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