Anti-Nazi sentiment within the Kriegsmarine?

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Kriegsmarine except those dealing with the U-Boat forces.
Sawpatin
Member
Posts: 64
Joined: 11 Jul 2019 19:03
Location: ..

Anti-Nazi sentiment within the Kriegsmarine?

Post by Sawpatin » 21 Nov 2019 16:15

My interest was raised after reading a passage from the book "German Seaman 1939-45" by Gordon Williamson (Osprey, 2001).

Page 52-53 described the Kriegsmarine as the "least political" of the German military branches, and even says that membership of any political party (including the Nazi party) was prohibited to serving personnel. The book acknowledges that there were plenty of Nazi believers within the Kriegsmarine, but contends that the navy had generally less interest in enforcing Nazi doctrines among its personnel, and preferred to run along its own code of ethics. Examples the book gives include ship crews failing to follow the 'nazi salute' regulations except on public occasions, and uboat crews clashing with political officials (no details are given of these "clashes").

I was just curious to learn a bit more detail about how much evidence there is for Kriegsmarine personnel resisting Nazi doctrines/regulations, and whether anti-Nazi sentiment was any more notable in the Kriegsmarine than in other branches of the Wehrmacht?

VON THERMANN
Member
Posts: 191
Joined: 27 Oct 2004 20:41
Location: ARGENTINA

Re: Anti-Nazi sentiment within the Kriegsmarine?

Post by VON THERMANN » 13 Dec 2019 21:33

Kapitan zur see , Hans Langsdorff, the best example

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 6745
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Anti-Nazi sentiment within the Kriegsmarine?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Dec 2019 13:08

Hi sawpatin,

You raise an interesting point. The Imperial German High Seas Fleet had mutinied at the end of WWI, so presumably the Nazis were aware of the risk. Yet at the end of WWII it was the head of the Kriegsmarine who was made Hitler's main successor.

The most politically loyal parts of the Wehrmacht seem to have been those organizations created under Nazi rule, notably the Luftwaffe. The Army, whose origins were pre-Nazi, had to be given National Socialist Guidance Officers from late 1943 in order to brace its political conformity.

The Navy also predated the Nazi arrival in power and always had a professional sailor, rather than a politician like Goering, in charge. It was also little involved in the more repulsive underside of Nazi activities, which the Army could not entirely avoid. Furthermore, its area of operations was not crowded with the elderly, women or children and so was not much exposed to "collateral damage". It was also continuously active, unlike in WWI.

Given the pervasiveness of the Hitler Youth, most young German sailors probably joined up already fairly indoctrinated for political conformity. If I remember correctly, the film "U-boat" has a Nazi on board, but he tends to be shunned by the rest of the crew. How typical that was, I do not know. (It is also presumably remarkably difficult to keep giving a straight armed salutes in the confined space on a U-boat!)

Cheers,

Sid.

Sawpatin
Member
Posts: 64
Joined: 11 Jul 2019 19:03
Location: ..

Re: Anti-Nazi sentiment within the Kriegsmarine?

Post by Sawpatin » 14 Dec 2019 15:06

VON THERMANN wrote:
13 Dec 2019 21:33
Kapitan zur see , Hans Langsdorff, the best example
Could you elaborate a bit? I'm not familiar with him, and the overviews I found online deal mostly with his command of the Admiral Graf Spee . There's mention of the fact that he was generally humane toward his prisoners, but no obvious expressions of anti-Nazi sentiment that I saw, and his suicide note apparently mentioned his "firm faith in the cause and the future of the nation and of [the] Führer."
Sid Guttridge wrote:
14 Dec 2019 13:08
-snip-
Some good points Sid, thanks for your reply.

User avatar
von thoma
Member
Posts: 4435
Joined: 10 Jul 2010 03:40
Location: Spain

Re: Anti-Nazi sentiment within the Kriegsmarine?

Post by von thoma » 27 Dec 2019 17:22

I was just curious to learn a bit more detail about how much evidence there is for Kriegsmarine personnel resisting Nazi doctrines/regulations, and whether anti-Nazi sentiment was any more notable in the Kriegsmarine than in other branches of the Wehrmacht?
There are always exceptions to the rule ; Günther Prien and Joachim Schepke, both had sympathies with Nazism
" The right to believe is the right of those who don't know "

Return to “Kriegsmarine surface ships and Kriegsmarine in general”