Rise of the Nazis: The Downfall TV - Karl Donitz - Hitler’s Henchmen TV - Lothar-Gunther Buchheim - The New York Times
Himmler offers his services as a second in command. But Donitz refuses. Rise of the Nazis: The Downfall s1e3, BBC 2022
No attempt of any kind must be made at rescuing members of ships sunk, and this includes picking up persons in the water and putting them in lifeboats, righting capsized lifeboats, and handing over food and water. Rescue runs counter to the most primitive demands of warfare for the destruction of enemy ships and crews. Be hard, remember that the enemy has no regard for women and children when he bombs German cities. Karl Donitz, orders issued 17 September 2020, cited Eugene Davidson, The Trial of the Germans
This took me completely by surprise. Since July 20, 1944, I had not spoken to Hitler at all except at some large gathering … I had never received any hint on the subject from anyone else … When I read the signal I did not for a moment doubt that it was my duty to accept the task … My policy was simple – to try and save as many lives as I could. Karl Donitz, 30 April 1945, cited Memoirs: Ten Years & Twenty Days p442
Is to accept the leadership of a crumbling country a crime? Is to prevent the Russians, the natural enemy of Germany, from obtaining our arms and manpower a crime? In Russian eyes it probably is. But I’m referring to the eyes of a westerner. I knew that we had to capitulate and I wanted it to be to the Americans and British, and not to the East. I’m not even accused of war crimes in the sense of the atrocities. It’s clear they have no case against me. I came into a powerful position in 1943. How can I be accused of a conspiracy? Karl Donitz, to Leon Goldensohn 2nd May 1946, cited Goldensohn, The Nuremberg Interviews
What would the Fatherland be today if the Fuhrer had not united us under National Socialism? Torn apart by parties, permeated by the leaking poison of Judaism. Grand Admiral Karl Donitz
I think the conduct of this war was justified. And I acted according to my conscience. I would do exactly the same again. Karl Donitz, evidence to Nuremberg trials
I would sooner eat soil than have my grandchildren brought up and poisoned by the Jewish spirit and filth. Grand Admiral Karl Donitz
They were some of the most treacherous weapons of the war – the German U-boats. Three out of every four U-boat crewmen did not return. Thirty thousand Allied sailors were their victims. The man responsible for all this was rewarded at the end by his Fuhrer. He became Hitler’s successor: Karl Donitz. Grand Admiral. Hitler’s Henchmen: Donitz the Successor, History 1996
To the victors he was above all a war criminal. ibid.
And so Hitler slipped into power. Donitz welcomed it as a fresh start for Germany. At last someone who meant business. ibid.
More than submarines Hitler really wanted big battleships. ibid.
The [German] Navy had the privilege of opening the Second World War. ibid.
The devil’s Admiral. Donitz was under the spell of the dictator. His faith in Hitler had almost mystical qualities. ibid.
Hitler and Donitz: an alliance against reason. ibid.
Towards the end I could only see him as a harbinger of death. A party servant who could not have been more contemptible. Lothar-Gunther Buchheim, war correspondent
I think that he was responsible for mass manslaughter. Lothar-Guther Buchheim
The funeral wreaths lay piled in the snow, and around them stood the men of Germany’s past, shaking hands, introducing wives, and turning the funeral of Adolf Hitler’s successor into a final grasp at justifying their part of history.
‘To our Reich’s President,’ the gold letters on the black and white ribbon of one of the wreaths said. ‘Alles fur Deutschland’, ‘Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz, in honor and fidelity – the survivors of U-Boat 309’, ‘Courage to the end’, read some of the other inscriptions, the old phrases and the Gothic script perfect symbols of the mood outside the red brick church at the edge of a forest 15 miles from Hamburg.
About 2,500 people, some with Knight’s Crosses tied with red and black ribbons around their necks, many in the cashmere overcoats of postwar West German prosperity, came to the church for the burial of Karl Doenitz, the Grand Admiral who administered the German Reich for 23 days in 1945 until the unconditional surrender that ended World War II in Europe. Convicted by the Nuremberg tribunal of war crimes and crimes against peace, Admiral Doenitz served a 10-year sentence, and then lived out his life in this handsome suburban village until his death at 89 on Christmas Eve.
Although the West German Government paid Admiral Doenitz the pension due his rank, and technically maintained his name on the list of retired officers in spite of his Nuremberg conviction, the Defense Ministry refused to send a representative to the funeral and forbade members of the armed forces to attend in uniform. Old Soldiers Are Angered. The New York Times online article 7 January 1981, ‘War Veterans Come to Bury, And Not to Praise, Doenitz