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Wilhelm Franz Canaris (January 1, 1887 – April 9, 1945) was a German admiral and head of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service, from 1935 to 1944. Together with his deputy General Hans Oster, military jurist General Karl Sack, theologian Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Ludwig Gehre, Canaris was dragged naked before witnesses and then executed on April 9, 1945.
- I die for my fatherland. I have a clear conscience. I only did my duty to my country when I tried to oppose the criminal folly of Hitler.
- Quoted in "Admiral Canaris - Chief of Intelligence" - Page 210 - by Ian Colvin - 2007
- Please don't worry about me, Captain Patzig. I'm an incurable optimist. And as far as those fellows are concerned, I think I know how to get along with them.
- To Captain Konrad Patzig. Quoted in "The Game of the Foxes" - Page 5 - by Ladislas Farago - 1972
- You can talk to the man. He is reasonable, and sees your point of view, if you point it out properly.
- About speaking to Hitler. Quoted in "Hitler's Spies: German Military Intelligence in World War II" - Page 234 - by David Kahn - True Crime - 2000
- As the officer before the World War was naturally a monarchist...so it is naturally understandable today...to be a National Socialist...The Wehrmacht has become the tool of the National Socialist will for development.
- 1938. Quoted in "Hitler's Spies: German Military Intelligence in World War II" - Page 234 by David Kahn - True Crime - 2000
- General Franco made it clear that Spain could enter the war only when England was about ready to collapse.
- Quoted in "The Last European War" - Page 114 - by John Lukacs - History - 1976
- You know, my dear Lahousen, the students of history will not need to trouble their heads after this war, as they did after the last, to determine who was guilty of starting it. The case is, however, different when we consider guilt for prolonging the war. I believe that the other side have now disarmed us of the last weapon with which we could have ended it. 'Unconditional surrender', no, our generals will not swallow that. Now I cannot see any solution.
- To General Erwin Lahousen. Quoted in "Admiral Canaris - Chief of Intelligence" - Page 163 by Ian Colvin - 2007
- Badly mishandled. Nose broken at last interrogation. My time is up. Was not a traitor. Did my duty as a German. If you survive, please tell my wife...
- Final message to Colonel Landing, in the cell next to his. Quoted in "Canaris" - by Heinz Höhne - 1979
- One day the world will hold the Wehrmacht responsible for these methods since these things are taking place under its nose.
- Alternate version: A day will come when the world will find the Wehrmacht responsible for these methods, inasmuch as the things happen with our tacit consent.
- September 1939. Quoted in "Bodyguard of Lies: The Extraordinary True Story Behind D-Day" - Page 178 - by Anthony Cave Brown - 2007
Quotes about Wilhelm Canaris
- His skill in acting a part, his cunning, his imagination, the ease with which he affected naive stupidity and then emerged into the most subtle reasoning disarmed the security agents who interrogated him.
- Fabian von Schlabrendorff
- Canaris was a highly intelligent and sensitive man with many likeable qualities. He loved his dogs and his horse almost more than any other living creatures. He often said to me, 'Schellenberg, always remember the goodness of animals. You see, my dachshund is discreet and will never betray me — I cannot say that of any human being...'
- Walter Schellenberg
- Canaris hated not only Hitler and Himmler, but the entire Nazi system as a political phenomenon .. He was everywhere and nowhere at once. Everywhere he traveled, at home and abroad and to the front, he always left a whirl of confusion behind him .. In reality this small, frail, and somewhat timid man was a vibrating bundle of nerves. Extremely well read, oversensitive, Canaris was an outsider in every respect. In bearing and manner of work, he was the most unmilitary of persons.
- Hans Bernd Gisevius
- He hated Hitler, his system and his methods. He hated war. He was a human being...
- Erwin Lahousen