Wilhelmshaven

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Wilhelmshaven (German pronunciation: [vɪlhɛlmsˈhaːfən]) is a coastal town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the western side of Jadebusen, a bay of the North Sea.

Contents

History

The Sibetsburg castle, built before 1383, was occupied by pirates and destroyed in 1433 by the Hanseatic League. Four centuries later, the Kingdom of Prussia planned a fleet and a harbour on the North Sea. In 1853, Prince Adalbert of Prussia arranged the Jade Treaty (Jade-Vertrag) with the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, in which Prussia and the Grand Duchy entered into a contract: 3.13 km² of Oldenburgian territory at the Jadebusen should be ceded to Prussia. In 1869, King William I of Prussia (later also German Emperor) founded the town as an exclave of the Province of Hanover as a naval base for Prussia's developing fleet. All the hinterland of the city remained as part of the Duchy of Oldenburg.

A shipbuilders was established at Wilhelmshaven, the Kaiserliche Werft Wilhelmshaven (Imperial Shipyard Wilhelmshaven). On 30 June 1934, the "pocket battleship" Admiral Graf Spee was launched at Wilhelmshaven.

In 1937, Wilhelmshaven and Rüstringen merged[citation needed] and the united city, named Wilhelmshaven, became a part of the Free State of Oldenburg.

World War II

Two thirds of the town's buildings were destroyed during bombing by the Allies of World War II.[citation needed]. On 5 May 1945, Polish forces under General Stanisław Maczek captured Wilhelmshaven and took the surrender of the entire garrison, including some 200 ships of the Kriegsmarine. They remained as part of the allied occupation forces. During World War II Alten Banter Weg (No. 1582 Wilhelmshaven) was a subcamp of the Neuengamme concentration camp.

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