WOLFSONIAN LIBRARY OBJECT OF THE MONTH

DIE “UNTERSEEBOOT” OR SUBMARINE

In my last blog post dealing with the Titanic and Lusitania disasters, I briefly referenced the German High Command’s policy of employing unrestricted submarine warfare on the high seas. Before the introduction of the submarine, the international rules of maritime law required that the crews and passengers of cargo and liners be given warning and sufficient time to take to the life boats before a warship was allowed to fire on and sink their vessels. Seeing that the stealthy submarine relied on torpedoes as weapons and was extremely vulnerable to being rammed and sunk by unarmed ships, the German military decided to forego those “chivalrous” codes of war and direct the submarines to torpedo and sink (even neutral ships) without warning.

While looking for images to accompany yesterday’s text, I happened across a rare mechanical work from the era which shows the outer and internal workings of Germany’s “Unterseebootes” (“Undersea boats,” or submarines). As we did not yet have a digital image of the item, I had been unable to include it in my blog. Thanks to the quick work of Digital Library Specialist David Almeida, I can now present to my readers an image of these early submersibles that so changed the face of naval war.

~ by "The Chief" on April 11, 2012.

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