It was Germany's first and last aircraft carrier, built by the Nazis in 1936, then disappeared into Soviet hands.
But nearly 70 years later a Polish oil company recently discovered a wreck in the Baltic Sea and yesterday it was confirmed as that of the Graf Zeppelin.
Adolf Hitler wanted to do everything bigger, better and faster. After all, he was out to conquer the world, or at least a good part of it; the aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin he commissioned to be built in 1935 - Germany's only aircraft carrier ever - was no exception.
More than half a century after it mysteriously disappeared, the Graf Zeppelin was recently rediscovered by the Polish oil company Petrobaltic in the Baltic Sea near Gdansk. Experts from the Polish navy confirmed yesterday that the nearly 260-metre (850-ft) wreck is indeed the Nazi carrier.
"A grandiose technical accomplishment, especially considering that the Germans didn't have a single model for the construction of such a carrier," said Ulrich Israel, a military historian.
Construction began in 1936, three years before Hitler invaded Poland, which started the Second World War. It was to be a prestige object for the Nazis and was equipped with engines capable of propelling the 33,000-ton colossus at an impressive 33 knots.
However, practical efficiency was compromised for military prowess: the 1,720-man aircraft carrier could only hold about 40 planes, half as many as British or American contemporary equivalents, but was heavily armoured by comparison.
Officially launched in December 1938, construction was never fully completed. Submarines quickly took priority when the war began.
As the war came to a close, demolition squads sank the carrier on April 25, 1945.