Was Jutland the greatest naval battle ever?
You are here:
You are hereHome › Was Jutland the greatest naval battle ever?
• New date released for panel discussion
• “Question Time” panel debate on Battle of Jutland chaired by popular TV historian and broadcaster Dan Snow
• International panel confirmed
Following the centenary year commemorations for the Battle of Jutland last year, a clash considered the defining naval battle of the First World War, a “Question Time” debate chaired by popular TV historian and broadcaster Dan Snow has been rescheduled and will now take place on Thursday 2nd February.
The big debate, run by The National Museum of the Royal Navy, promises to get to the heart of a battle that has divided opinion for 100 years and takes place on Thursday 2nd February at 7pm in Action Stations, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
The battle was often considered a German victory due to the number of British lives lost, 6,094 to the Germans 2,551 however the British maintained numerical supremacy on the day.
Although the battle had a huge human cost, most British losses were tactically insignificant, with the exception of HMS Queen Mary, and the Grand Fleet was ready for action again the next day. One month after the battle the Grand Fleet was stronger than it had been before sailing to Jutland. By contrast, so shaken were the Germans by the weight of the British response that they never again seriously challenged British control of the North Sea.
The international panel will be chaired by British historian and broadcaster Dan Snow. He said: “Jutland was the climax of centuries of naval warfare, the last time two fleets of big gunned battleships contested control of the seas.”
Joining the panel is Stephan Huck, the Director of the German Naval Museum where he has curated several exhibitions including „Skagerrak. Seeschlacht ohne Sieger – Jutland. The unfinished Battle.“ Also on the panel is Naval historian Dr Andrew Gordon, author of The Rules of the Game, for many, the definitive book on the battle and Dr Laura Rowe, lecturer at the University of Exeter whose primary research interest focuses on the social and cultural history of the First World War and on the Royal Navy in particular.
The final panel member is Nick Hewitt, author, broadcaster and naval historian and the National Museum’s project leader for the blockbuster exhibition that opened in May at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War.
Director of the German Naval Museum, Stephan Huck said: “In the aftermath of the Skagerrakschlacht (The Battle of Jutland) it occupied an important place of remembrance for German society and particularly the German Navy. However it became largely forgotten in the second half of the 20th century. The centenary of the First World War led to a national recovery of the First World War in Germany and offered the chance to bring the history of the Battle of Jutland back to light.
“It gave the opportunity to describe the battle as an important turning point in the history of the First World War: despite the declared victory it prompted the decision to restart unrestricted U-boat warfare with the fatal consequence of the entry of the United States into the war.
“Now with the distance of a hundred years it is possible to objectively compare the British and the German view on the battle and the circumstances that led to it. This illuminates unexpected similarities in the navies on both sides of the English Channel at the beginning of First World War. Both exhibitions and events like this debate enable us to present both perspectives and to pay tribute to those involved.”
Nick Hewitt, curator of the National Museum’s exhibition 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War said: “The Battle of Jutland is the Royal Navy’s defining moment in The Great War, and perhaps the largest sea battle in history. It’s the only event in the national First World War centenary programme which is wholly naval in character. As a naval historian, it’s a great privilege to be involved in a debate like this and I’m absolutely sure our visitors will be as engaged by this epic, tragic story as we are.”
Ticket buyers are being urged to submit their questions online for consideration before January 27th. The type of questions that may be posed include did the battle win the war? What of the social impact on Britain and Germany? Are blockades ever morally justified and why does Jutland matter today?
Tickets cost £10 (no concessions) are available online or at the Visitor Centre at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard between 10am – 4pm daily.