Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History



First Advisor

Ian R. Mather


In the 21st century, the applicability of aeronautics in civilian and military life is common place. The use of planes allows loved ones to visit each other across countries and continents, reducing what was once an almost insurmountable distance to a few hours of discomfort. Military strategists accept as a matter of course that the nation that controls the skies will often control the field below. The 21st century features human control of the skies as a fact of life. The use of planes as a form of transportation is 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. At its genesis, airpower faced its opponents and witnessed its champions.

The following thesis is a technological history in which the German battleship SMS Ostfriesland serves 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 military thought.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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