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Wenneker, Paul Werner (1890-1979)


Photograph of Paul W. Wenneker

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Service record

1890-2-27     

Born at Kiel
1909
Midshipman     

1911

CL Mainz
1912
Ensign

1914

Prisoner of war, Britain
1919-5
Lieutenant junior grade     

1920
Lieutenant     
DD S-18
1924

CL Nymphe
1928
Lieutenant commander

1929

AP Elsaff
1933
Commander

1933-12-28     

Naval attaché, Japan
1935-1
Captain

1938

Commander, BC Deutschland
1939
Rear admiral

1940-3-21

Naval attaché, Japan
1941
Vice admiral

1944-8-1
Admiral


Paul Wenneker was born to a naval family, joined the German Navy in 1909, and was captured by the British when his ship, the cruiser Mainz, was sunk at the Battle of the Heligoland Bight during the First World War. He continued to serve in the tiny navy permitted Germany under the Versailles Treaty between the wars, rising steadily through the ranks, and served as naval attaché in Tokyo during the early years of the Third Reich. Returning to Japan for a second tour as naval attaché after war broke out in Europe, he tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Japanese to use their submarine force to attack the Allied lines of communication. He also arranged for the German Navy to send a modern submarine to Japan, but the Japanese concluded that duplicating the design was beyond the ability of their naval yards. Wenneker's attempts to have Japanese crews sent to Germany for training ended in disaster, with all the crews intercepted and lost at sea. Wenneker was more successful arranging for submarines to run the blockade between the two powers to exchange technology and strategic materials. As naval attaché, he was the overall commander of all German Navy forces in the Far East, though these amounted only to a small submarine flotilla at Penang.

Interrogated after the war by the U.S. Navy, Wenneker expressed the opinion that Japan's war effort was crippled by underestimation of the Americans, interservice rivalry, and corruption in the military. He also revealed that Japan had tried to persuade Germany to make peace with Russia so that Germany and Japan could turn their full efforts against Britain and the United States. Wenneker succeeded in creating the impression with his American interpreters that he had become disenchanted with Nazi ideology.

References

Chen (accessed 2014-2-18)
OPNAV-P-03-100 (accessed 2014-2-18)



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