Teaching Materials | Scapaflow 1919 - The Big Scuttle
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Teaching Materials

What was the Scuttle?

  • German ships had been interned in Scapa Flow as a guarantee of Germany’s good faith during the Peace Negotiations
  • The destruction was ordered when mis-communication led the German commander to believe that his ships would be seized by the Allies
  • The largest loss of tonnage in history: 470,000 tons in 5 hours. 54 out of 72 interned ships were sunk

Why was it important?

  • It created two new industries for Orkney – the salvage industry and the dive industry
  • What to do with the German navy became one of the thorniest issues between the Allies at Versailles. America distrusted continued British maritime dominance, the French wanted a part of the interned German Fleet as compensation for the huge losses suffered and the Italians and Japanese felt ignored.
  • The loss of the High Seas Fleet and later more ships and resources as a direct result of the scuttle gave Germany the chance to build a new, even more powerful navy
Powerpoint Presentations

The German Fleet Scuttle

Powerpoint Presentation #1

The Context and importance of the scuttle