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                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

               His Majesty's Stationery Office
                                                  [Page 107]


Doenitz is indicted on Counts One, Two, and Three. In 1935
he took command of the first U-boat flotilla commissioned
since 1918, became in 1936 commander of the submarine arm,
was made Vice-Admiral in 1940, Admiral in 1942, and on 30th
January, 1943 ,Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy. On 1st
May, 1945,  he became the Head of State, succeeding Hitler.

Crimes Against Peace

Although Doenitz built and trained the German U-boat arm,
the evidence does not show he was privy to the conspiracy to
wage aggressive wars or that he prepared and initiated such
wars. He was a line officer performing strictly tactical
duties. He was not present at the important conferences when
plans for aggressive wars were announced, and there is no
evidence he was informed about the decisions reached there.
Doenitz did, however, wage aggressive war within the meaning
of that word as used by the Charter. Submarine warfare which
began immediately upon the outbreak of war, was fully
coordinated with the other branches of the Wehrmacht. It is
clear that his U-boats, few in number at the time, were
fully prepared to wage war.

It is true that until his appointment in January, 1943,  as
Commander-in-Chief he was not an "Oberbefehlshaber". But
this statement underestimates the importance of Doenitz'
position. He was no mere army or division commander. The U-
boat arm was the principal part of the German fleet and
Doenitz was its leader. The High Seas fleet made a few
minor, if spectacular, raids during the early years of the
war, but the real damage to the enemy was done almost
exclusively by his submarines as the millions of tons of
Allied and neutral shipping sunk will testify. Doenitz was
solely in charge of this warfare. The Naval War Command
reserved for itself only the decision as to the number of
submarines in each area. In the invasion of Norway, for
example, Doenitz made recommendations in October, 1939, as
to submarine bases, which he claims were no more than a
staff study, and in March, 1940, he made out the operational
orders for the supporting U-boats, as discussed elsewhere in
this Judgment.

That his importance to the German war effort was so regarded
is eloquently proved by Raeder's recommendation of Doenitz
as his successor and his appointment by Hitler on 30th
January, 1943, as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. Hitler,
too, knew that submarine warfare was the essential part of
Germany's naval warfare.

From January, 1943, Doenitz was consulted almost
continuously by Hitler. The evidence was that they conferred
on naval problems about 120 times during the course of the

                                                  [Page 108]
As late as April, 1945, when he admits he knew the struggle
was hopeless, Doenitz as its Commander-in-Chief urged the
Navy to continue its fight. On 1st May, 1945, he became the
Head of State and as such ordered the Wehrmacht to continue
its war in the East, until capitulation on 9th May, 1945.
Doenitz explained that his reason for these orders was to
insure that the German civilian population might be
evacuated and the Army might make an orderly retreat from
the East.

In the view of the Tribunal, the evidence shows that Doenitz
was active in waging aggressive war.

War Crimes

Doenitz is charged with waging unrestricted submarine
warfare contrary to the Naval Protocol of 1936("Treaty
Series No. 29 (1936)" Cmd. 5302.), to which Germany acceded,
and which reaffirmed the rules of submarine warfare laid
down in the London Naval Agreement of 1930 ("Treaty Series
No. 1 (1931)" Cmd. 3758.).

The Prosecution has submitted that on 3rd September, 1939,
the German U-boat arm began to wage unrestricted submarine
warfare upon all merchant ships, whether enemy or neutral,
cynically disregarding the Protocol; and that a calculated
effort was made throughout the war to disguise this practice
by making hypocritical references to international law and
supposed violations by the Allies.

Doenitz insists that at all times the Navy remained within
the confines of international law and of the Protocol. He
testified that when the war began, the guide to submarine
warfare was the German Prize Ordinance taken almost
literally from the Protocol, that pursuant to the German
view, he ordered submarines to attack all merchant ships in
convoy, and all that refused to stop or used their radio
upon sighting a submarine. When his reports indicated that
British merchant ships were being used to give information
by wireless, were being armed, and were attacking submarines
on sight, he ordered his submarines on 1st October, 1939, to
attack all enemy merchant ships without warning on the
ground that resistance was to be expected. Orders already
had been issued on 21st September, 1939, to attack all
ships, including neutrals, sailing at night without lights
in the English Channel.

On 24th November, 1939, the German Government issued a
warning to neutral shipping that, owing to the frequent
engagements taking place in the waters around the British
Isles and the French Coast between U-boats and Allied
merchant ships which were armed and had instructions to use
those arms as well as to ram U-boats, the safety of neutral
ships in those waters could no longer be taken for granted.
On 1st January, 1940, the German U-boat Command, acting on
the instructions of Hitler, ordered U-boats to attack all
Greek merchant ships in the zone surrounding the British
Isles which was banned by the United States to its own ships
and also merchant ships of every nationality in the limited
area of the Bristol Channel. Five days later a further order
was given to U-boats to "make immediately unrestricted use
of weapons against all ships" in an area of the North Sea,
the limits of which were defined. Finally on 18th January,
1940, U-boats were authorised to sink, without warning, all
ships "in those waters near the enemy coasts in which the
use of mines can be pretended". Exceptions were to be made
in the cases of United States, Italian, Japanese, and Soviet

Shortly after the outbreak of war the British Admiralty, in
accordance with its Handbook of Instructions of 1938 to the
Merchant Navy, armed its merchant vessels, in many cases
convoyed them with armed escort, gave

                                                  [Page 109]
orders to send position reports upon sighting submarines,
thus integrating merchant vessels into the warning network
of naval intelligence. On 1st October, 1939, the British
Admiralty announced that British merchant ships had been
ordered to ram U-boats if possible.

In the actual circumstances of this case, the Tribunal is
not prepared to hold Doenitz guilty for his conduct of
submarine warfare against British armed merchant ships.

However, the proclamation of operational zones and the
sinking of neutral merchant vessels which enter those zones
presents a different question. This practice was employed in
the war of 1914 to 1918 by Germany and adopted in
retaliation by Great Britain. The Washington Conference of
1922, the London Naval Agreement of 1930, and the Protocol
of 1936 were entered into with full knowledge that such
zones had been employed in the first World War. Yet the
Protocol made no exception for operational zones. The order
of Doenitz to sink neutral ships without warning when found
within these zones was therefore, in the opinion of the
Tribunal, a violation of the Protocol.

It is also asserted that the German U-boat arm not only did
not carry out the warning and rescue provisions of the
Protocol but that Doenitz deliberately ordered the killing
of survivors of shipwrecked vessels, whether enemy or
neutral. The Prosecution has introduced much evidence
surrounding two orders of Doenitz, War Order Number 154,
issued in 1939, and the so-called "Laconia" Order of 1942.
The Defense argues that these orders and the evidence
supporting them do not show such a policy and introduced
much evidence to the contrary. The Tribunal is of the
opinion that the evidence does not establish with the
certainty required that Doenitz deliberately ordered the
killing of shipwrecked survivors. The orders were
undoubtedly ambiguous, and deserve the strongest censure.

The evidence further shows that the rescue provisions were
not carried out and that the Defendant ordered that they
should not be carried out. The argument of the Defense is
that the security of the submarine is, as the first rule of
the sea, paramount to rescue, and that the development of
aircraft made rescue impossible. This may be so, but the
Protocol is explicit. If the commander cannot rescue, then
under its terms he cannot sink a merchant vessel and should
allow it to pass harmless before his periscope. These
orders, then, prove Doenitz is guilty of a violation of the

In view of all of the facts proved and in particular of an
order of the British Admiralty announced on 8th May, 1940,
according to which all vessels should be sunk at night in
the Skagerrak, and the answers to interrogatories by Admiral
Nimitz stating that unrestricted submarine warfare was
carried on in the Pacific Ocean by the United States from
the first day that Nation entered the war, the sentence of
Doenitz is not assessed on the ground of his breaches of the
international law of submarine warfare.

Doenitz was also charged with responsibility for Hitler's
Commando Order of 18th October, 1942. Doenitz admitted he
received and knew of the order when he was Flag Officer of U-
boats, but disclaimed responsibility. He points out that the
order by its express terms excluded men captured in naval
warfare, that the Navy had no territorial commands on land,
and that submarine commanders would never encounter

In one instance, when he was Commander-in-Chief of the Navy,
in 1943, the members of the crew of an Allied motor torpedo
boat were captured by German Naval Forces. They were
interrogated for intelligence purposes on behalf of the
local Admiral, and then turned over by his order to the SD
and shot. Doenitz said that if they were captured by the
Navy their execution was a violation of the Commando Order,
that the execution was not announced in

                                                  [Page 110]
the Wehrmacht communique, and that he was never informed of
the incident. He pointed out that the Admiral in question
was not in his chain of command, but was subordinate to the
Army general in command of the Norway occupation. But
Doenitz permitted the order to remain in full force when he
became Commander-in-Chief, and to that extent he is

Doenitz, in a conference of 11th December, 1944, said
"12,000 concentration camp prisoners will be employed in the
shipyards as additional labor". At this time Doenitz had no
jurisdiction over shipyard construction, and claims that
this was merely a suggestion at the meeting that the
responsible officials do something about the production of
ships, that he took no steps to get these workers since it
was not a matter for his jurisdiction and that he does not
know whether they ever were procured. He admits he knew of
concentration camps. A man in his position must necessarily
have known that citizens of occupied countries in large
numbers were confined in the concentration camps.

In 1945 Hitler requested the opinion of Jodl and Doenitz
whether the Geneva Convention should be denounced. The notes
of the meeting between the two military leaders on 20th
February, 1945, show that Doenitz expressed his view that
the disadvantages of such an action outweighed the
advantages. The summary of Doenitz' attitude shown in the
notes taken by an officer, included the following sentence:
"It would be better to carry out the measures considered
necessary without warning, and at all costs to save face
with the outer world."

The Prosecution insisted that "the measures" referred to
meant the Convention should not be denounced, but should be
broken at will. The Defense explanation is that Hitler
wanted to break the Convention for two reasons: to take away
from German troops the protection of the Convention, thus
preventing them from continuing to surrender in large groups
to the British and Americans, and also :to permit reprisals
against Allied prisoners of war because of Allied bombing
raids. Doenitz claims that what he meant by "measures" were
disciplinary measures against German troops to prevent them
from surrendering, and that his words had no reference to
measures against the Allies; moreover that this was merely a
suggestion, and that in any event no such measures were ever
taken, either against Allies or Germans. The Tribunal,
however, does not believe this explanation. The Geneva
Convention was not, however, denounced by Germany. The
Defense has introduced several affidavits to prove that
British naval prisoners of war in camps under Doenitz'
jurisdiction were treated strictly according to the Con and
the Tribunal takes this fact into consideration, regarding
it as a mitigating circumstance.

Conclusion: The Tribunal finds Doenitz is not guilty on
Count One of the Indictment, and is guilty on Counts Two and

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