This is a postcard. When WW I began, Vizeadmiral Graf Maximilian von Spee (1861-1914) commanded the German East Asian Squadron stationed in China. After war broke out, he determined that his situation in Asia was not sustainable. He detached the S. M. S. Emden from his force to attack allied shipping in the Indian Ocean. [She was very successful until she met her match in the H.M.A.S. Sydney]. Meanwhile, von Spee sailed his squadron’s balance across the Pacific, with the goal of returning to Germany. En route, his group engaged a British Squadron off Chile’s coast in the Battle of Coronel on 1 November 1914, sinking two British Cruisers. On 8 December 1914, von Spee’s squadron met a vastly superior British flotilla. In the ensuing battle, only two of Spee’s smaller ships escaped. All the others were sunk. Spee, his two young sons (officers Otto and Heinrich von Spee), and 2,200 other Germans went down with their ships. [In 1934, the German Kriegsmarine named a pocket battleship after the vizeadmiral. Ironically, the Admiral Graf Spee was acting as a (very successful) raider in the South Atlantic when she attracted a British squadron’s interest. The British and the Admiral Graf Spee had an intense interaction wherein the Graf Spee damaged all three British ships. Although the damage the Graf Spee suffered was not critical, it diminished her ability to break out of the Montevideo (Uruguay) harbor. Ultimately, the ship was scuttled in the River Plate on 17 December 1939. Her commander, Kapitän zur See Hans Langdsdorff, had served in the Kaiserliche Marine during WW I, including service with the High Seas Fleet at the Battle of Jutland. Three days after he scuttled the Admiral Graf Spee, Langdsdorff lay down on his ship’s battle ensign and committed suicide (as a point of honor).
The postcard is derived from Professor Hans Bohrdt’s painting depicting the Battle of the Falklands. The card’s top displays his painting, which features a sailor standing on his sunken ship’s floating wreckage. He defiantly thrusts a kriegsflagge aloft as the British fleet steams past. Below Bohrdt’s famous painting is a patriotic poem by Heinrich Roser. The postcard was not mailed.