• U.S. Admirals Aid Author's Defense of War Criminal

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    Author Harold Keith Thompson (1922-2002) was a graduate of Yale University, a New York-based corporate executive and a figure within American far right circles. He was a noted revisionist, claiming that the Holocaust did not happen. His book “Dönitz at Nuremberg: A Re-Appraisal” is a defense of German Adm. Doenitz, who was tried as a war criminal. Thompson began his political career before America's entry into World War II when he campaigned against involvement as a member of the German American Bund and the America First Committee. In this role, he came to the attention of Nazi Germany and was appointed as a Special Agent of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) Overseas Intelligence Unit on July 27, 1941.

    Alongside his political activities, Thompson also found work in public relations and this remained his area of employment. Thompson became a close ally of Otto Ernst Remer, who helped stop the plot to assassinate Hitler, and in 1951 when he registered with the United States Department of Justice as the American representative for the Socialist Reich Party, a position he held until the group was banned in 1952.

    Thompson definitely stated his position by writing an article entitled 'I Am an American Fascist' for Exposé magazine in 1954. In the article he praised the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler and condemned the Nuremberg Trials as 'vicious and vilely dishonorable'.

    Karl Döenitz was a German naval leader, famous for his command of the Kriegsmarine during World War II and for his twenty-three day term as President of Germany after Adolf Hitler’s suicide.

    Following Hitler’s accession to power, Doenitz supervised the clandestine building of Nazi Germany's U-boat fleet in direct violation of the Versailles Treaty clauses still in effect. Under his command, the U-boat fleet fought the famous Battle of the Atlantic. In 1936, he was appointed by Hitler to be Commander-in-Chief of the U-Boat fleet. From 1940-42, he waged an unsuccessful campaign to destroy the British merchant marine and starve out the British isles. In 1943, Doenitz replaced Admiral Erich Raeder as Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine.

    On July 20, 1944, Doenitz rushed to Hitler’s side to reaffirm the navy's and his personal oath of unquestioning loyalty to Germany's fuehrer. Doenitz publicly heaped adoring praise over Hitler and condemned the July 20th conspirators as a criminal and cowardly gang of traitors.

    On May 2, 1945, according to Hitler's last will and testament, Doenitz succeeded Hitler as Reich head of state after the fuehrer committed suicide in his bunker deep underneath Berlin's Chancellery on April 30. As Reich head of state, Doenitz signed the Allied terms for Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945.

    After the war he was charged and convicted of “crimes against peace” and “war crimes” and served ten years. He was released in 1956. On his repatriation he moved to a small village near Hamburg.

    In an attempt to revise Doenitz’s involvement in World War II, Thompson wrote a book, “Dönitz at Nuremberg: A Re-Appraisal.” In preparing research for the book, Thompson asked several American admirals for their opinion of Doenitz. Offered here are two typed letters signed by Retired Admiral Raymond H. “Ben” Bass and Colby G. Ruckers.

    Admiral Bass was a retired Navy rear admiral was awarded the Navy Cross and the Gold Star for his heroic activities in World War II. An Olympic Gold medalist, Bass was inducted into the Gymnastics Hall of Fame for his record-setting rope climb at the 1932 Olympics.

    He began the war as commander of the submarine Plunger and survived two missions into the Sea of Japan. He was the only American submarine skipper to survive two missions into the Sea of Japan in World War II. Slated for a third mission when the war ended, he was put in command of 12 submarines dubbed "Benny's Peacemakers" that steamed into Tokyo Bay for the V-J Day ceremonies.

    He retired from the Navy in 1959 and joined Bendix Electrodynamics in San Fernando Valley. He died in 1997 at 87.

    Two-piece archive with a TLS and a typed document signed.

    One page TLS, September 14, 1961, Retired Adm. Raymond Bass writes to H. Keith Thompson of New York. Light wrinkling else very good. Bass writes:

    “Thank you for your query about Admiral Doenitz.

    “Admiral Doenitz was a great Naval Officer, our main regret should be that he was not on our side. He and a few thousand men in submarines came very nearly defeating the Allies through interdiction of sea lanes. He operated some 1100 submarines, requiring crews of some 50,000 men. This is the equivalent of only about three division slices. I doubt if any other three divisions of men have ever achieved more in war than these did. Military effectiveness is no crime.

    “There is an article in the current U.S. Naval Institute which discusses some of the great successes achieved by Admiral Doenitz. You might find it interesting.

    “Sincerely,

    “Ray H. Bass”

    One page, TDS, 8 ½” x 11” is from Ret. Adm. Colby G. Rucker, dated April 27th, 1960.

    “I hereby authorize Mr. H. Keith Thompson or his designees to include in a forthcoming published volume my views on the ‘war crimes trials’ and the case of Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz, as they appear below, excerpted from my letter to him of October 9th, 1958. Quotation follows:

    “I served long in submarines before World War II and served in anti-submarine warfare continuously during the war in the Atlantic, having commanded three ships, two divisions, a squadron and a force. It ever seemed to me that the various treaties entered into by the great nations prior to World War II restricting the use of submarines were wholly unrealistic. If the signatories meant what they said, there was no need to build submarines. They never could have been operated under the law. As for Admiral Doenitz, none of us thought of him but as a brilliant commander of submarines. In brief, I believe that no legal fault can be found in Admiral Doenitz’s conduct of the war. I believe that Admiral Doenitz carried out his orders as an officer. He may have made mistakes in judgment in the employment of his forces, but not legal or morally culpable errors. I know of no order on his part which violated the basic rules of war

    “Colby G. Rucker

    [postscript] “I understand that it will not be possible for me to receive any remuneration for granting the above permission.” (an unsigned signature line appears at the bottom)

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