TIL that in 1940 Hitler decided to change the name of the battle cruiser “Deutschland” to “Lützow” recognizing that the sinking of a warship was a propaganda disaster if it bore the name of its country.

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How silly to name a ship like a country in the first place


This is often stated, but partially inaccurate. The proposal did not originate with Hitler, but with Admiral Raeder. He did include the potential risk of loss, but also had other reasons, and quoting from his rationale: >The reasons which persuaded me to recommend to the Führer that the name “Deutschland” should be changed to “Lützow” are the following: >1. The return of the Panzerschiff Deutschland to home waters and the evacuation of the North Atlantic area of operations by German surface units must be concealed from the enemy for as long as possible in order that enemy forces tied down there by her assumed presence should remain and so effectively free Graf Spee for her activities in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The change of name is favoured in view of the secrecy of this purpose. >2. It is intended to sell the heavy cruiser Lützow to the USSR. It is desirable that this fact is concealed for as long as possible. The change of name is helpful for camouflaging the purpose. >3. The need continually to deploy the Panzerschiffe compels us to accept the possibility that eventually one of them may fall victim to a superior enemy force. On the one hand, it would be a highly undesirable psychological blow to the Kriegsmarine and the whole German people; and on the other hand it would be a welcome opportunity for the enemy to make political capital of the fact that an Panzerschiff with the name “Deutschland” had been sunk by them. It is proper to change the name and so avoid the general psychological effect that such a loss would entail.


You ought to name your ships after the opponents’ generals and political leaders. Then they won’t want to sink them.


Always felt the name of *HMS Invincible* was just tempting fate.


Calling the “Deutschland” a Battle cruiser is a bit generous.