Tirpitz, Alfred von (älˈfrāt fən tĭrˈpĭts) [key], 1849–1930, German admiral. His influence on German naval policy began with his study of the recently invented torpedo and his consequent appointment (1871) as chief of the torpedo division of the navy ministry. Appointed secretary of state for naval affairs in 1897, he began to build a powerful battle fleet. The expansion of the German fleet contributed to Anglo-German enmity. Upon the outbreak of World War I, Tirpitz began the construction of submarines and advocated unrestricted submarine warfare to destroy Allied commerce. He retired in 1916 in protest against Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg's opposition to his submarine policy. Tirpitz returned to active political life as the member of a nationalist group in the Reichstag (1924–28).
See his memoirs (tr. 1919); P. J. Kelly, Tirpitz and the Imperial German Navy (2011).