German Grossadmiral’s of WW2


The Kriegsmarine



Dr. Erich Raeder


Promotion Date: April 1, 1939


Erich Raeder became the first Grand Admiral of WW2 when Hitler promoted him in recognition of his efforts to build up the new German Navy. Raeder experienced early success with his planned invasions of Denmark and Norway to secure strategically vital ports.  However, Raeder’s frequent disagreements with Hitler over Naval strategy, combined with a failed attempt at stopping a vital Allied convoy led to his resignation as Grand Admiral in December of 1942 and his replacement by Karl Donitz.



Karl Donitz


Promotion Date: January 30, 1943


Grand Admiral Karl Donitz will always hold a  notorious place in history as the last President of the Third Reich, having been appointed Hitler’s successor.  A successful U-Boat commander in the first war, Donitz was to become the main force behind the build-up of the submarine service in WW2 and father of the “Wolf Pack” strategy of sub convoy attack that sent many tons of allied ships to the bottom of the sea.  Donitz survived war crimes allegations against him and lived in retirement in Germany where he wrote two books about his experiences.  Donitz passed away in January of 1980.