Lutjens in Austin...

Anything about the crew, families, origins, etc.
User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7520
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by RF » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:36 am

wadinga wrote: .....the overheated, highly charged political environment from which Karlsruhe and her Commander set off on their mission in late 1934.
wadinga
This I think is overstating matters. By late 1934 Hitler was Fuhrer and in control and the political environment was different from that prevailing a year or so before.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7520
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by RF » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:41 am

wadinga wrote: ....but after the little matter of the Reichtag fire, the NSDAP number of representatives went up. Not enough for an outright majority, but then you can lock up some of the opposition before the vote, and flood the substitute auditorium with goons to browbeat the remainder and then you can get four years of power with no more debate or opposition.
This clearly was not a genuinely free election was it? And even then the NSDAP didn't get an outright majority but was dependent on the support of Hugenberg's Nationalists to form a coalition government, and the Catholic Centre Party to get the Enabling Act through.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7520
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by RF » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:48 am

wadinga wrote:
Midshipman Erich Topp, aboard Karlsruhe was quite clear about the propaganda objective of the tour, quoted in the Canadian document " made us representatives and ambassadors of the new Germany"
wadinga
Are not Royal Navy crews on ships that visit overseas ports not ''ambassadors for Britain?'' Are not the crews of Bundesmarine ships visiting non-German ports not ''ambassadors for Germany?''

As ambassadors they are there to promote the cultural and economic interests of their country. That was the policy of the Reichsmarine, as it then was when Karlsruhe set sail. The RM was never under NSDAP control and neither was the KM whilst Raeder was its Grand Admiral.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7520
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by RF » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:56 am

wadinga wrote:
The German Consul Seelheim, quoted for his racist rants in the Durflinger Canadian paper certainly thought propaganda was the main objective and was forthright in promoting Nazi ideals to any locals who might be receptive. Just before the previous Karlsruhe visit to Boston, another Consul placed a wreath featuring a swastika on Harvard's World War I memorial causing outrage and demonstrations.
All the best
These consuls were part of the Reich Foreign Ministry, not part of or indeed anything to do with the Kreigsmarine, let alone the Reichsmarine that preceeded it.

The Reich Foreign Ministry was under Nazi control from the time Hitler became Fuhrer and Head of State.

The officers and crew of Karlsruhe would have had no control or influence over the actions of Nazi Germany's diplomatic representatives in the countries they visited. Neither would military discipline allow any incident or expression of disapproval of the diplomats actions on their part.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7520
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by RF » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:00 am

wadinga wrote:
The Nazi regime must have considered very carefully who would command the 1934 cruise.
That decision was made by Raeder and the staff officers under him. At that time Hitler excercised no control over the detailed operations of the Heer, let alone the Reichsmarine and never ever to the best of my knowledge decided the on the commanding officers of KM ships.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7520
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by RF » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:22 am

wadinga wrote:
I am still searching for any corroberation of Kennedy's statement on the Krystallnacht protest. It seems astonishing that the two most senior personnel in the Kriegsmarine would make such a high profile critiscism of the actions of the Party, and get away with it. Also was it only Lutjens who joined them, as he was a fair way down the pecking order at this stage or were there others? Hitler removed Generals like von Blomberg and von Fritsch and replaced them with Keitel and then Chief of Staff Ludwig Beck resigned, because they didn't approve of his actions (not specifically Krystallnacht) so senior men could be dispensed with.
There seems here to be a determined attempt hereto blacken the name of Gunther Lutjens, with no real justification for it, which is why I have made so many posts in answer to this insinuation.

KM officers would have latitude for criticism through their senior officer (Raeder) just as Donitz as the later KM chief attempted to have the Fuhrer's order for U-boat crews to kill survivors cancelled and saw to it on the most part that the order was not completely carried out. Even in the Heer some of Hitler's orders were serruptitously disobeyed, for example Guderian added a rider to the Commissar Order that it was only to be obeyed providing it was not prejudicial to military discipline, his Panzer crews took the hint and refrained from personally commiting war crimes.

You cannot compare Lutjens or even Raeder with Fritsch, Blomberg or Beck. These officers were key to control of the Heer, the principal armed force in Germany Hitler had to control. Control of the Navy was far, far less significant, indeed given its small size an almost irrelevance.
Control of the Heer was essential for Hitler to pursue his expansionist policies, and people like Himmler used that need to further their own personal empires, such as the SS. Blomberg was a Hindenburg cabinet appointment who up to 1938 went along with Hitler's policies. He was removed simply because he got in the way of Hitler being Commander in Chief of the Heer. Frisch was removed because of alleged irregular sexual activities on evidence spiced up by the SS.

Lutjens was of course free to resign his Flottenchef position at any time. He didn't and there could be a whole host of reasons for that, not all of them political. Instead he stuck to his duty.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
tommy303
Senior Member
Posts: 1527
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:19 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by tommy303 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:03 pm

There seems here to be a determined attempt hereto blacken the name of Gunther Lutjens, with no real justification for it, which is why I have made so many posts in answer to this insinuation
I suppose, to a degree, Luetjens is a fairly easy mark--he was not a personable man, silent, aloof, even forboding in visage. Not altogether humourless, he was nevertheless sparing in his use of humour. He was something of a disciplinarian and possibly autocratic, and unfortunately did not live long enough to justify his various actions. He never published commentaries and took few people into his confidence, so for the most part what we see is a snap shot of Luetjens, not an in depth portrait showing all the facets of the man. Yet there must have been something about him that his superiors saw for them to place such faith in his abilities. To paraphrase Evan S. Connell, somewhere Luetjens the man is waiting to be found.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by lwd » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:08 pm

RF wrote:
lwd wrote: From a legal stand point I'm not sure when his position would no longer have been "legal". The activities of Krystalnacht if known might have presented a legal reason to remove him although not necessarily the power to do so.
All of Hitlers' actions within Nazi Germany were fully legal under German law because Hitler achieved his status by legal means. Strictly speaking, after 1934 Hitler was German Law.
I'm not familiar enough with German law at the time to really make a call on this however I would think that what took place on Krystal nacht was hardly legal. I don't know what other laws he may have broken certainly many of his actions would not have been legal here. Might make an interesting thread but is rathet OT here except I guess for the KM reaction to it. If it was "legal" then it would not have been appropriate for them to take action or even make statments (other than possibly resign if they felt strongly enough). Even if there were illegal activities lacking knowledge or proof most opposing actions would still have been inappropriate.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by lwd » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:10 pm

tommy303 wrote:
There seems here to be a determined attempt hereto blacken the name of Gunther Lutjens, with no real justification for it, which is why I have made so many posts in answer to this insinuation
I suppose, to a degree, Luetjens is a fairly easy mark--he was not a personable man, silent, aloof, even forboding in visage. Not altogether humourless, he was nevertheless sparing in his use of humour. He was something of a disciplinarian and possibly autocratic, and unfortunately did not live long enough to justify his various actions. He never published commentaries and took few people into his confidence, so for the most part what we see is a snap shot of Luetjens, not an in depth portrait showing all the facets of the man. Yet there must have been something about him that his superiors saw for them to place such faith in his abilities. To paraphrase Evan S. Connell, somewhere Luetjens the man is waiting to be found.
Very well stated. At least as far as my limited knowledge goes.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7520
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by RF » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:38 am

lwd wrote:
RF wrote:
lwd wrote: From a legal stand point I'm not sure when his position would no longer have been "legal". The activities of Krystalnacht if known might have presented a legal reason to remove him although not necessarily the power to do so.
All of Hitlers' actions within Nazi Germany were fully legal under German law because Hitler achieved his status by legal means. Strictly speaking, after 1934 Hitler was German Law.
I'm not familiar enough with German law at the time to really make a call on this however I would think that what took place on Krystal nacht was hardly legal. I don't know what other laws he may have broken certainly many of his actions would not have been legal here. Might make an interesting thread but is rathet OT here except I guess for the KM reaction to it. If it was "legal" then it would not have been appropriate for them to take action or even make statments (other than possibly resign if they felt strongly enough). Even if there were illegal activities lacking knowledge or proof most opposing actions would still have been inappropriate.
Immediately after the Krystallnacht the Reichstag passed legislation retrospectively making the actions of the nazies fully legal. It also passed a collective fine on the Jewish community as a whole, paid for by looted goods, which was paid over to the German insurance companies to meet the insurance claims resulting from the Krystallnacht.

To be clear - the Enabling Act gave Hitler the full legislative powers of the Reichstag, so the latter was a rubber stamp. With such powers Hitler could make up German law as he went along - Hitler was German Law so far as the Weimar constitution was concerned. So murder, terrorism and genocide by the nazies were made fully legal in German Law.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7520
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by RF » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:43 am

tommy303 wrote: --he was not a personable man, silent, aloof, even forboding in visage. Not altogether humourless, he was nevertheless sparing in his use of humour. He was something of a disciplinarian and possibly autocratic, and unfortunately did not live long enough to justify his various actions. He never published commentaries and took few people into his confidence, so for the most part what we see is a snap shot of Luetjens, not an in depth portrait showing all the facets of the man.
Kennedy in his book manages to encapsulate some of Lutjens personality, and so does Ballard to an extent in his book on finding the wreck of the Bismarck.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 1405
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by wadinga » Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:07 am

RF,

You have suggested there is a
determined attempt hereto blacken the name of Gunther Lutjens
However nothing could be further from the truth. There has been over the years a lot of effort put into establishing a degree of seperation between the men of the Kriegsmarine and Nazi control and influence which may or may nor reflect reality depending on individual circumstances. Some have been so appalled that a movie scriptwriter put the words "Remember you are Nazis!" in the mouth of Admiral Lutjens, that they are determined to expunge any suggestion that he was ever, even for a moment, a willing and enthusiastic instrument of the regime.

I am more interested in exploring the complexity of the individual, based on background, disposition and training, and tested on the mission which would prove ultimately fatal. Far from being an "easy mark", Lutjens was obviously a very complex character and Tommy 303's summing up seems very fair, based as it seems to be on the Baron's impressions, who at least sailed with him unlike Kennedy and Ballard who couldn't and must report second hand. We have other sources like the British interrogation of the survivors http://www.kbismarck.com/archives/survivor-reports.pdf and of course, there is the matter of why his nickname, "Schwartzteufel" ? :cool: A perfectory search on the Interweb promotes the "never a Nazi salute" myth and yet we have all seen his farewell to the departing Fuhrer's back as he left the Tirpitz.
I think is overstating matters. By late 1934 Hitler was Fuhrer and in control and the political environment was different from that prevailing a year or so before.
How much worse would things need to be to create
the overheated, highly charged political environment
Two months before Lutjens took command of Karlsruhe, SS thugs acting on Government orders carried out a slaughter of between 77 and 1000 individuals including Kurt Von Schleicher,the former Chancellor, his wife and even a luckless music critic with a coincidental name. Hitler's speech a few days later
In this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby I became the supreme judge of the German people. I gave the order to shoot the ringleaders in this treason, and I further gave the order to cauterise down to the raw flesh the ulcers of this poisoning of the wells in our domestic life. Let the nation know that its existence—which depends on its internal order and security—cannot be threatened with impunity by anyone! And let it be known for all time to come that if anyone raises his hand to strike the State, then certain death is his lot.
There is no pretence of responsible government in this, no indictment, no trial, these are the actions of mafia style gangsters, proudly admitted and justified only by further menaces. Viewed with incomprehension and horror by nations around the world. Within days the entire military, including Raeder, completes its prostitution by swearing its oath to the bloody tyrant, sealing Germany's fate. Many authorities consider Raeder for the Navy, von Fritsch for the Army and Von Blomberg had sold themselves to the Fuhrer aboard Deutschland as early as April 1933, when he promised he would keep them out of the clutches of the SA if they would rubber stamp his actions, whatever they might be. Roehm and his henchmen were exterminated the following year, so Raeder and the others had to deliver the goods. That Raeder and the Navy had equal status to the Army in Nazi plans is confirmed
Long before he was promoted to General-Admiral in 1936, he had become a member of the secret Reich Defense Council, joining it when it was founded, on 4 April 1933. Thus, at an early date, he was involved, both militarily and politically, in the Nazi conspiracy.
This is the Germany from which Lutjens sailed in Karlsruhe: so when Erich Topp talked of being an ambassador, the important word is the short one- "New" in New Germany, Nazi Germany. Swastikas on the lunch table during Karlsruhe's visit to San Diego/Los Angeles 26/04/33. (I can't attach the photo and i've lost the URL) Nazi salutes at The Alamo and in Vancouver. And if we actually search for information about Lutjens early career, what more might we understand about his later actions? No blackening, but no whitewash either, just the same level of genuine research as some reserve for projectile striking angles and armour penetration.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 1405
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by wadinga » Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:56 pm

All,

A new websearch finds this

http://www.cvhistory.org/thennow/thennow.htm showing sandwiches and swastikas in the sunshine in the Crescentia valley. The caption says 1936 but when I found it elsewhere it gave the April coinciding with Karlsruhe's cruise before Lutjens took over.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by Bgile » Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:49 pm

Wow, how interesting!

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7520
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Lutjens in Austin...

Post by RF » Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:19 pm

Your above post wadinga confirms the quote ''an attempt to blacken the name of Gunther Lutjens.''

Most of the crimes of the nazies were committed after his death. Many of the crimes commited before Lutjens death, such as the treatment of the peoples of Czechoslovakia and Poland Lutjens would at best only have an inkling of, certainly not the fine detail. Is he therefore guilty by association? Were his men, who would know less of what was going on (immediately outside of the own private experiences)?

Some of the events of 1933 and 1934 you mention are not untipical of quite a few countries, even today.

What sets the crimes of the nazies apart was the scale of genocide, the insane pursuit of racist policies, the waging of aggresive war that did not become fully apparent until after Lutjens death. How far Lutjens approved or disapproved of the regime overall is problematic as the kept his counsel. It is to some extent like the trial of Sir Thomas More during the reign of Henry VIII and the line of cross examination used by Thomas Cromwell; silence was the defence used to the charges against Sir Thomas, on the grounds that without spoken or written dissent then treason could not be proved against him. In the words of Thomas Cromwell the defendent chose to be silent, but what sort of silence was it? What did the silence mean? Was he silent because he approved of what was going on, therefore not needing to comment on it, or was he silent because he disagreed with the policy and didn't wish to incriminate himself by speaking out?

A lot is made about nazi salutes. Before WW2 the nazi salute did not attract anything like the opproprium it does today. For example, the England national football team on a visit to Berlin in 1938 were required to give the nazi salute as part of the opening ceremonies for a friendly international match. Does that make eleven England footballers nazies and therefore culpable for their crimes? One England player before that tour made it clear that in no circumstances would he give that salute; he was dropped from the team and his international career was finished. How many people would put such a principle forward that they would ruin their career for the sake of a salute? Would Lutjens? Or Bernhard Rogge, himself Jewish?
Also in my own town of Wolverhampton a group of WW1 German veterans visting in 1935 gave the nazi salute to their fallen WW1 comrades at a church memorial service. It was reported on as part of the local news coverage by the Wolverhampton Express and Star, but beyond that the salute and where it happened - in a church - failed to excite any attention at all. It wasn't even considered unusual.

I think there is enough evidence to say the Lutjens was detached from the regime. But he operated under military orders sourced from that regime. His obligation, and that of any other serviceman, is to obey lawful orders. The fact is that in the Third Reich Hitler literally was the law, the law was what Hitler said it was, that authority given to him by the legislature according to its proceedures and the Weimar Constitution. So in German law murder and genocide became fully legal. But war itself is about legal killing and the legal application of lethal force against unknown and unseen victims. Against the background of war the distinction between types and gredations of killing become blurred and involves everybody. So when Atlantis shelled the Eygyptian ship Zamzam in 1941 was Rogge a nazi commiting war crimes?
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

Locked