Karl Dönitz

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World War II
Battle of the Atlantic

Karl Dönitz (German pronunciation: [ˈdøːnɪts]  ( listen); 16 September 1891 – 24 December 1980) was a German naval commander during World War II. He started his career in the German Navy (Kriegsmarine, literally "War Navy") during World War I, serving aboard U-39. In 1918, while in command of UB-68, the submarine was sunk by British forces and Dönitz was taken prisoner. While in a prisoner of war camp, he formulated what he later called Rudeltaktik[2] ("pack tactic", commonly called "wolfpack"). At the start of World War II, he was the senior submarine officer in the German Navy. In January 1943, Dönitz achieved the rank of Großadmiral (Grand Admiral) and replaced Grand Admiral Erich Raeder as Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy (Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine). On 30 April 1945, after the death of Adolf Hitler and in accordance with Hitler's last will and testament, Dönitz was named Hitler's successor as Staatsoberhaupt (Head of State), with the title of Reichspräsident (President) and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. He was the fourth and last President of the Third Reich.


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