distinction for non-commissioned officers. Another decoration, the Members Eagle was often given as an award to lesser officials such as schoolteachers. The Eagles were solely civilian awards, and could not be awarded with swords, all other grades could be awarded with swords. When awarded with swords it was worn on the ribbon of the Iron Cross, all grades could be awarded with swords. During World War I, the grade of the Princely House Order was often awarded to officers. 40, a regiment raised in the principalities of Hohenzollern. Soldier in the regiments sister reserve and Landwehr regiments received the decoration.
Unlike the Royal House Order, awards of the Princely House Order were made on the ribbon of the order regardless of whether they were with or without swords. As with the Prussian and Hohenzollern versions, crossed swords could be used to indicate a wartime or combat award, the badge of the House Order of Hohenzollern was a cross pattée with convex edges and curved arms
20 July plot
On 20 July 1944, Claus von Stauffenberg and other conspirators attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of Nazi Germany, inside his Wolfs Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The name Operation Valkyrie, originally referring to part of the conspiracy, has become associated with the entire event. The apparent purpose of the attempt was to seize political control of Germany and its armed forces from the Nazi Party. The underlying desire of many of the involved high-ranking Wehrmacht officers was apparently to show to the world that not all Germans were like Hitler and the Nazi Party. The details of the peace initiatives remain unknown, but they likely would have included demands to accept wide-reaching territorial annexations by Germany in Europe. The plot was the culmination of the efforts by groups in the German resistance to overthrow the Nazi German government. The failure of the assassination and the military coup détat which was planned to follow led to the arrest of at least 7,000 people by the Gestapo, of whom 4,980 were executed.
Since 1938, conspiratorial groups planning an overthrow of some kind had existed in the German Army, early leaders of these plots included Brigadier-General Hans Oster, General Ludwig Beck and Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben. Oster was the deputy head of the Military Intelligence Office, Beck was a former Chief-of-Staff of the German Army High Command. Von Witzleben was the commander of the German 1st Army. Military conspiratorial groups exchanged ideas with civilian and intellectual groups in the Kreisauer Kreis. Moltke was against killing Hitler, instead, he wanted him placed on trial, moltke said, we are all amateurs and would only bungle it. Moltke believed killing Hitler would be hypocritical and National Socialism had turned wrong-doing into a system, something which the resistance should avoid. This first military resistance group delayed their plans after Hitlers extreme popularity following the rapid success in the battle for France. In 1942, a new group formed, led by Colonel Henning von Tresckow, a member of Field Marshal Fedor von Bocks staff.
Tresckow systematically recruited oppositionists to the Groups staff, making it the centre of the army resistance. Little could be done against Hitler as he was heavily guarded, during 1942, Oster and Tresckow nevertheless succeeded in rebuilding an effective resistance network. Linking this asset to Tresckows resistance group in Army Group Centre created a viable coup apparatus, the bomb failed to detonate, and a second attempt a week with Hitler at an exhibition of captured Soviet weaponry in Berlin failed
Paul von Hindenburg
Hindenburg retired from the army for the first time in 1911, but was recalled shortly after the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He first came to attention at the age of 66 as the victor of the decisive Battle of Tannenberg in August 1914. As Germanys Chief of the General Staff from August 1916, Hindenburgs reputation rose greatly in German public esteem. He and his deputy Erich Ludendorff led Germany in a de facto military dictatorship throughout the remainder of the war, in line with Lebensraum ideology, he advocated sweeping annexations of territories in Poland and Russia in order to resettle Germans there. Hindenburg retired again in 1919, but returned to life in 1925 to be elected the second President of Germany. In 1932, Hindenburg was persuaded to run for re-election as German president, although 84 years old and in poor health, Hindenburg was re-elected in a runoff. He was opposed to Hitler and was a player in the increasing political instability in the Weimar Republic that ended with Hitlers rise to power.
He dissolved the Reichstag twice in 1932 and finally, under pressure, in February, he signed off on the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended various civil liberties, and in March he signed the Enabling Act of 1933, which gave Hitlers regime arbitrary powers. Hindenburg died the year, after which Hitler declared the office of President vacant. Hindenburg was embarrassed by his mothers non-aristocratic background and hardly mentioned her at all in his memoirs and his paternal lineage was considered highly distinguished, in fact, he was descended from one of the most respected ancient noble families in Prussia. His paternal grandfather was Otto Ludwig von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, Hindenburg was a descendant of Martin Luther and his wife Katharina von Bora through their daughter Margareta Luther. Hindenburgs younger brothers and sister were Otto and Bernhard, Hindenburg was proud that one of his ancestors, Colonel Otto Frederich von Hindenburg had lost a leg at the Battle of Torgau in 1760 and had been awarded an estate at Neudeck by Frederich the Great.
Hindenburg received a typical Junker upbringing, being taught the virtues of duty, obedience to authority and loyalty to Prussia, Hindenburgs governess was known to shout Quiet in the ranks. Before entering the Prussian Cadet Corps in 1859, the 12-year old Hindenburg soberly wrote up his last will and testament in case he should die, Hindenburgs favorite reading materials were war and adventure stories with The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper being his favorite. As a cadet, Hindenburg was admired for his commitment to duty, obsession with details, however, he was considered of mediocre intelligence and utterly lacking in a sense of humor, a dedicated if somewhat dull cadet. After his education at schools in Berlin and Wahlstatt, Hindenburg was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1866. He fought in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871, during the Seven Weeks War of 1866, Hindenburg wrote his parents, I rejoice in this bright-colored future. For the soldier war is the state of things…If I fall, it is the most honorable
Order of Merit of the Bavarian Crown
The Order of Merit of the Bavarian Crown was an order of merit of the Kingdom of Bavaria established by King Maximilian Joseph I on 19 March 1808. The motto of the order is Virtus et Honos, the order was awarded in several grades, Grand Commander, Grand Cross, Commander and medals in gold and silver. King Maximilian I Joseph, founded the order to reward civil servants of the state of all classes and it was created as a civil counterpart to the Military Order of Max Joseph. Both the orders brought non-noble recipients in the collection of personal nobility with the title Ritter von, the Order of Merit of the Bavarian crown was initially founded with three grades Grand Cross and Knight. King Maximilian II added the grade of Grand Commander in 1855, for each grade there was a fixed number of members. Initially membership in the order was limited to 12 Grand Crosses,24 Commanders and 100 Knights, statutes of the order from October 1817 list the limits at 24,40 and 160. Adjustments to the statutes were made on 16 February 1824, on 12 October 1834.
The statutes were further modified in 1855 for the addition of the Grand Commander grade
Grand Duchy of Oldenburg
It ranked tenth among the German states and had one vote in the Bundesrat of Germany and three members in the Reichstag. Its ruling family, the House of Oldenburg, came to rule in Denmark, Sweden, the first known count of Oldenburg was Elimar I. This was the case between 1262 and 1447, between 1463 and 1547, and between 1577 and 1617, the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and the bishop of Münster were frequently at war with the counts of Oldenburg. In 1440, Christian succeeded his father Dietrich, called Fortunatus, in 1448 Christian was elected king of Denmark as Christian I, partly based on his maternal descent from previous Danish kings. Although far away from the Danish borders, Oldenburg was now a Danish exclave, the control over the town was left to the kings brothers, who established a short reign of tyranny. In 1450, Christian became king of Norway and in 1457, in 1460, he inherited the Duchy of Schleswig and the County of Holstein, an event of high importance for the future history of Oldenburg.
In 1454, he handed over Oldenburg to his brother Gerhard, a wild prince, in 1483, Gerhard was compelled to abdicate in favor of his sons, and he died while on pilgrimage in Spain. Early in the 16th century, Oldenburg was again enlarged at the expense of the Frisians, one of Anthonys brothers, won some reputation as a soldier. Anthonys grandson, Anthony Günther, who succeeded in 1603, considered himself the wisest prince who had yet ruled Oldenburg, jever had been acquired before he became count, but in 1624 he added Kniphausen and Varel to his lands, with which in 1647 Delmenhorst was finally united. He obtained from the emperor the right to tolls on vessels passing along the Weser. In 1607 he erected a Renaissance schloss, after the death of Anthony Günther, Oldenburg fell again under Danish authority. By the German Mediatisation of 1803, Oldenburg acquired the Oldenburg Münsterland, between 1810 and 1814, Oldenburg was occupied by Napoleonic France. Oldenburg did not entirely escape from the Revolutions of 1848 that swept across Europe, in 1849 Augustus granted a constitution of a very liberal character to his subjects.
In 1852 some modifications were introduced into the constitution, yet it remained one of the most progressive in the German Confederation, important alterations were made in the administrative system in 1855 and again in 1868, and government oversight on church affairs was ordered by a law of 1863. In 1866 he had sided with this power against the Austrian Empire and had joined the North German Confederation, counts and grand dukes of Oldenburg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain, Hugh, ed. article name needed
Alexander von Falkenhausen
Alexander Ernst Alfred Hermann Freiherr von Falkenhausen was a German general and a pardoned war criminal. He was an important figure during the Sino-German cooperation to reform the Chinese Army, during World War II Germany ended its support for China and Falkenhausen was forced to withdraw from China. Back in Europe he became the head of the Nazi military government of Belgium from 1940–44 during its German occupation and he was responsible for ordering the execution of hostages and deportations of Jews in Belgium. He was married twice, firstly to Paula von Wedderkop and in 1960, to Cecile Vent, Alexander von Falkenhausen was born at Blumenthal, near Neisse in the Prussian province of Silesia, one of seven children of Baron Alexander von Falkenhausen and his wife, Elisabeth. He attended a Gymnasium in Breslau and the school at Wahlstatt. In his youth, Falkenhausen showed an interest in Eastern Asia and he travelled and studied in Japan, northern China and Indochina from 1909–1911. He was awarded the prestigious Pour le Mérite award while serving with the Ottoman Army in Palestine, after the war, he remained in the Reichswehr and in 1927 was appointed to head the Dresden Infantry School.
In 1930, Falkenhausen retired from the service and in 1934 went to China to serve as Chiang Kai-sheks military advisor, in 1937 Nazi Germany allied with the Empire of Japan, which with the Republic of China was fighting the Second Sino-Japanese War. After a goodbye party with Chiang Kai-sheks family, Falkenhausen promised that he would never reveal any of battle plans he had devised to the Japanese. According to some sources, Falkenhausen kept in contact with Chiang Kai-shek and occasionally sent European luxury items and food to him, the Chiang household and his officers. On his 72nd birthday in 1950, Falkenhausen received a 12,000 U. S. dollar cheque from Chiang Kai-shek as his birthday gift and a personal note declaring him a Friend of China. Recalled to active duty in 1938, Falkenhausen served as a general on the Western Front. During his time as governor, Falkenhausen signed seventeen decrees against the Jewish population of Belgium as preparatory measures leading in June 1942 to the deportation of 28,900 Jews.
Some 2,250 of these people were sent to forced labour camps in Northern France. Some 43,000 non-Jewish Belgians were deported to Nazi concentration camps, hundreds of captured resistance fighters were shot during the occupation. In other circumstances, he ordered execution of 240 Belgian civilian hostages in reprisal for resistance against the Nazi occupation, Falkenhausen was a close friend of the anti-Hitler conspirators, Carl Friedrich Goerdeler and Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben and soon came to detest Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. He offered his support to Witzleben for a planned coup détat, after the failure of the 20 July Plot to kill Hitler in 1944, Falkenhausen spent the rest of the war being transferred from one concentration camp to another. In late April 1945 he was transferred to Tyrol with about 140 other prominent inmates of the Dachau concentration camp, the SS fled, leaving the prisoners behind and he was captured by the Fifth U. S. Army on 5 May 1945
Order of Saint Hubert
The Bavarian Order of Saint Hubert is a Roman Catholic dynastic order of knighthood founded in 1444 or 1445 by Gerhard VII, Duke of Jülich-Berg. He sought to commemorate his victory over the House of Egmond at the Battle of Linnich on 3 November, which is Saint Huberts day. In 1778, Charles Theodore, Duke of Jülich and Berg, the order was open to men and women, although limiting the number of male companions to sixty. It commemorated the conversion of Saint Hubert and his standing as the saint of hunters. Over time, the award had other uses as a reward for loyalty to the monarch, sources agree that the Order of Saint Hubert honors a military victory of the Duke of Jülich, on Saint Huberts day,3 November 1444. Consequently, the date of the founding depends on the source, still other sources date the founding of the Order as late as 1473 or 1475. Twentieth century investigation has helped to clear up some of the confusion, the original Latin statutes of the foundation use Good Friday, in this case 26 March 1445.
Furthermore, there is written evidence that the Order existed prior to March 1445. These remained the governing documents of the Order until 1708, in this confirmation probably lies the root of confusion over the date of the Orders foundation. Initially the Order was a brotherhood, reflecting the overlapping religious. Saint Hubert was the saint of hunters and knights. The founding of the Order of the Golden Fleece in the early 15th century started a trend in confraternal princely orders. The purpose of these, whether established by monarchs or princes, was to foster loyalty to a sovereign, when Reinhold IV, Duke of Gelder, died in 1423, his nephew Arnold inherited the dukedom. Arnolds cousin, Adolf of Berg, inherited territories near Liège, Arnold believed that Adolf had inherited the better of the two properties, and coveted it for himself. He tried to take it by force and failed, a compromise was reached by which the two agreed to a truce. Adolf of Berg died in 1437 and his cousin, Gerhard IV, Arnold reasserted his old claim, maintaining that the truce to which he and Adolf agreed was no longer valid, and prepared to take the duchies by force.
Confident in his right to the inheritance, Gerhard met Arnold in battle, at the village of Linnich and he and his knights defeated Arnold and his knights on Saint Huberts day in 1444. In celebration, Gerhard declared the founding of the Order, to reward his loyal, the Order remained in collateral branches of the family of the Dukes of Jülich and Berg until 1521, when the male line holding the two duchies and the county of Ravensberg became extinct
Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that succeeded the former Electorate of Bavaria in 1805 and continued to exist until 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1805 as Maximilian I Joseph, the crown would go on being held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom came to an end in 1918. Since the end of the kingdom and the empire in 1918, on 30 December 1777, the Bavarian line of the Wittelsbachs became extinct, and the succession on the Electorate of Bavaria passed to Charles Theodore, the Elector Palatine. After a separation of four and a half centuries, the Palatinate, to which the duchies of Jülich, between the French and the Austrians, Bavaria was now in a bad situation. Before the death of Charles Theodore the Austrians had again occupied the country, Maximilian IV Joseph, the new elector, succeeded to a difficult inheritance. By the Treaty of Lunéville Bavaria lost the Palatinate and the duchies of Zweibrücken, the 1805 Peace of Pressburg allowed Maximilian to raise Bavaria to the status of a kingdom.
Accordingly, Maximilian proclaimed himself king on 1 January 1806, the King still served as an Elector until Bavaria seceded from the Holy Roman Empire on 1 August 1806. The Duchy of Berg was ceded to Napoleon only in 1806, the new kingdom faced challenges from the outset of its creation, relying on the support of Napoleonic France. The kingdom faced war with Austria in 1808 and from 1810 to 1814, lost territory to Württemberg, Italy, in 1808, all relics of serfdom were abolished, which had left the old empire. In the same year, Maximilian promulgated Bavarias first written constitution, over the next five years, it was amended numerous times in accordance with Paris wishes. During the French invasion of Russia in 1812 about 30,000 Bavarian soldiers were killed in action, on 14 October, Bavaria made a formal declaration of war against Napoleonic France. The treaty was passionately backed by the Crown Prince Ludwig and by Marshal von Wrede, finally in 1816, the Rhenish Palatinate was taken from France in exchange for most of Salzburg which was ceded to Austria.
It was the second largest and second most powerful state south of the Main, in Germany as a whole, it ranked third behind Prussia and Austria. On 1 February 1817, Montgelas had been dismissed, and Bavaria had entered on a new era of constitutional reform, on 26 May 1818, Bavarias second constitution was proclaimed. The Landtag would have two houses, a house comprising the aristocracy and noblemen, including the high-class hereditary landowners, government officials. The second house, a house, would include representatives of small landowners, the towns. The rights of Protestants were safeguarded in the constitution with articles supporting the equality of all religions, the initial constitution almost proved disastrous for the monarchy, with controversies such as the army having to swear allegiance to the new constitution. Within the Kingdom of Bavaria, the Palatinate enjoyed a legal and administrative position
Order of the Black Eagle
The Order of the Black Eagle was the highest order of chivalry in the Kingdom of Prussia. The order was founded on 17 January 1701 by Elector Friedrich III of Brandenburg, in his Dutch exile after World War I, deposed Emperor Wilhelm II continued to award the order to his family. He made his wife, Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz. The statutes of the order were published on 18 January 1701, membership in the Order of the Black Eagle was limited to a small number of knights, and was divided into two classes, members of reigning houses and capitular knights. Before 1847, membership was limited to nobles, but after that date, capitular knights were generally high-ranking government officials or military officers. The Order of the Black Eagle had only one class, by statute, members of the order held the Grand Cross of the Order of the Red Eagle, and wore the badge of that order from a ribbon around the neck. From 1862, members of the Prussian royal house, upon award of the Order of the Black Eagle, the badge of the Order was a gold Maltese cross, enameled in blue, with gold-crowned black eagles between the arms of the cross.
The gold center medallion bore the monogram of Friedrich I. This badge was worn either a broad ribbon or a collar. The ribbon of the Order was an orange moiré sash worn from the shoulder to the right hip. The sash color was chosen in honor of Louise Henriette of Nassau, daughter of the prince of Orange, the star of the Order was a silver eight-pointed star, with straight or faceted rays depending on the jewelers design. The center medallion displayed a black eagle on a background, surrounded by a white enamelled ring bearing a wreath of laurels. At meetings of the chapter of the Order of the Black Eagle and at certain ceremonies, embroidered on the left shoulder of each cape was a large star of the Order. From its founding in 1701 to 1918, the Order of the Black Eagle was awarded 407 times, subjects of the Prussian King receiving the order which was only given in one class were promoted to the peerage and received hereditary title. The Order was conferred upon Prussian queens, though other members of the royal family usually received the Order of Louise instead.
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn – Kaiser Wilhelm IIs uncle, Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland – Prince of Sweden Carol I of Romania – King of Romania, member of the Princely House of Hohenzollern. Louis XVIII – King of France, ludwig II of Bavaria – King of Bavaria. Emperor Meiji – Emperor of Japan, mozaffar al-Din Shah – Shah of Persia –29 May 1902 – during the visit to Berlin of the Shah Naser al-Din Shah Qajar – Shah of Persia
Order of Theresa
The Order of Theresa was an order for noble ladies in the Kingdom of Bavaria. It continues to today as an honorary society to which belong the princesses of the House of Wittelsbach as well as other ladies from Bavarian noble families. The order was founded December 12,1827 by Queen Therese of Bavaria and she established an endowment which paid an annual pension to twelve unmarried noble ladies, six of whom received 300 guilders and six of whom received 100 guilders. Various other ladies held the rank of Ehrendame including all the princesses of the House of Wittelsbach, Bavarian ladies paid a reception fee of 55 guilders while foreign ladies paid 220 guilders. The insignia of the order is worn on the left breast and consists of a blue-enameled Maltese cross with a white edge. In the four angles of the cross are lozenges with the arms of Bavaria. At the centre of the cross is a gold bordered white circular medallion decorated with the letter T, on the back of the medallion is the year 1827 and the motto of the order “Unser Leben sey Glaube an das Ewige”.
The ribbon of the order is white with two sky-blue stripes at the edge, the inner stripe being narrower than the outer stripe, the sash of the order is a similarly-coloured broad ribbon, worn diagonally from the right shoulder to the left hip. Among the current Ladies of Honour of the order is the Hereditary Princess of Liechtenstein
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke was a German Field Marshal. The chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years, he is regarded as the creator of a new, more modern method of directing armies in the field. He is often referred to as Moltke the Elder to distinguish him from his nephew Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, Moltke was born in Parchim, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, son of the Danish Generalleutnant Friedrich Philipp Victor von Moltke. Young Moltke therefore grew up under difficult circumstances, at nine he was sent as a boarder to Hohenfelde in Holstein, and at age twelve went to the cadet school at Copenhagen, being destined for the Danish army and court. In 1818 he became a page to the king of Denmark, at twenty-one Moltke resolved to enter the Swedish service, in spite of the loss of seniority. In 1822 he became a lieutenant in the 8th Infantry Regiment stationed at Frankfurt. At twenty-three, he was allowed to enter the war school. For a year Moltke had charge of a school at Frankfurt an der Oder.
In 1832 he was seconded for service on the staff at Berlin. He was at this time regarded as a brilliant officer by his superiors, including Prince William, max Boot says of Moltke in his War Made New, Moltke loved music, art and theater. He was a prolific artist who filled sketchbooks with landscapes and portraits, as well as a popular author. For all his catholicity of interests and he was a nationalist to the core who was appalled by the liberal revolutions that swept Europe on 1848. He placed his faith in the king and the forces of the old regime, Moltke was well received at court and in the best society of Berlin. His tastes inclined him to literature, to study and to travel. In 1827 he had published a romance, The Two Friends. In 1831 he wrote an essay entitled Holland and Belgium in their Mutual Relations, a year he wrote An Account of the Internal Circumstances and Social Conditions of Poland, a study based both on reading and on personal observation of Polish life and character. In eighteen months he had finished nine volumes out of twelve, in 1835 on his promotion as captain, Moltke obtained six months leave to travel in south-Eastern Europe.
After a short stay in Constantinople he was requested by the Sultan Mahmud II to help modernize the Ottoman Empire army and he remained two years at Constantinople, learned Turkish and surveyed the city of Constantinople, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. He travelled through Wallachia and Rumelia, and made other journeys on both sides of the Strait
Battle of Jutland
The battle unfolded in extensive maneuvering and three main engagements, from 31 May to 1 June 1916, off the North Sea coast of Denmarks Jutland Peninsula. It was the largest naval battle in that war and the only full-scale clash of battleships, Jutland was the third fleet action between steel battleships, following the smaller but more decisive battles of the Yellow Sea and Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese War. Jutland was the last major battle fought primarily by battleships in world history, germanys High Seas Fleet intended to lure out and destroy a portion of the Grand Fleet, as the German naval force was insufficient to openly engage the entire British fleet. This formed part of a strategy to break the British blockade of Germany. Meanwhile, Great Britains Royal Navy pursued a strategy of engaging and destroying the High Seas Fleet, thereby keeping German naval forces contained and away from Britain and they stationed submarines in advance across the likely routes of the British ships.
The German plan had been delayed, causing problems for their submarines. On the afternoon of 31 May, Beatty encountered Hippers battlecruiser force long before the Germans had expected, in a running battle, Hipper successfully drew the British vanguard into the path of the High Seas Fleet. Fourteen British and eleven German ships sank, with loss of life. The British lost more ships and twice as many sailors but succeeded in containing the German fleet, the British press criticised the Grand Fleets failure to force a decisive outcome, while Scheers plan of destroying a substantial portion of the British fleet failed. Finally, the British strategy of denying Germany access to both the United Kingdom and the Atlantic did succeed, which was the British long-term goal, subsequent reviews commissioned by the Royal Navy generated strong disagreement between supporters of Jellicoe and Beatty concerning the two admirals performance in the battle. Debate over their performance and the significance of the battle continues to this day, with 16 dreadnought-type battleships, compared with the Royal Navys 28, the German High Seas Fleet stood little chance of winning a head-to-head clash.
The Germans therefore adopted a divide-and-conquer strategy, in January 1916, Admiral von Pohl, commander of the German fleet, fell ill. He was replaced by Scheer, who believed that the fleet had used too defensively, had better ships and men than the British. On 25 April 1916, a decision was made by the German admiralty to halt indiscriminate attacks by submarine on merchant shipping and this followed protests from neutral countries, notably the United States, that their nationals had been the victims of attacks. Instead, he set about deploying the submarine fleet against military vessels and it was hoped that, following a successful German submarine attack, fast British escorts, such as destroyers, would be tied down by anti-submarine operations. If the Germans could catch the British in the expected locations, the hope was that Scheer would thus be able to ambush a section of the British fleet and destroy it. A plan was devised to station submarines offshore from British naval bases, the battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz had been damaged in a previous engagement, but was due to be repaired by mid May, so an operation was scheduled for 17 May 1916.
At the start of May, difficulties with condensers were discovered on ships of the battleship squadron