The SMS Ostfriesland: A Warship at the Crossroads of Military Technology

Wesley R Hale, University of Rhode Island


In the 21st century, the applicability of aeronautics in civilian and military life is a staple of civilization. The use of planes allows loved ones to visit each other across countries and continents, reducing what was once an insurmountable distance to a few hours of discomfort. Military strategists accept as a matter of fact that the nation that controls the skies will often control the field below. The world of the 21st century is one in which human control of the air is a fact of life and thought of little more than the use of trains and automobiles as fixtures in daily business. Yet what is now taken for granted has only existed for a single century, and in that century, it has faced its opponents and witnessed its champions.^ The following thesis is a technological history concerned with the transition of attitudes of naval warfare, specifically concerning the development of air power. The study focuses on the service of a First World War German battleship as a focal point for the technological changes in the early 20th century. From the ship’s commission during an era dominated by battleships and fleet action, to its demise as a target in an aerial bomb test, the Ostfriesland provides a snapshot into the technological history of naval warfare and the development of modern thought.^

Subject Area

Military history|Military studies

Recommended Citation

Wesley R Hale, "The SMS Ostfriesland: A Warship at the Crossroads of Military Technology" (2018). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI10750016.