Viktor Valois
Victor Valois was a vice-admiral (Vizeadmiral) in the German Imperial Navy
Kaiserliche Marine
The Imperial German Navy was the German Navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy and Norddeutsche Bundesmarine, which primarily had the mission of coastal defense. Kaiser Wilhelm II greatly expanded...

. He graduated from the post-graduate Naval War College, the German Imperial Naval Academy 1872-1918
German Imperial Naval Academy 1872-1918
The German Imperial Naval Academy at Kiel, Germany, was from 1872 until the end of the First World War the higher education institution of the German Imperial Navy, Kaiserliche Marine, where naval officers were prepared for problems in higher levels of command...

 (Marineakademie) in 1874 in a class with three other future admirals: Otto von Diederichs
Otto von Diederichs
Ernst Otto von Diederichs was an Admiral of the German Imperial Navy, serving in the predecessor Prussian Navy and the Navy of the North German Confederation.-Education, war and peace:Diederichs entered the Prussian...

, Felix von Bendemann
Felix von Bendemann
Felix von Bendemann was an Admiral of the German Imperial Navy .Bendemann was born in Dresden, Kingdom of Saxony. He was the son of the painter Eduard Julius Friedrich Bendemann and Lida Schadow, who was the daughter of the sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow...

, Gustav von Senden-Bibran
Gustav von Senden-Bibran
Gustav Freiherr von Senden-Bibran was an admiral of the German Imperial Navy. His father was a Silesian landowner who had served in the Austro-Hungarian Calvary. He entered the Prussian Navy at age 15, never married, and dedicated his life to building a strong German Navy...


He married Minna von Behrendt. He served as executive officer of SMS Vineta, out of Wilhelmshaven
Wilhelmshaven is a coastal town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the western side of the Jade Bight, a bay of the North Sea.-History:...


Valois commanded the cruiser corvette SMS Victoria (France, 1863) in February 1881 on a cruise to Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

 to protest a native attack on the shipwrecked crew of a German merchant ship. He exacted a monetary fine from the Liberian government and shelled the village of the natives involved.

In early 1890 he left the position of Director (oberwerftdirektor) of the Imperial Shipyard
Kaiserliche Werft Kiel
Kaiserliche Werft Kiel was a German shipbuilding company founded in 1867, first as Königliche Werft Kiel but renamed in 1871 with the proclamation of the German Empire...

 in Kiel to become commander of the German East Asia Squadron
German East Asia Squadron
The German East Asia Squadron was a German Navy cruiser squadron which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean between the 1870s and 1914...

 1890-1892. In December 1890 he was in Australia with the SMS Sophie, SMS Leipzig, the SMS Arcona
Eulenburg Expedition
The Eulenburg Expedition was a diplomatic mission conducted by Friedrich Albrecht zu Eulenburg on behalf of Prussia and the German Customs Union in 1859-62...

 and the SMS Alexandrine.

The purpose of the East Asia Squadron was to protect and promote imperialist interest in Asia and the Pacific. On 21 December 1890 he was as Samoa
Samoa , officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in...

 with his squadron in connection with German plans to annex the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

 when an approaching hurricane caused him to flee in his flagship SMS Leipzig.

This was a period of tensions and rivalries in the Pacific between the great powers, including Germany and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. This tension was increased slightly when Valois brought his squadron into San Francisco on 4 June 1891 without the expected courtesy of raising an American flag. Perhaps it was for this reason that Admiral Andrew E. K. Benham, commander of Mare Island Station
Mare Island Naval Shipyard
The Mare Island Naval Shipyard was the first United States Navy base established on the Pacific Ocean. It is located 25 miles northeast of San Francisco in Vallejo, California. The Napa River goes through the Mare Island Strait and separates the peninsula shipyard from the main portion of the...

 did not visit Valois. Nevertheless, this was during the Chilean Civil War
Chilean Civil War
The Chilean Civil War of 1891 was an armed conflict between forces supporting Congress and forces supporting the sitting President, José Manuel Balmaceda. The war saw a confrontation between the Chilean Army and the Chilean Navy, which had sided with the president and the congress, respectively...

 and he was soon ordered south where, along with US and British navies, he was involved in the search for the gun-running Chilean ship Itata (Itata Incident
Itata Incident
The Itata Incident was a diplomatic affair and military incident involving the United States and Chilean insurgents during the Chilean Civil War in 1891. The incident concerned an arms shipment by the Chilean ship Itata from the United States to Chile, to assist insurgent Congressionalist forces in...


As opposed to the battle fleet favored by Alfred von Tirpitz
Alfred von Tirpitz
Alfred von Tirpitz was a German Admiral, Secretary of State of the German Imperial Naval Office, the powerful administrative branch of the German Imperial Navy from 1897 until 1916. Prussia never had a major navy, nor did the other German states before the German Empire was formed in 1871...

, he especially favored a cruiser fleet which would go after Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

's merchant in case of war.

His book "Seekraft Seegeltung Seeherrschaft" published in 1899 caused a stir of interest in international naval circles as in it he admitted that the German naval build up was directed at Britain and proposed that mutual interest of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Germany should lead to an alliance against Britain.

He took part as something of a progressive in the naval related questions of the time such as foreign colonies, even after retirement. As a member of the Kolonialrat [colonial advisory board], he objected to a board recommendation in 1901 against a proposal to free all slaves in Germany’s African colonies by 1920. Valois proposed that all children born to slaves should be born free, but this was over ruled as “premature.”

He was a long foe of the United Kingdom and supported a strong cruiser fleet as the most feasible way to fight her in a coming war. In the April 1910 issue of Überall, the magazine of the Navy League
Navy League (Germany)
The Navy League or Fleet Association in Imperial Germany was an interest group formed on April 30 1898 on initiative of Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz through the German Imperial Naval Office which he headed to support the expansion of the Imperial Navy ...

 (Flottenverein), he had a violently anti-British article, "Our Navy in the Service of the Colonial Movement,” saying that " there is at present no greater menace to the world's peace than the presumption of England."

Although he was long retired when the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 entered the First World War against Germany, he published a pamphlet “Nieder mit England!” (Down with England!) which strongly attacked the new enemy and called for her destruction.

Works authored

  • Victor Valois, Seekraft Seegeltung Seeherrschaft, 1899.
  • Victor Valois, Deutschland als Seemacht, Leipzig: Wiegand, 1908.
  • Victor Valois, “Nieder mit England!” 1914 or 1915.


  • By order of the Kaiser: Otto von Diederichs and the rise of the Imperial German Navy, 1865-1902 by Terrell D. Gottschall; Institute Press, 2003, 337 pages.
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