According to the terms of the armistice, Germany was obliged to surrender her warships. From November 1918 74 German ships were interned at Scapa Flow and most of their crews were returned to Germany.
There was historic irony in the Kaiser's naval officers choosing a watery grave for his magnificent battleships in a British harbour. Had the Kaiser not embarked on a strategically unnecessary attempt to match Britain's maritime strength, fatal hostility between the two countries might have been avoided; so, too, in all possibility, might have been the neurotic climate of suspicion and insecurity from which the First World War was born. The unmarked graveyard of his squadrons inside the remotest islands of the British archipelago, guarding the exit from the narrow seas his fleet would have had to penetrate to achieve true oceanic status, remains as a memorial to selfish and ultimately pointless military ambition.