Originally published in 1980 ‘Luxury’ Fleet (the phrase was Winston Churchill’s) was the first history of the Imperial German navy from 1888 to 1918. After tracing the historical background to German naval ambitions, the first two sections of the book analyse Admiral Tirpitz’s programme of building a battle fleet strong enough to engage the Royal Navy in the North Sea. The author shows the fleet in its European setting and describes the warships and the attitudes of the officer corps and seamen. The final section of the book discusses the tactical deployment of the German fleet during the First World War, both in home waters and overseas; and it weighs the balance between those who supported fleet actions in preference to those who favoured cruiser and submarine warfare.
Introduction. 1. Modest Beginnings: The Prussian/German Naval Tradition to 1888 2. Kaiser Wilhelm ii: the Years of Hope and Misdirection, 1888-1898 3. The ‘New Course’: Alfred v. Tirpitz, Architect of the Battle Fleet, 1897-1905 4. The Dreadnought Challenge: The Master Plan Goes Awry, 19-05-1911 5. ‘We Have Them Up Against the Wall’: Dénouement, 1912-1914 6. A Place in the Sun: The German Colonial Empire and the navy, 1884-1914 7. ‘Men Fight, not Ships’: The Personnel of the Imperial German Navy 8. August 1914: The War That Came Too Soon 9. Jutland 1916: Missed opportunity or Fortunate Escape? 10. ‘Museum of Experiments’: The End of the Battleship Era, 1914-1918 11. ‘Between the Thames and Helgoland’: German Naval Policies, 1917-1918 12. The Sun Sets: Scapa Flow, 21 June 1919.