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   Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume Two, Chapter XIV


Raeder was not just a military puppet carrying out political
orders. Before the Nazis came to power he had worked
actively rebuild the German Navy behind the back of the
Reichstag. When the Nazis seized power, he unreservedly
joined forces with them. He was the prime mover in
transferring the loyalty of

                                                  [Page 868]
the German Navy to the Nazi Party. He himself was as much a
member of the inner councils of the Nazis as any other
defendant. He accepted membership in their main political
advisory bodies.

He was well aware of the designs of the Nazis and assisted
in their realization not only as a military technician, but
also as a mendacious politician. And he furthered brutal
methods of warfare. And yet of all the conspirators Raeder
was one of the first to fall from his high position. It is
true that the extension of the war beyond the boundaries of
Poland came as a disappointment to him. His vision of a Nazi
Armada mastering the Atlantic reckoned without Ribbentrop's
diplomacy and Hitler's ideas of strategy.

In a memorandum dated 10 January  1943, just before his
retirement, entitled, "The Importance of German Surface
Forces for the War by powers signatory to the Three Power
Pact," Raeder stated:

     "It was planned by the leaders of the National
     Socialist Reich to give the German Navy by 1944/45 such
     a strength that it would be possible to strike at the
     British vital arteries in the Atlantic with sufficient
     ships, fighting power and range.
     "In 1939, the war having begun five years earlier, the
     construction of these forces was still in its initial
     stages." (C-161).
This memorandum shows how completely Raeder was cheated in
his ambitious plans by miscalculation as to when his high
seas fleet would be required. Raeder made a great effort to
recover some of his lost glory with his attack on Norway. He
made many efforts to liven up the war at sea, both at the
expense of neutrals and also of the customs and laws of the
sea. His further schemes, however, were disregarded by his
fellow conspirators, and in January 1943 he retired, and
thereafter was a leader in name only.

The record, in Raeder's handwriting, of his interview with
Hitler on 6 January 1943, which led to Raeder's retirement,
states in part:

     "If the Fuehrer was anxious to demonstrate that the
     parting was of the friendliest and wished that the name
     Raeder should continue to be associated with the Navy,
     particularly abroad, it would perhaps be possible to
     make an appointment to General Inspector, giving
     appropriate publicity in the press, etc. But a new C.
     in C. Navy with full responsibility for the office must
     be appointed. The position of General
                                                  [Page 869]
     Inspector, or whatever it was decided to call it, must
     be purely nominal.
     "Hitler accepted this suggestion with alacrity. The
     General Inspector could perhaps carry out special tasks
     for him, make tours of inspection, etc. The name of
     Raeder was still to be associated with the Navy. After
     C. in C. Navy had repeated his request, the Fuehrer
     definitely agreed to 30th January as his release date.
     He would like to think over the details." (D-655)

This was Raeder's twilight, different from the period of his
ascendancy in 1939, when on 12 March he spoke on the
occasion of the German Heroes' Day (D-653). In that speech,
during the celebration of "freedom to rearm," Raeder stated,
in the presence of Hitler and representatives of the Party
and Armed Forces:

     "*** National Socialism, which originates from the
     spirit of the German fighting soldier, has been chosen
     by the German people as its ideology. The German people
     follow the symbols of its regeneration with the same
     great love and fanatical passion. The German people has
     had practical experience of National Socialism and it
     has not been imposed, as so many outside critics
     believe. The Fuehrer has shown his people that in the
     National Socialist racial community lies the greatest
     and invincible sources of strength, whose dynamic power
     ensures not only peace at home, but also enables to
     make use of all the Nation's creative powers:" (D-653).

After eulogies of Hitler, Raeder continued as follows:

     "This is the reason for the clear and unsparing summons
     to fight Bolshevism and international Jewry, whose race-
     destroying activities we have sufficiently experienced
     on our own people. Therefore, the alliance with all
     similar-minded Nations who, like Germany, are not
     willing to allow their strength, dedicated to
     construction and peaceful work at home, to be disrupted
     by alien ideologies as by parasites of a foreign race.
     *** If later on we instruct in the technical handling
     of weapons, this task demands that the young soldier
     should also be taught National Socialist ideology and
     the problems of life. This part of the task, which
     becomes for us both a duty of honor and a demand which
     cannot be refused, can and will be carried out if we
     stand shoulder to shoulder and in sincere comradeship
     to the Party and its organization. The armed forces and
                                                  [Page 870]
     Party thus became more and more united in attitude and
     "Germany is the protector of all Germans within and
     beyond our frontiers. The shots fired at Almeria are
     proof of that." (D-653)

(The reference is to the bombardment of the Spanish town of
Almeria, carried out by a German naval squadron on 31 May
1937 during the course of the Spanish Civil War.) After
further panegyrics on the Fuehrer and his leadership, Raeder
hinted of what was to come:

     "They all planted into a younger generation the great
     tradition of death for a holy cause, knowing that their
     blood will lead the way towards the freedom of their
     dreams." (D-65)

That speech of Raeder's illustrates his deep personal
involvement in the Nazi conspiracy. There is the mixture of
heroics and fatalism that led millions of Germans to
slaughter. There are boasts of the violence used on the
people of Almeria. There is the lip service to peace by a
man who planned conquest. "Armed forces and party have
become more and more united in attitude and spirit" -- there
is the authentic Nazi voice. There is the assertion of
racialism. Finally, there is the anti-Semitic gesture,
Raeder's contribution to the outlook that produced Belsen.
Imbued with these ideas, he became an active participant on
both the political and military level in the Nazi conspiracy
to wage wars of aggression and to wage them ruthlessly.

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