Hitler and His Admirals

Hitler and His Admirals

Hitler and His Admirals

Hitler and His Admirals

Excerpt

During the final stages of the Second World War, enemy State documents were captured on a scale which was unique in history. Beginning with a more or less accidental haul of papers in Paris, specially organized Intelligence units tracked down one German hiding-place after another, until, with few exceptions, they had recovered most of the German archives.

The largest and most important haul of documents was made at Schloss Tambach, near Coburg, where some 60,000 files of the German naval archives, together with the historians guarding them, were captured. These documents contained practically all the signals, ships' logs, diaries, memoranda, etc., relating to the German Navy from 1868 until the date of their capture--April 1945. When they came to be examined, four sets of papers stood out in importance: the minutes of Hitler's conferences with the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy; the War Diaries of the Naval Staff; operational orders covering every major activity, military and political, in which the Navy had been concerned; and the personal files of Raeder who had been Commander-in-Chief from 1928 until January 1943.

These four sets of papers made it possible to reconstruct an accurate and detailed account of the higher direction of the German Navy. Together with the numerous other political and military papers which were unearthed, they also made possible a comprehensive history of Nazi Germany at war.

The first attempt to piece together this history was made at the Nuremberg Trials at the end of 1945. In criminal trials, however, the specific act is more important than the general background into which that act fits; so, at Nuremberg, the evidence revealed a series of individual crimes rather than a connected history of Nazi activities. Such reconstruction as there was of background events, was necessarily sketchy.

The second attempt--the second, that is, based on original . . .

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