Message from Erich Raeder to Adolf Hitler
July 11, 1940
Also Present: Chief of Staff, OKW.
Commander von Puttkamer.
- NORWAY. Reports were presented on Naval Activity in northern Norway and transport operations for the Army. Patrols in the area Narvik-Tromsoe. The Navy will provide support with the Hipper and the Nuernberg for the destroyers and minesweepers. The repairs to the Gneisenau are expected to be finished by July 25.
Question was asked by the Führer: Is it still necessary to revive shipments of ore from Narvik by sea for such a short period, in view of the increasing supplies of iron ore from Lorraine etc.?
The Chief of Staff O.K.W., will investigate.
- The Navy has begun to plan a Naval base at Trondheim. The Navy asked the Führer if the Navy can be put in charge of base installations.
The Führer replied that he wishes to make Trondheim a base with extensive defences against both land and sea attack There must be facilities for constructing the largest ships. A beautiful German City is to be built there separate from Trondheim. This city does not need to be connected to the Norwegian town. The Führer wants private firms to be commissioned to do the work on the shipyards there and a superhighway is to be built via Lubech, Felmarn Belt bridge, Zealand, Helsinger bridge, Sweden to Trondheim. The Führer will offer Sweden the running of the railway to Narvik, and in return he will demand the extra-territorial use of Swedish soil. The Chief of Staff will select people for the planning of these matters.
- Answering the Führer’s demand for more intensive submarine warfare the C in C Navy replied that repair facilities in the bases at Lorient and Brest were being improved and asked that more defences be made at Baltic bases. The Führer said that this last matter would be considered in his new plans for re-armament.
- The Führer requested that his idea of using the crews of the German raiders at sea to be used to affect the occupation of new Colonies be discussed by the Navy and a report on the matter be sent to him.
- The advantages and disadvantages of operating a siege against Britain were discussed. The Führer intends to make a declaration soon. He asked if his idea of making a speech to the Reichstag seemed a good idea. C in C Navy replied that it would be an excellent move as it would make Britain fully aware that they would have no imports and soon no food supplies. Their main centres of population would be destroyed. At the moment Britain is making big news of the little pin pricks it is making against the Reich, so heavy attacks on London and Liverpool would bring Britain to the negotiation table. The heavy mining of the Tames river would paralyze the distribution of food in the Country.
- As to an invasion of Britain the C in C Navy considers an invasion a matter of last resort should Britain not sue for peace. At this time, he added the navy could not guarantee an invasion force would succeed. Air superiority must be achieved, and the removal of defensive mine fields be carried out. However, the Navy was carrying out trials of landing craft and co-operation with Army Engineers was in full operation. The Führer replied that his thoughts were that an invasion be a last resort, he was sure that the Luftwaffe would be in control soon and that he had an idea about heavy artillery being targeted at Britain across the Channel.
- The Führer asked if the Navy wanted the Vichy French Navy to act with the German Naval Forces. C in C Navy replied that perhaps in the Mediterranean but only if the Italians agreed to it.
- The Führer said he was thinking to acquire one of the Canary Islands from Spain in return for the Spanish being given French Morocco. The Navy could then build a large base there. The Führer was in agreement that more heavy ships needed to be built and that he considered cruisers transformed with flight decks necessary for the war against merchant shipping, he also insisted that any plans for new ships must include making them bomb proof and splinter proof if that was considered un workable. The Aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin, under construction must be speeded up and be ready for trials soon. Further the Führer agreed that U-boat construction was to be expanded even after the war with Britain was finished.
[Signed] Admiral Erich Raeder ww2dbase
Added By: Hugh Martyr
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Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937