Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Spee, Imperial Count Maximilian von

(390 words)

Author(s): Herwig, Holger H.
Spee, Imperial Count Maximilian von ( June 22, 1861, Copenhagen – December 8, 1914, off the Falkland Islands), German admiral. Spee entered the Imperial German Navy in 1878 and became a rear admiral in 1910. Placed in command of the German East Asia Squadron in 1912, he was promoted to vice admiral in 1913. At the beginning of the war his squadron was operating in the vicinity of the island of Ponape, the largest of the Eastern Carolines. Following the Japanese declaration of war against Germany, Spee decided to head for Chile across the Pacific Ocean with the armored cruisers Scharnhorst and Gn…