On February 4, 1915, Admiral Hugo von Pohl of the German High Seas Fleet warned that ‘every enemy merchant vessel’ in British waters would be targeted and that ‘it may not always be possible to prevent attacks on enemy ships from harming neutral ships’.

Bismarck was the first of two of the largest battleships ever built by Germany. Ordered for Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine, the ship was a testament to Nazi Germany’s ambitions to build a powerful and modern navy.