Unconditional Surrender

Publié le par Walter Ludde-Neurath

Unconditional-Surrender.jpgEspecially dramatic was the meeting on the night of 30 April when Döonitz asked Himmler to come to his HQ, where he wanted to reveal his own appointment as Hitler's successor. Uncertain as to how this announcement would be received, and warned by Gauleiter Wegener, who was better informed on the political infighting, the Grossadmiral took special precautions. He reinforced the barracks guard with reliable U-boat men, and it was everything I could do to convince these enterprising submariners, sworn to loyalty to Dönitz, to exercise restraint and keep themselves as inconspicuous as possible so as not to create from the outset an atmosphere redolent with suspicion. Then I received the Reichsführer, invited his escort into the mess, and accompanied him myself to meet the new head of state. The meeting was held in private and was recorded in a memorandum by Dönitz later in these terms:

I spoke with Himmler in my room alone. I thought it was better to place my Browning within reach on my desk underneath a sheaf of papers. I handed him the telegram to read. He went pale. He thought about it. Then he rose and congratulated me. He said, 'Let me be second man in the state'. I declined. … He left between 0200 and 0300 hrs knowing that I would not use him in a senior position. On the other hand I could not cut him loose completely because he controlled the police. Mind you, I knew nothing at that time of the concentration camp atrocities and murder of the Jews.

Unconditional Surrender is a remarkable memoir. Serving as the adjutant to Grossadmiral Karl Dönitz for the last year of the war, Walter Lüdde-Neurath was at the side of the man who was surprisingly chosen by Adolf Hitler to succeed him as head of state as the war was reaching its terrible climax. The author was therefore a key witness to the collapse of the Nazi military machine and the start of a new "unpolitical" government that tried to manage the precarious transition from war to peace.

When he was in Nuremburg prison, Lüdde-Neurath wanted to write his memoir while it was still fresh in his mind and smuggled out papers in the plaster cast of an "unlucky comrade." His account is a fascinating piece of military history and an important discussion of the legality of the Dönitz Administration and the Allies' terms of surrender.

Author : Walter Ludde-Neurath
 ISBN-13: 9781591148944
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Publication date: 01/10/2010

Publié dans Bibliothèque

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