National Army Museum

Video: Karl Dönitz is Released from Prison

The short newsreel above shows the moment that Karl Dönitz, formerly Grand Admiral of the German navy, was released from Spandau prison in 1954.

Dönitz, who in April 1945 became Germany's last Führer following the death of Hitler, was tried at Nuremberg, where he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

As German head of state for a mere three weeks at the war's end, Dönitz has often been treated as little more than a historical footnote. Yet his short-lived government, based in the coastal town of Flensburg, was responsible for negotiating the surrender of Germany's forces, and its unequal treatment by the victorious Allies helped sow the seeds of mistrust between the Soviet Union and the West.

You can read more about this subject in the May issue of History Today, where Richard Overy examines the legacy of Dönitz's brief rule.