After Adolph Hitler there was Karl Dönitz

Karl Dönitz was a German admiral during the Nazi era who briefly succeeded Adolf Hitler as the German head of state in 1945. As Supreme Commander of the Navy since 1943, he played a major role in the naval history of World War II. He was convicted of war crimes following the war.

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 wolf pack.

Dönitz was the main enemy of Allied naval forces in the Battle of the Atlantic. From 1939–1943 the U-boats fought effectively but lost the initiative from May 1943. Dönitz ordered his submarines into battle until 1945 to relieve the pressure on other branches of the Nazi German Armed Force. U-boats lost—429 with no survivors. A further 215 were lost on their first patrol. Around 30,000 of the 40,000 men to serve on U-boats perished.

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.

Dönitz was a dedicated Nazi and supporter of Hitler and he held anti-Semitic beliefs. 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 of committing crimes against humanity, but guilty of committing crimes against peace and war crimes against the laws of war. He was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment; after his release, he lived in a village near Hamburg until his death in 1980.

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By: Long Beard (18748.10)

Tags: Flash Back, Karl Donitz, Germany, Adolph Hitler, Wolfpack, Surrender

Location: Germany