MV Wilhelm Gustloff
MV Wilhelm Gustloff was a German cruise ship converted into a hospital ship and which while functioning as a military transport ship was sunk on 30 January 1945 by Soviet submarine S-13 in the Baltic Sea while evacuating German civilians, German officials, refugees from Prussia, Latvia, Poland and Croatia and military personnel from Gotenhafen as the Red Army advanced. By one estimate, 9,400 people died, which makes it the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history. Constructed as a cruise ship for the Nazi Kraft durch Freude organisation in 1937, she had been requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine in 1939, she served as a hospital ship in 1939 and 1940. She was assigned as a floating barracks for naval personnel in Gdynia before being put into service to transport evacuees in 1945. Wilhelm Gustloff was constructed by the Voss shipyards. Measuring 208.5 m long by 23.59 m wide, with a capacity of 25,484 gross register tons, she was launched on 5 May 1937. The ship was intended to be named Adolf Hitler but instead was christened after Wilhelm Gustloff, leader of the National Socialist Party's Swiss branch, assassinated by a Jewish medical student in 1936.
Hitler decided on the name change after sitting next to Gustloff's widow during his memorial service. After completing sea trials in the North Sea from 15 to 16 March 1938 she was handed over to her owners. Wilhelm Gustloff was the first purpose-built cruise liner for the German Labour Front and used by subsidiary organisation Kraft durch Freude, her purposes were to provide recreational and cultural activities for German functionaries and workers, including concerts and other holiday trips, to serve as a public relations tool, to present "a more acceptable image of the Third Reich." She was the flagship of the KdF cruise fleet, her last civilian role, until the spring of 1939. She made her unofficial maiden voyage between 24 to 27 March 1938 carrying Austrians in an attempt to convince them to vote for the annexation of Austria by Germany. On 29 March 1938 she departed on her third voyage carrying workers and their families from the Blohm & Voss shipyard on a three-day cruise. On the 8 April 1938 the Wilhelm Gustloff under the command of Captain Carl Lübbe departed Hamburg for England where she anchored over three miles offshore of Tilbury so as to remain in international waters.
This allowed her to act as a floating polling station for German and Austrian citizens living in England who wished to vote on the approaching plebiscite on Anschluss. During the 10 April 1,172 Germans and 806 Austrian eligible voters are ferried between the docks at Tilbury to the ship where 1,968 votes were cast in favour of the union and 10 voted against. Once the voting was complete, the Wilhelm Gustloff departed. For her third voyage she left Hamburg on the 1 April 1938 under the command of Carl Lübbe to join the KdF ships Der Deutsche and Sierra Cordoba on a group cruise of a North Sea. A storm developed on 3 April with winds up to 100 kilometres per hour that forced the four ships apart. On 2 April the 1,836 gloss ton coal freighter Pegaway had departed Tyne under the command of Captain G. W. Ward with a load of coal for Hamburg; the storm washed cargo and machinery from her decks and as the storm increased in intensity she lost manoeuvrability. By the 4 March was taking on water and sinking.
At 4am the captain issued an SOS when the ship was 20 miles northwest of the island of Terschelling in the West Frisian Islands group off the coast of the Netherlands. The closest of the ships that answered the distress call was the Wilhelm Gustloff which reached the Pegaway at 6am, she launched her Lifeboat No.1 with a crew of 12 under the command of 2nd officer Meyer. The oar -powered lifeboat was unable in the heavy seas to come aside the Pegaway and looked in danger of needing rescuing. Lifeboat No.6 with a crew of 10 under the command of 2nd officer Schürmann was lowered. As it had a motor it was better able to handle the waves. After first assisting their shipmates in lifeboat No.1, to head back towards the Wilhelm Gustloff, Schürmann was able to reach the Pegaway. One by one the 19 men on the Pegaway were hauled onto Lifeboat No. 6, with both them and the crew of the lifeboat back at the Wilhelm Gustloff by 7:45am. By now the Dutch tugboat had arrived but was unable to save the Pegaway, which soon rolled to port and sank.
Lifeboat No.1 had been so badly damaged by the waves that after it's crew had climbed up via ladders to the safety of their ship it was set adrift to be washed up on the shores of Terschelling on 2 May. After undertaking a further voyage on 14 to 19 April 1938 she went on a Osterfahrt before her actual official maiden voyage, undertaken between 21 April to 6 May 1938 when she joined the Der Deutsche and Sierra Cordoba on a group cruise to the Madeira Islands. On the second day of her voyage the 58 year old Captain Carl Lübbe died on the bridge from a heart attack, he was replaced by Friedrich Petersen who after commanding the ship for the remainder of this cruise left the ship until he returned to command it on the voyage during which it was sunk. Between the 20 May to 2 June 1939 she was diverted from her pleasure cruises when with seven other ships in the KdF fleet she transported the Condor Legion back from Spain following the victory of the Nationalist forces under General Francisco Franco, in the Spanish Civil War.
From the 14 March 1938 until the 26 August 1939, the Wilhelm Gustloff took over 80,000 passengers on a total of 60 voyages, all arou
National Geographic is the official magazine of the National Geographic Society. It has been published continuously since its first issue in 1888, nine months after the Society itself was founded, it contains articles about science, geography and world culture. The magazine is known for its thick square-bound glossy format with a yellow rectangular border and its extensive use of dramatic photographs. Controlling interest in the magazine has been held by The Walt Disney Company since 2019; the magazine is published monthly, additional map supplements are included with subscriptions. It is available through an interactive online edition. On occasion, special editions of the magazine are issued; as of 2015, the magazine was circulated worldwide in nearly 40 local-language editions and had a global circulation of 6.5 million per month according to data published by The Washington Post or 6.7 million according to National Geographic. This includes a US circulation of 3.5 million. The current Editor-in-Chief of the National Geographic Magazine is Susan Goldberg.
Goldberg is Editorial Director for National Geographic Partners, overseeing the print and digital expression of National Geographic’s editorial content across its media platforms. She is responsible for news, National Geographic Traveler magazine, National Geographic History magazine and all digital content with the exception of National Geographic Kids. Goldberg reports to CEO of National Geographic Partners; the first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published on September 22, 1888, nine months after the Society was founded. It was a scholarly journal sent to 165 charter members and nowadays it reaches the hands of 40 million people each month. Starting with its January 1905 publication of several full-page pictures of Tibet in 1900–1901, the magazine changed from being a text-oriented publication closer to a scientific journal to featuring extensive pictorial content, became well known for this style; the June 1985 cover portrait of the presumed to be 12-year-old Afghan girl Sharbat Gula, shot by photographer Steve McCurry, became one of the magazine's most recognizable images.
National Geographic Kids, the children's version of the magazine, was launched in 1975 under the name National Geographic World. From the 1970s through about 2010 the magazine was printed in Corinth, Mississippi, by private printers until that plant was closed. In the late 1990s, the magazine began publishing The Complete National Geographic, a digital compilation of all the past issues of the magazine, it was sued over copyright of the magazine as a collective work in Greenberg v. National Geographic and other cases, temporarily withdrew the availability of the compilation; the magazine prevailed in the dispute, in July 2009 it resumed publishing a compilation containing all issues through December 2008. The compilation was updated to make more recent issues available, the archive and digital edition of the magazine are available online to the magazine's subscribers. On September 9, 2015, the National Geographic Society announced a deal with 21st Century Fox that would move the magazine to a new partnership, National Geographic Partners, in which 21st Century Fox would hold a 73 percent controlling interest.
In December 2017, Disney announced that it would acquire 21st Century Fox, including the latter's interest in National Geographic Partners. The magazine had a single "editor" from 1888–1920. From 1920–1967, the chief editorship was held by the president of the National Geographic Society. Since 1967, the magazine has been overseen by its own "editor-in-chief"; the list of editors-in-chief includes three generations of the Grosvenor family between 1903 and 1980. John Hyde Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor John Oliver LaGorce Melville Bell Grosvenor Frederick Vosburgh Gilbert Melville Grosvenor Wilbur E. Garrett William Graves William L. Allen Chris Johns Susan Goldberg During the Cold War, the magazine committed itself to presenting a balanced view of the physical and human geography of nations beyond the Iron Curtain; the magazine printed articles on Berlin, de-occupied Austria, the Soviet Union, Communist China that deliberately downplayed politics to focus on culture. In its coverage of the Space Race, National Geographic focused on the scientific achievement while avoiding reference to the race's connection to nuclear arms buildup.
There were many articles in the 1930s, 40s and 50s about the individual states and their resources, along with supplement maps of each state. Many of these articles were written by longtime staff such as Frederick Simpich. There were articles about biology and science topics. In years, articles became outspoken on issues such as environmental issues, chemical pollution, global warming, endangered species. Series of articles were included focusing on the history and varied uses of specific products such as a single metal, food crop, o
Russian merchant cruiser Ural (1904)
The Ural was an auxiliary cruiser of the Imperial Russian Navy during the Russo-Japanese War. She was a Rivers-class ocean liner for Norddeutscher Lloyd, launched in 1890 under the name Spree, she was renamed Kaiserin Maria Theresia in 1899, before being sold to the Russians in 1904. Built in 1890 as the Spree for Norddeutscher Lloyd of Bremen by the AG Vulcan shipyard of Stettin, she was 6,963 gross tons with a length of 463 ft and a beam of 51.8 ft and a speed of 18 kn. She had two funnels, three masts, a single screw, with accommodation for 244 first-class, 122 second-class and 460 third-class passengers, she made her maiden voyage leaving Bremen for New York on 11 October 1890. She would continue to ply this route for eight years. Whilst heading west across the Atlantic in November 1892, the Spree's main propeller shaft broke and made a hole in the stern. There was considerable panic amongst the passengers until it became clear that the ship's watertight compartments would keep it afloat. Two days the steamship Lake Huron was sighted and was able to tow the Spree back to Ireland.
There was only one casualty in the incident: a man, drowned. The event was memorialized in a poem by William McGonagall. In 1899 she was rebuilt by AG Vulcan, she was lengthened to 526 ft, her tonnage increased to 7,840 GRT, new engines were fitted joined to twin screws to give a speed of 20 kn. The number of funnels was increased to three, her accommodation was altered to carry 405 first-class, 114 second-class and 387 third-class passengers, she was renamed Kaiserin Maria Theresia She was sold to the Imperial Russian Navy in 1904 for use in the Russo-Japanese War. The Russians renamed her Ural. In October she left Kronstadt to join Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky's fleet on its way to Vladivostok. In May 1905, the Ural was used as a scout ship and was the first ship to sight Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō's fleet at the Battle of Tsushima. In an action with Japanese battleships, she was hit by a 12-inch shell in the engine room and torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer; the Ships List – Ships Descriptions
Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben
Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand Steuben referred to as Baron von Steuben, was a Prussian and an American military officer. He served as Inspector General and a Major General of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, he is credited with being one of the fathers of the Continental Army in teaching them the essentials of military drills and disciplines. He wrote Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, the book that served as the standard United States drill manual until the War of 1812, he served as General George Washington's chief of staff in the final years of the war. Baron von Steuben was born in the fortress town of Magdeburg, Germany, on September 17, 1730, the son of Royal Prussian Engineer Capt. Baron Wilhelm von Steuben and his wife, Elizabeth von Jagvodin; when his father entered the service of Empress Anna of Russia, young Friedrich went with him to Crimea and to Kronstadt, staying until the Russian war against the Turks under General Burkhard Christoph von Münnich.
In 1740, Steuben's father returned to Prussia and Friedrich was educated in the garrison towns Neisse and Breslau by Jesuits. Despite his military education by a Catholic order, von Steuben remained critical of Roman Catholicism. Von Steuben's family were Protestants in the Kingdom of Prussia, after his emigration to America he became a member of the Reformed German Church, a Reformed congregation in New York, it is said that at age 14 he served as a volunteer with his father in one of the campaigns of the War of the Austrian Succession. Baron von Steuben joined the Prussian Army at age 17, he served as a second lieutenant during the Seven Years' War in 1756, was wounded at the 1757 Battle of Prague. He served as adjutant to the free battalion of General Johann von Mayr and was promoted to first lieutenant in 1759. In August 1759 he was wounded a second time at the Battle of Kunersdorf. In the same year, he was appointed deputy quartermaster at the general headquarters. In 1761 he became adjutant of the Major General Von Knobloch upon being taken prisoner by the Russians at Treptow.
He subsequently attained the rank of captain, served as aide-de-camp to Frederick the Great. Upon the reduction of the army at the end of the war, in 1763, Steuben was one of many officers who found themselves unemployed. Towards the end of his life, Steuben indicated in a letter that "an inconsiderate step and an implacable personal enemy" led to his leaving the Prussian army. In 1764 Steuben became Hofmarschall to Fürst Josef Friedrich Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Hechingen, a post he held until 1777. In 1769 the Duchess of Wurttemberg, niece of Frederick the Great, presented him with the Cross of the Order of De la Fidelite. In 1771 he began to use the title baron; that same year he accompanied the prince to France. Failing to find funds, they returned to Germany in 1775 in debt. In 1763 Steuben had been formally introduced to the future French Minister of War, Claude Louis, Comte de Saint-Germain, in Hamburg, they met again in Paris in 1777. The Count realizing the potential of an officer with Prussian general staff training, introduced him to Benjamin Franklin.
Franklin, was unable to offer Steuben a rank or pay in the American army. The Continental Congress had grown tired of foreign mercenaries coming to America and demanding a high rank and pay. Promoting these men over qualified American officers caused discontent in the ranks. Von Steuben would have to go to America as a volunteer, present himself to Congress. Steuben returned to Prussia. Steuben found waiting for him allegations that he engaged in homosexual relationships with young men while in the service of Prince Josef Friedrich Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Hechingen; the allegations were never proven, but Steuben knew they would stymie his chances at an officer's position in Europe. Threatened with prosecution for his alleged homosexuality, Steuben returned to Paris. Rumors followed him from Prussia to America that he was homosexual, but there never was an investigation of von Steuben and he received a congressional pension after the war. Upon the Count's recommendation, Steuben was introduced to future president George Washington by means of a letter from Franklin as a "Lieutenant General in the King of Prussia's service", an exaggeration of his actual credentials that appears to be based on a mistranslation of his service record.
He was advanced travel funds and left Europe from Marseilles on Friday, September 26, 1777, on board the frigate Flamand. The Baron, his Italian Greyhound Azor, his young aide-de-camp Louis de Pontière, his military secretary, Peter Stephen Du Ponceau, two other companions, reached Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on December 1, 1777, where they were arrested for being British because Steuben had mistakenly outfitted them in red uniforms, they were extravagantly entertained in Boston. On February 5, 1778, Steuben and his party arrived in York, where the Continental Congress had relocated after being ousted from Philadelphia by the British advance. Arrangements were made for Steuben to be paid following the successful completion of the war according to his contributions, he arrived at Valley Forge on February 23, 1778, reported for duty as a volunteer. One soldier's first impression of the Baron was "of the ancient fabled God of War... he seemed to me a perfect personification of Mars. The t
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 249,023. Kiel lies 90 kilometres north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula and the southwestern shore of the Baltic Sea, Kiel has become one of the major maritime centres of Germany. For instance, the city is known for a variety of international sailing events, including the annual Kiel Week, the biggest sailing event in the world; the Olympic sailing competitions of the 1936 and the 1972 Summer Olympics were held in the Bay of Kiel. Kiel has been one of the traditional homes of the German Navy's Baltic fleet, continues to be a major high-tech shipbuilding centre. Located in Kiel is the GEOMAR - Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel at the University of Kiel. Kiel is an important sea transport hub, thanks to its location on the Kiel Fjord and the busiest artificial waterway in the world, Kiel Canal. A number of passenger ferries to Sweden, Norway and other countries operate from here.
Moreover, today Kiel Harbour is an important port of call for cruise ships touring the Baltic Sea. Kiel's recorded history began in the 13th century, but the city was a Danish village, in the 8th century; until 1864 it was administered by Denmark in personal union. In 1866 the city was annexed by Prussia and in 1871 it became part of Germany. Kiel was one of the founding cities of original European Green Regi51 Award in 2006. In 2005 Kiel's GDP per capita was €35,618, well above Germany's national average, 159% of the European Union's average; the city is home to the University of Kiel. Kiel Fjord and the village of Kiel was first settled by Vikings who wanted to colonise the land that they had raided, for many years they settled in German villages; this is evidenced by the architecture of the fjord. The city of Kiel was founded in 1233 as Holstenstadt tom Kyle by Count Adolf IV of Holstein, granted Lübeck city rights in 1242 by Adolf's eldest son, John I of Schauenburg. Being a part of Holstein, Kiel belonged to the Holy Roman Empire and was situated only a few kilometres south of the Danish border.
Kiel, the capital of the county of Holstein, was a member of the Hanseatic League from 1284 until it was expelled in 1518 for harbouring pirates. In 1431, the Kieler Umschlag was first held, which became the central market for goods and money in Schleswig-Holstein, until it began to lose significance from 1850 on, being held for the last time in 1900, until when it has been restarted; the University of Kiel was founded on 29 September 1665 by Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. A number of important scholars, including Theodor Mommsen, Felix Jacoby, Hans Geiger and Max Planck, studied or taught there. From 1773 to 1864, the town belonged to the king of Denmark. However, because the king ruled Holstein as a fief of the Holy Roman Empire only through a personal union, the town was not incorporated as part of Denmark proper, thus Kiel belonged to Germany. Though the empire was abolished in 1806, the Danish king continued to rule Kiel only through his position as Duke of Holstein, which became a member of the German Confederation in 1815.
When Schleswig and Holstein rebelled against Denmark in 1848, Kiel became the capital of Schleswig-Holstein until the Danish victory in 1850. During the Second Schleswig War in 1864, Kiel and the rest of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein were conquered by a German Confederation alliance of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. After the war, Kiel was administered by both the Austrians and the Prussians, but the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 led to the formation of the Province of Schleswig-Holstein and the annexation of Kiel by Prussia in 1867. On 24 March 1865 King William I based Prussia's Baltic Sea fleet in Kiel instead of Danzig; the Imperial shipyard Kiel was established in 1867 in the town. When William I of Prussia became Emperor William I of the German Empire in 1871, he designated Kiel and Wilhelmshaven as Reichskriegshäfen; the prestigious Kiel Yacht Club was established in 1887 with Prince Henry of Prussia as its patron. Emperor Wilhelm II became its commodore in 1891.
Because of its new role as Germany's main naval base, Kiel quickly increased in size in the following years, from 18,770 in 1864 to about 200,000 in 1910. Much of the old town centre and other surroundings were levelled and redeveloped to provide for the growing city; the Kiel tramway network, opened in 1881, had been enlarged to 10 lines, with a total route length of 40 km, before the end of the First World War. Kiel was the site of the sailors' mutiny which sparked the German Revolution in late 1918. Just before the end of the First World War, the German fleet stationed at Kiel was ordered to be sent out on a last great battle with the Royal Navy; the sailors, who thought of this as a suicide mission which would have no effect on the outcome of the war, decided they had nothing to lose and refused to leave the safety of the port. The sailors' actions and the lack of response of the government to them, fuelled by an critical view of the Kaiser, sparked a revolution which caused the abolition of the monarchy and the creation of the Weimar Republic.
During the Second World War, Kiel remained one of the major naval bases and shipbuilding centres of the German Reich. There was a slave labour camp for the local industry; because of its status as a naval port and as production site for submarines, Kiel was bombed by the Allies d
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established after the 1917 October Revolution; the Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; the Red Army provided the largest land force in the Allied victory in the European theatre of World War II, its invasion of Manchuria assisted the unconditional surrender of Imperial Japan. During operations on the Eastern Front, it accounted for 75–80% of casualties the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS suffered during the war and captured the Nazi German capital, Berlin. In September 1917, Vladimir Lenin wrote: "There is only one way to prevent the restoration of the police, and, to create a people's militia and to fuse it with the army."
At the time, the Imperial Russian Army had started to collapse. 23% of the male population of the Russian Empire were mobilized. The Tsarist general Nikolay Dukhonin estimated that there had been 2 million deserters, 1.8 million dead, 5 million wounded and 2 million prisoners. He estimated the remaining troops as numbering 10 million. While the Imperial Russian Army was being taken apart, "it became apparent that the rag-tag Red Guard units and elements of the imperial army who had gone over the side of the Bolsheviks were quite inadequate to the task of defending the new government against external foes." Therefore, the Council of People's Commissars decided to form the Red Army on 28 January 1918. They envisioned a body "formed from the class-conscious and best elements of the working classes." All citizens of the Russian republic aged 18 or older were eligible. Its role being the defense "of the Soviet authority, the creation of a basis for the transformation of the standing army into a force deriving its strength from a nation in arms, furthermore, the creation of a basis for the support of the coming Socialist Revolution in Europe."
Enlistment was conditional upon "guarantees being given by a military or civil committee functioning within the territory of the Soviet Power, or by party or trade union committees or, in extreme cases, by two persons belonging to one of the above organizations." In the event of an entire unit wanting to join the Red Army, a "collective guarantee and the affirmative vote of all its members would be necessary." Because the Red Army was composed of peasants, the families of those who served were guaranteed rations and assistance with farm work. Some peasants who remained at home yearned to join the Army. If they were turned away they would prepare care-packages. In some cases the money they earned would go towards tanks for the Army; the Council of People's Commissars appointed itself the supreme head of the Red Army, delegating command and administration of the army to the Commissariat for Military Affairs and the Special All-Russian College within this commissariat. Nikolai Krylenko was the supreme commander-in-chief, with Aleksandr Myasnikyan as deputy.
Nikolai Podvoisky became the commissar for Pavel Dybenko, commissar for the fleet. Proshyan, Steinberg were specified as people's commissars as well as Vladimir Bonch-Bruyevich from the Bureau of Commissars. At a joint meeting of Bolsheviks and Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, held on 22 February 1918, Krylenko remarked: "We have no army; the demoralized soldiers are fleeing, panic-stricken, as soon as they see a German helmet appear on the horizon, abandoning their artillery and all war material to the triumphantly advancing enemy. The Red Guard units are brushed aside like flies. We have no power to stay the enemy; the Russian Civil War occurred in three periods: October 1917 – November 1918: From the Bolshevik Revolution to the First World War Armistice, developed from the Bolshevik government's nationalization of traditional Cossack lands in November 1917. This provoked the insurrection of General Alexey Maximovich Kaledin's Volunteer Army in the River Don region; the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk aggravated Russian internal politics.
The situation encouraged direct Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, in which twelve foreign countries supported anti-Bolshevik militias. A series of engagements resulted, amongst others, the Czechoslovak Legion, the Polish 5th Rifle Division, the pro-Bolshevik Red Latvian Riflemen. January 1919 – November 1919: Initially the White armies advanced: from the south, under General Anton Denikin; the Whites defeated the Red Army on each front. Leon Trotsky reformed and counterattacked: the Red Army repelled Admiral Kolchak's army in June, the armies of General Denikin and General Yudenich in October. By mid-Nove
Norddeutscher Lloyd was a German shipping company. It was founded by Hermann Henrich Meier and Eduard Crüsemann in Bremen on 20 February 1857, it developed into one of the most important German shipping companies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was instrumental in the economic development of Bremen and Bremerhaven. On 1 September 1970, the company merged with Hamburg America Line to form Hapag-Lloyd AG; the German shipping company North German Lloyd was founded by the Bremen merchants Hermann Henrich Meier and Eduard Crüsemann on 20 February 1857, after the dissolution of the Ocean Steam Navigation Company, a joint German-American enterprise. The new shipping company had no association with the British maritime classification society Lloyd's Register. H. H. Meier became NDL's first Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Crüsemann became the first director of the company. Crüsemann was in charge of both cargo services and passenger transport, which, as a result of emigration, was growing significantly.
The company was active in other areas, including tugboats, bathing and ship repair. The first office of the shipping company was located at number 13 Martinistraße in Bremen; the company started with a route to England prior to starting a transatlantic service. In 1857, the first ship, the Adler, began regular passenger service between the Weser region and England. On 28 October 1857, it made its maiden voyage from Nordenham to London. Just one year regular, scheduled services were started between the new port in Bremerhaven and New York using two 2,674 GRT steamships, the Bremen and the New York. International economic crises made the start of the NDL difficult, the company took losses until 1859. However, during the succeeding years, passenger connections to Baltimore and New Orleans were added to the schedule, the company first rented and in 1869 bought facilities on the waterfront in Hoboken, New Jersey. In 1867-1868, NDL began a partnership with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which initiated the Baltimore Line.
In 1869, Crüsemann died at only 43 years old. From 1877 to 1892, the Director of NDL was Johann Georg Lohmann, he established a new policy for the company. However, H. H. Meier and Lohmann fell out over the direction of the company. In 1892, a 5,481 GRT twin-screw steamer, the company's first, was christened the H. H. Meier after the founder. During the Gründerzeit at the beginning of the German Empire, the NDL expanded greatly. Thirteen new ships of the "Strassburg class" were ordered. A route to the West Indies offered from 1871 to 1874 proved unprofitable, but was followed by a permanent line to the east coast of South America. On the transatlantic route, the HAPAG, the Holland-America Line, the Red Star Line were now all fierce rivals. Beginning in 1881 with the Elbe, eleven fast steamships of from 4500 to 6,900 GRT of the so-called "Rivers class", were introduced to serve the North Atlantic trade. In 1885, the NDL won the commission to provide postal service between the German Empire and Australia and the Far East.
The associated subsidy underwrote further expansion, beginning with the first large-scale order placed with a German shipyard, for three postal steamers for the major routes and three smaller steamers for branch service from AG Vulcan Stettin. It was in fact a requirement of the commission. By 1890, with 66 ships of a total 251,602 GRT, NDL was the second largest shipping company in the world, after the British Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, with 48 ships of a total 251,603 GRT, dominated shipping to Germany, with 31.6% of the traffic. NDL was the carrying more transatlantic passengers to New York than any other company, due to its dominance in steerage, which consisted of immigrants. In cabin class, it carried only more passengers than the British Cunard Line and White Star Line. 42% of NDL's passenger traffic was to New York, 15% to other US ports, but only 16.2% eastward-bound from New York. Its westbound South Atlantic service represented 17.3% of its passengers. In 1887, the NDL withdrew from the route to England in favor of Argo Reederei.
However, it continued to provide tug services through participation beginning in 1899 in the Schleppschifffahrtsgesellschaft Unterweser. H. H. Meyer stood down from the board in 1888. Johann Georg Lohmann became Director of the company; the lawyer Heinrich Wiegand became Director. He held this position until 1909, presided over appreciable expansion. In 1897, with the commissioning of SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Große, the NDL had a major ship for the North Atlantic; this was the largest and fastest ship in the world, the company benefited from the reputation advantage of the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic crossing, with an average speed of 22.3 knots. Between 1897 and 1907, the line followed with three further four-screw and four-funnel steamers of the Kaiser class, of 14,000–19,000 GT: the SS Kronprinz Wilhelm, the SS Kaiser Wilhelm II and the SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie. With these the company offered a regular service across the Atlantic to its docks