Doenitz, Karl(dön`ĭts), 1891–1980, German admiral. He secretly planned a German submarine fleet in the years following the Treaty of Versailles, was given command of submarine operations by Adolf Hitler in 1935, and replaced Admiral Raeder in 1943 as chief naval commander. On the announcement (May 1, 1945) that Hitler was dead and had designated Doenitz his successor, the admiral formed a new cabinet and ordered the unconditional surrender (effective May 7) of Germany to the Allies. His government, at Kiel, was dissolved by the Allies. Doenitz was imprisoned (1946–56) for war crimes. His memoirs appeared in 1958 (tr. 1959).
See biography by P. Padfield (1984).
Born Sept. 16, 1891, in Griinau, near Berlin. Military naval leader of fascist Germany. Grand admiral (1943).
From 1936 to 1943, Doenitz was commander of the submarine fleet, and beginning on Jan. 30, 1943, he was commander in chief of the entire navy. On May 1, 1945, in accordance with the will and testament of A. Hitler, he replaced the latter as reichschancellor and supreme commander in chief. From May 2 to May 5, Doenitz formed a new “imperial government” in Murwick-Flensburg, and by means of a partial surrender to the Western powers he attempted to preserve the remnants of the army, which was retreating from the Eastern Front. On May 23 he was arrested by the British authorities and in October 1946 was sentenced by the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg to ten years in prison as a war criminal. In 1956, Doenitz was freed; he engaged in profascist activity in the Federal Republic of Germany.