Karl Donitz, TLS 1974

HEADLINE: Karl Donitz TLS, Hitler's successor as the head of state of Germany "… the days of capitulation in 1945 and after"

HEADLINE: Karl Donitz TLS, Hitler's successor as the head of state of Germany "… the days of capitulation in 1945 and after"

 

Single page Typed letter signed; inclusive of a penned autographed note along bottom margin. Entirely in German on personal letterhead of "Donitz, 2055 Amuhle", 8.25' x 11.75", Dated "6.4.1974". Signed by Karl Donitz as "Donitz". Also present with the letter is its original transmittal envelope, neatly opened along top edge, as well as Greene's manuscript translation of Donitz's letter and his retained copy of his letter to Donitz of March 26, 1974. TLS in Fine condition with center fold. Accompanied by the English translation

 

 

KARL DONITZ (1891 - 1980) German admiral who headed the U-Boat arm of the German Navy, later succeeded Hitler as Fuehrer after Hitler's suicide. Typed letter to William Greene, continuing their correspondence after a hiatus of several months, in part: "...You ask whether I had held the Pilot Observer's Badge in Gold with Diamonds? What order is that? A decoration for fliers? I have only held the decorations which were included in the list I sent you on the sheet of my personal history on 29.9.73. Other decorations, orders and distinctions I have not received from any source..." Here Donitz adds an emendation in blue ink: "One exception", with an asterisk. A blue ink footnote at the bottom of the page reads: "I was given a sum of money in 1933 from Reichsprasidenten von Hindenburg for travel abroad to Indonesia as a recognition of my job performance at home." Donitz continues in the body of the letter: ".

 

..I possess no documents, decorations, uniforms and the like and haven't since the time of May 1945. All these things I lost in the days of capitulation in 1945 and after. I can, therefore, send you nothing of this kind. That is all that I can send. Also it is very little for you. Do you believe that you can still write a biography about me under such unfavorable circumstances?" He signs boldly at the conclusion in blue ink.

 

Interestingly, although Donitz denies ever receiving the Luftwaffe Pilot Observer's Badge in Gold with Diamonds, there exists a photograph, a copy of which is included with this lot, showing Donitz and Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goring in conversation, with just such a badge clearly visible on the former's uniform. Goring was known to personally present Reich luminaries and Axis leaders with this badge, which may explain why it does not appear on Donitz's official records. Moreover, Donitz's personal dislike of Goring (whom he referred to privately as "the fat one" and "the gravedigger of the Reich") likely explains why he doesn't feel the need to mention the decoration to Greene in their correspondence. Also present with the letter is its original transmittal envelope, as well as Greene's manuscript translation of Donitz's letter and his retained copy of his letter to Donitz of March 26, 1974, in which Greene requests copies of two of Donitz's books, and poses questions about the above-mentioned Luftwaffe badge and other decorations.

 

In January 1943, Dönitz replaced Admiral Erich Raeder as commander-in-chief of the German navy, where his loyalty and ability won him Hitler's trust. On 20 April 1945, facing the collapse of the Nazi regime, Hitler appointed him Dönitz of the northern military and civil command. Finally, Hitler named Dönitz as his successor as president of the Reich, minister of war and supreme commander of the armed forces. After Hitler's suicide on 30 April, Dönitz opened negotiations for surrender. He wanted to save as many German civilians and retreating soldiers from the Soviets as possible, correctly believing that the Soviets would prove much less forgiving conquerors than the Western Allies. He hoped that a separate surrender to the British and Americans might allow the Reich to rescue something from the Soviets in the east. The Western Allies, however, fearful of provoking Stalin's paranoia, demanded that Germany surrender to all the Allies simultaneously.



Item: 62967

Price: $500.00
Qty
Karl Donitz, TLS 1974
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