The Avalon Project at Yale Law School

Nazi Conspriracy and Aggression Volume 7 Document No.D-444


ASSUMPTION OF POWER BY DOENITZ, MAY 1, 1945

German men and women, soldiers of the German armed forces. Our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler is dead. The German people bow in deepest sorrow and respect. Early he had recognized the terrible danger of Bolshevism and had dedicated his life to the fight against it. His fight having ended, he died a hero's death in the capital of the German Reich, after having led a straight and steady life.

His life was dedicated to the service of Germany. His devotion in the fight against the Bolshevist flood was in the interest not only of Europe but of the entire civilized world. The Fuehrer has nominated me as his successor. Fully conscious of the responsibility, I am taking over the leadership of the German nation in this fateful hour, my first task is to save German men from being destroyed by the advancing Bolshevist enemy. For this reason only do the Armies continue fighting. As far and as long as the achievement of this task is being prevented by the British and Americans, we have to defend ourselves against them too and must go on fighting. Thus the Anglo-Americans are no longer carrying on the fight for their own peoples but only for the spreading of Bolshevism in Europe. What the German people have achieved in this war through fighting and [the] sufferings they have undergone at home are unique in history. In the coming emergency arising for our people I shall to the best of my ability make it my business to secure for our brave women, men, and children the most tolerable conditions essential to life.

In order to do this, I need your help. Give me your confidence, as your road is also my road. Uphold order and discipline in towns and country. Let everybody remain at his post doing his duty. Only thus will we be able to mitigate the suffering, which the future will bring for every one of us, and prevent the collapse. If we do all that is in our power, God will not forsake us after so much suffering and sacrifice.


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