The origins of the Scharnhorst can be traced as far back as 1928. However, as a result of the strict
conditions imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles, the early ships were overdeveloped
in terms of speed and poor in terms of stability. Additionally, there was a discrepancy between
the number of guns and their calibre.
When the national Socialists came to power in 1933, German foreign policy was focused on
amendments to the Treaty. With the Anglo German Treaty of 1935, Hitler finally succeeded in
getting rid of many of the restrictions. This meant that the construction of ships of the
Scharnhorst class, originally planned in secret, had been
The battleship "Scharnhorst" and her sister ship "Gneisenau" heralded the first large German
warships since 1918. These newly developed craft represented a successful merging of the
former liners and battle cruisers from the time of the first World War. The construction of so-
called "Speed Battleships" began in the
mid-thirties with these two models.
The "Scharnhorst" took part in a variety of operations during the second World War. Her most
legendary exploit was, together with her sister ship the "Gneisenau", and the heavy cruiser "Prinz
Eugen", the breakthrough of the Channel in 1942 (Operation Cerberus).
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