Karl Dönitz quotes

Karl Dönitz photo
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Karl Dönitz

Birthdate: 16. September 1891
Date of death: 24. December 1980

Karl Dönitz was a German admiral who played a major role in the naval history of World War II. Dönitz briefly succeeded Adolf Hitler as the head of state of Nazi Germany.

He began his career in the Imperial German Navy before World War I. In 1918, he was commanding UB-68 when she was sunk by British forces. Dönitz was taken prisoner. While in a prisoner of war camp, he formulated what he later called Rudeltaktik . At the start of World War II, he was the senior submarine officer in the Kriegsmarine. In January 1943, Dönitz achieved the rank of Großadmiral and replaced Grand Admiral Erich Raeder as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy.

On 30 April 1945, after the death of Adolf Hitler and in accordance with Hitler's last will and testament, Dönitz was named Hitler's successor as head of state, with the title of President of Germany and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. On 7 May 1945, he ordered Alfred Jodl, Chief of Operations Staff of the OKW, to sign the German instruments of surrender in Reims, France. Dönitz remained as head of the Flensburg Government, as it became known, until it was dissolved by the Allied powers on 23 May.

Despite his postwar claims, Dönitz was seen as supportive of Nazism during the war, and he is known to have made a number of anti-Semitic statements. Following the war, Dönitz was indicted as a major war criminal at the Nuremberg Trials on three counts: conspiracy to commit crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity; planning, initiating, and waging wars of aggression; and crimes against the laws of war. He was found not guilty on count of the indictment, but guilty on counts and . He was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment; after his release, he lived in a village near Hamburg until his death in 1980. For nearly seven decades, Dönitz was the only head of state to be convicted by an international tribunal until the conviction of Liberia's Charles Taylor in April 2012.

Photo: Unknown author / Public domain

„By placing these people with foreign ideas in camps, German blood was saved. Would it have been better to have a civil war?“

—  Karl Dönitz

To Leon Goldensohn, May 2, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004.

„I'm an old man at 54, without teeth, and with rheumatism.“

—  Karl Dönitz

To Leon Goldensohn, March 3, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004.

„The north German does not go in for extremes. He has broader horizons than the men from the mountains of Bavaria and Austria.“

—  Karl Dönitz

To Leon Goldensohn, March 3, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004.

„With the new weapons like the atom bomb, Russia would have it, too, and use it first. It is a very difficult world. But that trouble is imminent is obvious.“

—  Karl Dönitz

To Leon Goldensohn, July 14, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004.

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„Our losses…have reached an intolerable level. The enemy air force played a decisive role in inflicting these high losses.“

—  Karl Dönitz

May 24, 1943, quoted in "A Time for Courage: The Royal Air Force in the European War, 1939-1945" - Page 449 - by John Terraine - History - 1985.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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