Tirpitz, Alfred von (1849–1930), a German naval officer and statesman. As grand admiral of the German navy before World War I, he was largely responsible for building Germany into a naval power second only to Great Britain.
Tirpitz was born in Küstrin, Prussia, and entered the Prussian navy in 1865. After formation of the German Empire in 1871, he was in charge of the torpedo division of the imperial navy. He became secretary of state for naval affairs in 1897. When World War I began in 1914, Tirpitz was not permitted to risk the surface fleet in aggressive action. He turned instead to submarine warfare. When in 1916 it, too, was restricted, he resigned his office. Tirpitz served in the Reichstag (lower house of parliament) of the German Republic, 1924–28.