Wilhelm Franz Canaris (In DortmundAplerbeck , 1 January 1887 - 9 april, Flossenbürg, 1945) was a German Admiral during the National Socialist regime and leader of the Abwehr (Counterintelligence) of the German high command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht).
Canaris grew up in Duisburg where he visited the Steinbart-Gymnasium. He resigned in 1905 in service with the Navy and served in the first world war as an officer during the battle of the Falkland Islands on 8 december 1914 aboard the SMS Dresden, a German Imperial Navy shiplight. After the battle he was interned in Chile. After his escape in August 1915 he was transferred to the Intelligence Agency (secret service), with Spain as stage.
After a failed British assassination attempt, he returned to active service and ended the war as Commander of a u-boat with eighteen sunken ships on his name.
In 1919 Wilhelm Canaris was a member of the Council of war where the Freikorps members accused had to answer for the murder of Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht. This martial Council expressed a large number of the accused free. Already a year later, he took part in the Lüttwitz-Kapp Putsch, was therefore detained and arrested and released after a short time. He worked after the Treaty of Versailles at the Navy and again from 1931 at the intelligence service of the Abwehr.
At the beginning of the Third Reich was Canaris known as Avid German nationalist. He kicked it during the Hitler regime even Chief of the German Abwehr, despite the fact that Canaris was NSDAPMember no. His first big job was an intervention attempt during the Spanish civil war. Canaris himself spoke fluent Spanish and developed a good relationship with General Francisco Franco, he later unofficially afraadde transit to German troops to conquer Gibraltar .
In 1936 she managed Canaris to Germany andItaly to persuade Mussolini-the nationalist insurgents to support of Franco in Spain . By the foreign support, the initially weak Spanish insurgents in the Spanish civil war victory."Memorial" in camp Flossenbürg
Only after the beginning of the war there arose at his doubts about the ultimate goals of the Hitler regime, which with time grew. He was eye-witness of the random murder by SS-troops on more than 200 Jewish men in Będzin in Poland.
He retained in his position as Chief of the Abwehr to the outside world the face of a loyal intelligence. He had a great talent to fool his opponents. Nazi texts he could nominate so convincing, that also its greatest opponents were often convinced of his faithfulness.
But in the meantime he gave his closest collaborators, Hans Oster and Hans von Dohnanyi, protection and opportunity for conspiring against Hitler. In this way he was directly involved in the leaking of the attack data from the attacks on the low countries and the coup attempts by members of the General staff in 1938 and 1939. In March1943 , he flew to Smolensk to the anti Nazi Wehrmacht-conspirators by the staff of Heeresgruppe Mitte meet.
Canaris met secretly during the summer of 1943 general Stuart Menzies, Chief of British intelligence, in Spain. Canaris Menzies presented a peace plan: surrender of the German forces and ceasefire in the West, elimination or extradition of Hitler and the continuation of the war against the Soviet Union on the eastern front. The peace proposal was made by American and British secret services, but was immediately by President Roosevelt and his advisers rejected.
In mid-February 1944 was relieved of his duties as Abwehrchef Canaris and three days after the attack on Hitler on 20 July 1944 by his rival at the SD overseas, SS-Brigade leader Walter Schellenberg, detained. Until the beginning of april 1945 discovered a General in a safe on the army headquarters of the Abwehr in Zossen Canaris ' long-sought private journals, which on 5 april by Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the RSHA-Chief of the security police and the SD, were shown to Hitler personally. Hitler gave directly ordered the "immediate destruction of the conspirators". In a "SS-Standgerichtverfahren" in Flossenbürg concentration camp was Canaris sentenced to death and on 9 april 1945 together with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans Oster executed. Wilhelm Canaris was hanged.
His last message, through a makeshift code to a fellow prisoner, the former manager of the Danish intelligence service, begins with the words: "Am ugly mistreated, nose broken." His last words: "I die for my homeland with a clear conscience. I only did my duty to my country when I tried to stop the criminal follies of Hitler. "
- Iron cross 1914
- First Class
- Second Class
- Knight of the order of the Crown
- U-Boots-Kriegsabzeichen in 1918
- Military merit Cross (Austria-Hungary), der Third class with war decoration
- Iron Crescent
- Das Ehrenkreuz des Weltkriegs 1914/1918
- Dienstauszeichnung (Wehrmacht)
- 4-jährige Dienstzeit in der Wehrmacht (DA IV)
- 12-jährige Dienstzeit in der Wehrmacht (DA III)
- 18-jährige Dienstzeit in der Wehrmacht (DA II)
- 25-jährige Dienstzeit in der Wehrmacht (DA I)
- War merit cross with swords
- First Class
- Second Class
- Buckle at the iron cross 1939
- First Class
- Second Class
- First Class with star and oak leaves, Breast star and swords in the order of the cross of liberty (Finland) on 19 september 1941
- With star and Swords first Class order of the cross of liberty (Finland) on september 16, 1941
- German Cross in silver on november 11, 1943