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Seekriegsleitung

Minutes of the Conferences of the Commander in Chief, Navy, with the Führer on 20 to 21 July 1944.

Present: Konteradmiral Wagner, on special duty
Korvettenkapitän Hansen-Nootbaar, Aide.

Note: The Commander in Chief, Navy, had originally intended to spend 20 and 21 July at Führer Headquarters. When the Admiral at Führer Headquarters [Konteradmiral Voss] called that the Duce was expected there on 20 July, the Commander in Chief, Navy, decided to postpone his visit until 21 July and to confine it to this one day. On 20 July, about 1315, an urgent call from the Admiral at Führer Headquarters told the Commander in Chief, Navy, to come to Führer Headquarters at once. No reason was given. Consequently the Commander in Chief, Navy, departed on 20 July about 1450.

20 JULY 1944.

About 1645. The Commander in Chief, Navy, was met at the airport in Rastenburg by Fregattenkapitän Meyer who was the first to inform him of the attempt on Hitler's life.

1730. After his arrival at Führer Headquarters, the Commander in Chief, Navy, was ordered to the Führer who was in conference with the Duce.

2000. Release of a proclamation addressed to the Navy by the Commander in Chief, Navy.

    "Men of the Navy:
    The treacherous attempt to assassinate the Führer fills each and every one of us with holy wrath and bitter rage towards our criminal enemies and their hirelings.
    Divine Providence spared the German people and its Armed Forces this inconceivable misfortune. In the miraculous escape of our Führer we see additional proof of the righteousness of our cause.
    Let us now more than ever rally around our Führer and fight with all our strength until victory is ours.
    Großadmiral Dönitz"
2050. The Commander in Chief, Navy, instructs the Chief of the Seekriegsleitung [Admiral Meisel] by telephone to issue an order to all Naval commands at once containing the following points:
    "a. There has been a military conspiracy by a clique of generals (Fromm, Höpner).

    b. Reichsführer SS has been made Commander of the Replacement Army.

    c. The Navy is ordered to be in a state of readiness.

    d. Orders issued by Army commands are not to be executed. Only orders of the Commander in Chief, Navy, or of other ranking Naval officers are to be honored.

    e. Demands of the Reichführer SS must he complied with by the Navy. Long live the Führer.

    Commander in Chief, Navy"
2140. The Admiral on Special Assignment [Konteradmiral Wagner] called the Chief of the Seekriegsleitung [Admiral Meisel] concerning the arrest of Assistant Judge Advocate General, Count Stauffenberg, brother of the would-be assassin of the Führer.

2200. The Commander in Chief, Navy, is present at the evening conference on the war situation with the Führer. Nothing of special interest to the Navy was discussed.

2330. Radio broadcast of the Führer's speech to the German people and of the address by the Commander in Chief, Navy.


21 JULY 1944.

1300. Conference on the situation with the Führer. The Commander in Chief, Navy, reports to the Führer on the results of submarine operations against the enemy invasion forces. Of 12 boats which were sent out, 6 were lost. The 6 boats which returned succeeded in sinking 11 destroyers and 12 transports. In addition it may be assumed that the 6 submarines which were lost also did some damage. Although these losses are severe, nevertheless the submarine operations are worthwhile.

Further conferences of the Commander in Chief, Navy:

a. Conference with Field Marshal Keitel concerning the trucks for the Admiral, Small Battle Units [Admiral der Kleinkampfverbände]. The Chief of the OKW promises to make the requested number available. He also gave the necessary orders in regard to the radio trucks, which, however, are still causing some problems.

b. Conference with Generaloberst Jodl and General Warlimont for the purpose of discussing whether coastal batteries should be placed further inland for purposes of camouflage. Both are convinced that greater care than heretofore must be taken to camouflage the batteries on the seaward side. They agree, however, that the seaward effectiveness of the batteries must remain the prime consideration. Thereupon the Commander in Chief, Navy, orders that the Naval commands concerned should receive instructions supplementary to the directive from the OKW, to the effect that the ordered camouflage measures must not be permitted to affect to any appreciable extent the direct fire or the seaward range of the batteries.

1415. The Commander in Chief, Navy, instructs the Chief of the Seekriegsleitung by phone to rescind the state of readiness order.

Commander in Chief, Navy, appoints the Admiral on Special Assignment to substitute for the Admiral at Führer Headquarters. He is also to take over reporting to the Führer on the naval war situation.


22 JULY 1944.

1630. After visiting the wounded officers at the hospital at Rastenburg, the Commander in Chief, Navy, flies back to Berlin.

signed: Dönitz

countersigned: Kapitän zur See Pfeiffer


   


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