April 24

This Day in History

World War II

Apr 24, 1876:

Erich Raeder, commander in chief of the German navy, is born on this day

On this day in 1876, Erich Raeder, proponent of an aggressive naval strategy and the man who convinced Adolf Hitler to invade Norway, is born.

Raeder began his career by violating the terms of the post-World War I Treaty of Versailles, advocating the construction of submarines in 1928 to strengthen the German navy. He was made grand admiral during World War II and executed the invasion of Norway and Denmark. He fell out with Hitler over strategy and was ultimately removed from his command. He would end his career before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Sentenced to life imprisonment for "instigation of the navy to violate the rules of war," he was released because of ill health in 1955.

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