|Naval officer ranks|
Admiral of the fleet • Fleet admiral • Grand admiral
In the Imperial German Navy, the rank was the equivalent of a British admiral of the fleet or a United States fleet admiral. It was created in 1901, and like field marshals its holders were authorised to carry a baton.
World War I
Before and during World War I, the following men were made grand admirals of the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy):
- Emperor Wilhelm II (1901)
- King Oscar II of Sweden (1901)
- Hans von Koester (28 June 1905)
- Prince Henry of Prussia (4 September 1909)
- Alfred von Tirpitz (27 January 1911)
- Henning von Holtzendorff (31 May 1918)
World War II
Before and during World War II, the following men were made grand admirals of the German Kriegsmarine:
- Erich Raeder, then-Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine, was made a grand admiral on 1 April 1939
- Karl Dönitz, commander of the U-Boat fleet and later successor to Adolf Hitler, was made a grand admiral on 30 January 1943 upon succeeding Raeder as Commander-in-Chief.
The rank of grand admiral (in Italian, grand' ammiraglio) was created by Benito Mussolini in 1924. It was established primarily to honour Paolo Thaon di Revel, who had been head of the Italian Regia Marina during World War I — he was the only person to be awarded the rank. It was equivalent to marshal of Italy in the army and also marshal of the Air Force.
Anton Haus, commander of the Austro-Hungarian navy for part of World War I, was given the title of grand admiral (Großadmiral) in 1916. No other active-duty officer (except members of the Imperial family) was ever given this rank (although Haus's immediate successor, Maximilian Njegovan, was promoted to grand admiral on the retired list in 1918).
In popular culture
The rank of grand admiral also has appeared in science fiction literature, most significant of which is the literature of Star Wars. The Galactic Empire's Grand Admiral Thrawn, of the Timothy Zahn novels, is one such science fiction character who held this highest of naval ranks.
- The Times, 1 January 1901.
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