Maximilian von Spee Fact Sheet: Who
was Maximilian von Spee? The following short
biography and fact sheet provides
interesting facts about the life, times and
history of Maximilian von Spee.
Maximilian von Spee Fact File:
Lifespan: 1861 – 1914 *** Full Name:
Maximilian Johannes Maria Hubert von Spee
*** Occupation: German Imperial Naval
Officer *** Date of Birth: Maximilian von
Spee was born on June 22nd 1861 *** Place of
Birth: Maximilian von Spee was born in
Copenhagen, Denmark *** Family background:
Little is known of his family or background
except that he was from an aristocratic
background *** Education: Maximilian von
Spee his education would have been the best
money could buy ***.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 1:
Maximilian von Spee was born on June 22nd
1861 and during the 19th century period in
history when significant developments were
made in biology, science, physics, medicine
Maximilian von Spee Fact 2:
Although he had been born in Copenhagen,
Denmark, Maximilian was brought up on the
family estate in Rhineland in Germany.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 3:
In 1878 at the age of seventeen he joined
the Imperial Navy and to begin with he
served in the main naval base in Germany at
Maximilian von Spee Fact 4:
He joined as a commissioned officer and was
given the rank of Leutnant zur See. He would
be posted to the gunboat SMS Mowe and they
were sent to West Africa.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 5:
By 1887 he was given a transfer to Kamerun
and made commander of the port of Duala.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 6:
While stationed there he contracted
rheumatic fever and would be sent back to
Germany to fully recover, but would always
suffer periodically with rheumatism
throughout his life.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 7:
Upon his return to Germany, he married
Margareta Baroness von der Osten-Sacken,
together they had three children, two sons,
Otto and Heinrich and a daughter Huberta.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 8:
In late 1897 he would be stationed to
Germany’s East Asia Squadron once it had
seized the businesses at Kiautschou Bay
together with its port, Tsingtao.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 9:
While he was there he served on the staff of
one Vizeadmiral Otto von Diederichs.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 10:
The Boxer Rebellion took place in 1900 and
Maximilian would finally see action during
this conflict at Tsingtao and on the
Maximilian von Spee Fact 11:
Upon his return to Germany he was given a
promotion to Korvettenkapitan and given the
assignment of first officer on board the
pre-dreadnought battleship Brandenburg.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 12:
After 1900 he would be given command of
several vessels including Aviso Hela, a
minelayer Pelikan and another
pre-dreadnought ship Wittelsbach.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 13:
Around this time he received a further
promotion to Fregattenkapitan and in January
of 1904 was promoted to Kapitan zur See.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 14:
By 1908 he posted to the North Sea Station
as chief of staff to the commander and two
years later promoted to Konteradmiral and
reassigned to the reconnaissance forces on
the High Seas Fleet as the deputy commander.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 15:
In 1912 Maximilian von Spee would be given
command of East Asia Squadron in December.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 16:
As World War I approached he began to
prepare his men for war and as the conflict
began he recalled his ships in preparation
for the upcoming battle on the sea.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 17: The Battle of Coronel, as
far as Spee was concerned, was a total
success. Originally believing one British
cruiser was on its own and easy pickings, he
soon found it was accompanied by several
other vessels, but after careful planning
and tactical manoeuvring, Spee won the day
sinking at least two of the British vessels.
Maximilian von Spee Fact 18:
The British sought revenge in the form of
Vice Admiral Doveton Sturdee who caught up
with the German fleet off of the Falkland
Islands. After much manoeuvring and gun
fire, Spee was caught off balance and in
order to try and save the day, he attempted
to put his vessel in line with that of
Sturdee and fire torpedoes but was sunk
instead, of the four German vessels involved
in this conflict only the Nurnberg escaped
but would be sunk in the not too distant
Maximilian von Spee Fact 19:
Maximilian von Spee went down with his
vessel the Scharnhorst, his sons, Heinrich
went down with the Gneisenau and Otto with
Maximilian von Spee Fact 20:
Maximilian von Spee died on December the 8th
1914, bravely and at the helm of his ship at
the age of fifty three years.
Influence and Legacy: A
Mackensen class battlecruiser was built in
his honor and named the Graf Spee, she was
christened by Margaret, Spee’s widow.
Unfortunately the Armistice of November 11th
1918 was signed before her completion and
she was scrapped in 1921.
Short Facts about Maximilian von Spee for Kids
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