The Admiral Graf Spee was a pre-World War 2 vessel of the Deutschland-class of German warships.
She was designed and built during a time when Germany was still under the limitations of the Treaty of Versailles signed after World War 1.
The treaty stipulated new warship designs with a displacement not to exceed 10,000 tons.
However, the Admiral Graf Spee was a product of both rule-bending and outright disregard for such limitations - a practice that would prove more and more common during Hitler's rise to power.
The Deutschland-class was first committed to sea by its lead ship - KMS Deutschland and this vessel was then followed by the KMS Admiral Scheer and, finally, the KMS Admiral Graf Spee.
The Graf Spee was named after German Admiral Maximilian von Spee who was killed in combat during World War 1, going down with his flagship, two sons and 2,200 German sailors at the Battle of the Falkland Islands.
The Admiral Graf Spee was laid down in October of 1932 and launched in June of 1934, being officially commissioned in January of 1936.