Flensburg government: Wikis

  
  

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Flensburger Regierung
Flensburg Government
Provisional government

1945
Flag National Insignia
Anthem
"Das Lied der Deutschen" (official)

First stanza of
"Das Lied der Deutschen"
followed by "Horst-Wessel-Lied"
Capital Flensburg
Language(s) German
Government Republic, Single-party state, Totalitarian autocratic national socialist dictatorship
President
 - 1945 Karl Dönitz
Leading Minister
 - 1945 Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk
Historical era WWII
 - Death of Adolf Hitler 30 April 1945
 - Established 1 May 1945
 - Cabinet Schwerin von Krosigk 2 May 1945
 - German Instrument of Surrender 7-8 May 1945
 - Disestablished 23 May-5 June 1945
Currency Reichsmark (RM)
History of Germany
Coat of arms featuring a large black eagle with wings spread and beak open. The eagle is black, with red talons and beak, and is over a gold background.
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The Flensburg Government (German: Flensburger Regierung) was the short-lived administration that attempted to rule Nazi Germany during most of May 1945 at the very end of World War II in Europe. The government was formed following the suicides of Nazi Führer Adolf Hitler and Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels during the Battle of Berlin. After his death on 30 April, Hitler's last will and testament designated as his successors Goebbels (Chancellor) and Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz (President). On 1 May, Goebbels committed suicide.

The administration was referred to as the "Flensburg government" because Flensburg, near the border with Denmark, was the location of the headquarters that Dönitz was using by this time.

Contents

Composition

Head of State

In his testament, Hitler designated Dönitz his successor. Dönitz was not to become Führer, but rather President (Reichspräsident), a post Hitler had abolished in 1934. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels was to become Chancellor of Germany (Reichskanzler). Hitler condemned both Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler as traitors and expelled them both from the Nazi Party. Göring was in Bavaria. Himmler was with Dönitz but was not informed of his being condemned by Hitler.

On 1 May, Dönitz learned that Hitler and Goebbels[citation needed] had committed suicide and that he had been nominated as President. He asked former finance minister Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk to replace Goebbels as Chancellor. Von Krosigk refused the job. Instead, the two agreed that Von Krosigk would be the 'Leading Minister'.

The cabinet of the "Flensburg government" had its first meeting in Mürwik, near (and now part of) Flensburg on 5 May. Himmler and Alfred Rosenberg were both dismissed from office on 6 May. Some accounts indicate this was done in an attempt to make the government more acceptable to the Allies. Other accounts indicate it was done because the two were interfering with the functioning of the new regime.

Dönitz knew almost as soon as he accepted the reins of power that Germany's position was untenable and that the Wehrmacht was no longer capable of offering resistance. During his brief period in office, he devoted most of his efforts to ensuring the loyalty of the German armed forces and trying to ensure German troops would surrender to the British or Americans and not the Soviets, since he feared they would face Soviet reprisals.

At the urging of Dönitz, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel and General Alfred Jodl attempted to direct what was left of the German Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) towards the armies invading from the west.[1]

On 6 May, Dönitz authorized Jodl to sign the unconditional surrender of the Armed Forces to the Allies in Rheims. On 7 May, Dönitz issued the authorization empowering von Friedeburg, Keitel and Stumpf to sign the ratification of the unconditional surrender in Berlin.[1].

Cabinet

Colonel General Alfred Jodl was Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) and represented Dönitz in negotiations with the Allies in Rheims, France. Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel represented Dönitz in negotiations with the Red Army in Berlin, Germany.

Dissolution

Three members of the Flensburg Government, General Alfred Jodl, Dr Albert Speer, and Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, after their arrest by the Allies.

Former armaments minister Albert Speer suggested that, after the surrender, the Flensburg government should dissolve itself. Instead Dönitz and his ministers chose to continue in hope of presiding over post-War Germany as a provisional government.

The speech by Winston Churchill announcing victory to the British people is evidence of a de facto recognition of the Flensburg Government's authority, at least up to the moment of the unconditional surrender, since Churchill specified that the surrender had been authorized by "Grand Admiral Dönitz the designated Head of the German State".[2] However, after the unconditional surrender, the Flensburg government was not recognised by the Allies.

On 20 May, the Soviet government made it clear what it thought about the Flensburg government. It attacked the Dönitz Administration, calling it the "Dönitz Gang" and harshly criticised any idea of allowing it to retain any power. Pravda said:

Discussions of the status of the Fascist gang around Dönitz continue. Several prominent Allied circles will deem it necessary to make use of the "services" of Dönitz and his collaborators. In the British Parliament, this gang has been described as the 'Dönitz Administration' . . . . A reporter of the reactionary Hearst press has called the enlistment of Dönitz "an act of political sagacity." Thus a Fascist scribbler has seen fit to make common cause with Hitler's marauding disciple. At the same time, the Fascist press on both sides of the Atlantic has put it abroad that conditions in Germany in 1918, when German Rightists produced similar fairy-tales of impending chaos. Then, the intact German Army units were used for new adventures in the East, immediately after capitulation. The present campaign has similar objectives. Many reactionary circles around the Allies are opposed to the creation of a new Europe on the basis of the Crimea Conference. These circles consider the preservation of Fascist states and breeding grounds a means of thwarting the democratic aspirations of all freedom-loving nations....[3]

On 23 May, a British liaison officer went to Dönitz's headquarters and asked to speak with all members of the government. He then read an order from General Dwight Eisenhower ordering the dissolution of Dönitz' government and the arrest of all its members.

The power vacuum that ensued from the arrest of the Flensburg Government and the dissolution of the Third Reich was terminated on June 5, 1945, when the representatives of the Allies signed the Declaration Regarding the Defeat of Germany and the Assumption of Supreme Authority by Allied Powers[4]. The said declaration contained the following statement:

The Governments of the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United Kingdom, and the Provisional Government of the French Republic, hereby assume supreme authority with respect to Germany, including all the powers possessed by the German Government, the High Command and any state, municipal, or local government or authority. The assumption, for the purposes stated above, of the said authority and powers does not affect the annexation of Germany.

Therefore, on June 5, 1945, Germany was officially placed under Military Government by the Allied Occupation Forces.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b The German Surrender Documents - WWII:
  2. ^ http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/speeches-of-winston-churchill/95-end-of-the-war-in-europe
  3. ^ Dollinger, Hans. The Decline and Fall of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, Library of Congress Catalogue Card # 67-27047, Page 239
  4. ^ http://avalon.law.yale.edu/wwii/ger01.asp







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