A German Navy chaplain's letter s home highlight his efforts to bolster the spiritual, emotional, and patriotic sentiments of his shipmates in the weeks, days, and hours before two of World War I's most significant early naval battles.
On 20 June 1914 Europe was at peace. That day, when the armored cruiser Gneisenau sailed from the German Cruiser Squadron's base, Tsingtao on the Yellow Sea, no one had reason to suspect that it would be for the last time. Among her company was the squadron chaplain, 32-year-old Evangelischer Marinepfarrer (Protestant Naval Pastor) Hans Rost. Rost's letters home, never before quoted in an English-language publication, provide a unique perspective of the drama into which he and his shipmates were soon cast.