The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Karl Doenitz

(Part 2 of 13)

[Page 816]


Doenitz's attitude to the Nazi Party and its creed is shown by his public utterances. In a speech -- subsequently circulated by Doenitz as a Top Secret document for senior officers only and by the hand of officers only at a meeting of commanders of the Navy in Weimar on 17 December 1943, Doenitz stated (D-443):

" I am a firm adherent of the idea of ideological education. For what is it in the main? Doing his duty is a matter of course for the soldier. But the whole importance, the whole weight of duty done, are only present when the heart and spiritual conviction have a voice in the matter. The result of duty done is then quite different to what it would be if I only carried out my task literally, obediently, and faithfully. It is therefore necessary for the soldier to support the execution of his duty with all his mental, all his spiritual energy, and for this his conviction, his ideology are indispensable. It is therefore necessary for us to train the soldier uniformly, comprehensively, that he may be adjusted ideologically to our Germany. Every dualism, every dissension in this connection, or every divergence, or unpreparedness, imply a weakness in all circumstances. He in whom this grows and thrives in unison is superior to the other. Then indeed the whole importance, the whole weight of his conviction

[Page 817]

comes into play. It is also nonsense to say that the soldier or the officer must have no politics. The soldier embodies the state in which he lives; he is the representative, the articulate exponent of this state. He must therefore stand with his whole weight behind this state.

"We must travel this road from our deepest conviction. The Russian travels along it. We can only maintain ourselves in this war if we take part in it with holy zeal, with all our fanaticism.

"Not I alone can do this, but it can only be done with the aid of the man who holds the production of Europe in his hand, with Minister Speer. My ambition is to have as many warships for the Navy as possible so as to be able to fight and to strike. It does not matter to me who builds them." (D-443)

In a speech on the same subject by Doenitz as Commander-in- Chief of the Navy to the Commanders in Chief on 15 February 1944, he had this to say:

"From the very start the whole of the officer corps must be so indoctrinated that it feels itself co- responsible for the National Socialist State in its entirety. The officer is the exponent of the state; the idle chatter that the officer is nonpolitical is sheer nonsense." (D-640)

Doenitz's position was made unmistakably clear in a speech which he made to the German Navy and the German people on Heroes' Day,

"German men and women!

" What would have become of our country today, if the Fuehrer had not united us under National-Socialism ! Split into parties, beset with the spreading poison of Jewry and vulnerable to it, and lacking, as a defense, our present uncompromising world outlook, we would long since have succumbed to the burdens of this war and been subject to the merciless destruction of our adversaries. ***" (2878-PS)

A speech by Doenitz to the Navy on 21 July 1944 shows his fanaticism:

"Men of the Navy ! Holy wrath and unlimited anger fill our hearts because of the criminal attempt which was intended to have cost the life of our beloved Fuehrer. Providence wished it otherwise -- watched over and protected our Fuehrer, and did not abandon our German fatherland in the fight for its destiny." (2878-PS)

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And then he goes on to deal with the fate which should be meted out to the traitors.

The abolition of the German military salute and the adoption of the Nazi salute in the German forces was due to Doenitz along with Goering and Keitel (2878-PS).

When Adolf Hitler was reported dead, Doenitz spoke over the German radio announcing the Fuehrer's death and his own succession. The German announcer made this statement:

"It has been reported from the Fuehrer's Headquarters that our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler has died this afternoon in his battle headquarters at the Reichschancellery fighting to the last breath for Germany against Bolshevism.

"On the 30th April the Fuehrer nominated Grand Admiral Doenitz to be his successor. The Grand Admiral and Fuehrer's successor will speak to the German nation." (D-444)

Whereupon Doenitz spoke as follows:

"German men and women, soldiers of the German Armed Forces. Our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler is dead. The German people bow in deepest sorrow and respect. Early he had recognized the terrible danger of Bolshevism and had dedicated his life to the fight against it. His fight having ended, he died a hero's death in the capital of the German Reich, after having led an unmistakably straight and steady life." (D-444)

Doenitz proceeded to issue an order of the day, to the same effect (D-444).

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