What were the Germans thinking when they started building the Graf Zeppelin?

What were the Germans thinking when they started building the Graf Zeppelin? Considering the mindset of some naval theorists of the time, carriers were seen as an experiment that wasted money that was better used building battleships and cruisers. When they were saddled by the restrictions of the Treaty, Germany decided to focus on things like u-boats, which makes some sense when facing the battleship heavy Royal Navy. Build what you can to hit the enemy where he is weak. But the Graf Zeppelin seems really half-baked from the start. Japan, America, and Britain all had fairly mature carrier doctrines, but the Germans seemed to try to reinvent the wheel. Was the Graf Zeppelin a serious attempt with practical use, or just a Kriegsmarine fever dream to do the “popular” thing?

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A carrier would make sense for Germany as it didn’t even have oversea bases and only short range aircraft. Carriers would be vital to protect ships like the Bismarck on long range missions. Obviously carriers are incredibly expensive and complex weapon systems.

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and you also have to take in account if they were a priority or not and how were the relation between the kriegsmarine and the luftwaffe

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I seem to remember reading something about how there was a dispute over whether the Graf Zeppelin’s airplanes should be under Kriegsmarine or Luftwaffe command

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yes and then hitler made it so the ship would be under kriegsmarine autority and the airplane under the luftwaffle one

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