The countdown to The Great War begins one hundred years ago on 23 June 1914 when the widened and deepened (so that it could accommodate bigger warships) Kiel Canal, then known as the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanel (until 1948) was reopened by the Kaiser.
The Kiel Canal in Schleswig-Holstein is a 98 kiliometre long artificial waterway connecting the North Sea at Brunsbuettel with the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau. It was originally built in 1887-95 to facilitate movement of the German fleet, then the Kiel Canal was widened and deepened from 1905 to 1914. Because of its great military and commercial importance the canal was internationalised by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Today the canal is the world’s busiest artificial waterway. A major shipping passage for large ocean going ships in the Baltic region, use of the canal saves an average of 280 nautical miles instead of going around Jutland.
Note: I am undertaking this tour through the centenary events of World War I over the commemoration dates as a personal learning experience and my own small tribute to the people who lost their lives and/or their loved ones in the always terrible acts of war. If people who are knowledgeable about these events care to correct, expand and educate me, I will be perfectly content. I apologise to those who have landed up here while on a scholarly quest. This is NOT intended as an academic commentary.