Book Review – ‘‘Deutsche, werdet Mitglieder des Vaterlandes!’: Der Deutsche Flottenverein 1898–1934’ by Marcus Faulkner

By Marcus Faulkner, published October 2020


The growth of navies at the end of the nineteenth century paralleled an increased public interest in naval affairs and the rapid expansion of naval interest groups. Nowhere was this more apparent than in Imperial Germany where, within a comparatively short period, the navy was transformed from a coastal defence force to an oceangoing fleet second only to the Royal Navy. For a continental power faced with very real European geostrategic problems this required more than the enthusiasm of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Political and industrial interests were backed by one of the most formidable naval interest groups created, the Deutsche Flottenverein (DFV), which at its height numbered more than a million members across the empire.

Sebastian Diziol’s study is an in-depth history of the DFV and its post-1919 successor the Deutsche Seeverein (DSV). Diziol’s treatment is original as it focuses on the organization, the process of creating a German maritime narrative and crucially expands the coverage into the First World War and beyond. It is further his aim to explore navalism and its impact on the German socio-political landscape between 1898 and 1934.

submitted in a monograph format. The result is that the vast majority are published into obscurity owing to lacklustre editing and minuscule print runs. This work is no different in that it is, at its core, a thesis rather than a monograph, and herein rest some of its principle problems. The actual publication represents something of a paradox, as while clearly considerable effort and resources have been devoted to its publication, it is punctuated by some strange editorial choices. On the positive side, the quality of the volumes, ample colour illustrations, diagrams and ancillary materials put most, even mainstream, academic publications to shame.

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Filed under: Baltic | North Sea
Subjects include: Navies

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