Erich Raeder

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World War I

Erich Johann Albert Raeder (24 April 1876-6 November 1960) was a naval leader in Germany before and during World War II. Raeder attained the highest possible naval rank—that of Großadmiral (Grand Admiral) — in 1939, becoming the first person to hold that rank since Alfred von Tirpitz. Raeder led the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) for the first half of the war, but resigned in 1943 and was replaced by Karl Dönitz. He was sentenced to life in prison at the Nuremberg Trials, but was later released.



Early years

Raeder was born into a middle-class family in Wandsbek in the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein in the German Empire. His father was a headmaster. He joined the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) in 1894 and rapidly rose in rank, becoming Chief of Staff for Franz von Hipper in 1912. He served in this position during World War I as well as in combat posts, taking part in the Battle of Dogger Bank in 1915 and the Battle of Jutland in 1916. After the war Raeder continued to rise steadily in the navy hierarchy, becoming a Konteradmiral (Rear Admiral) in 1922 and a Vizeadmiral (Vice Admiral) in 1925. In October 1928 Raeder was promoted to Admiral and made Commander-in-Chief of the Reichsmarine, the Weimar Republic Navy (Oberbefehlshaber der Reichsmarine).

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