The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly during German naval rearmaments in the 1930s. In January 1939 Plan Z was ordered, calling for the construction of many naval vessels. The ships of the Kriegsmarine fought during the Spanish Civil War and World War II. The commander-in-chief of the Kriegsmarine was Adolf Hitler, who exercised his authority through the Oberkommando der Marine. Karl Dönitz, held the rank of Großadmiral (Grand Admiral) and in-Chief of the German Navy (Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine).
The Kriegsmarine's most famous ships were the U-boat "wolfpacks", most of which were constructed after Plan Z was abandoned at the beginning of World War II. They were submarine groups which attacked Allied convoys during the Battle of the Atlantic. Along with the U-boats, surface ships (including auxiliary cruisers) were used to disrupt Allied shipping in the early years of the war. However, the adoption of convoy escorts later in the war greatly reduced the effectiveness of naval strikes on convoys. At the end of the Second World War, the Kriegsmarine's remaining ships were divided up amongst the Allied powers and were used for various purposes including minesweeping.
After the reunification, the German naval forces are now known as Deutsche Marine (German Navy).
The Downfall Parody cast contains at least two minor characters who were members of the Kregsmarine - Alwin-Broder Albrecht and Hans-Erich Voss. Karl Dönitz is also mentioned 3 times. A few Kriegsmarine soldiers can also be seen among a crowd of German soldiers near the end of the movie, as indicated by their dark blue Matrosen (seaman) uniforms.
However, it is better known as the primary focus of the U-Boat Parodies, the cast of which is made up entirely of navy men.
In the parodies, the Kregsmarine is often portrayed as an anticological organization, much like the Schutzstaffel.
- Alwin-Broder Albrecht
- Hans-Erich Voss
- Karl Dönitz
- Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock
- Lt. Werner
- Second Lieutenant
- Fritz Grade
- Philipp Thomsen
- Werner Hartenstein
- In real life, the Kriegsmarine was reportedly the least Nazi of all the services. This fact is reflected in the parodies, where naval officers are portrayed enjoying antics committed against Adolf Hitler.
- Today, the Kriegsmarine is now just named "Marine" (German Navy) in the modern German land army (Bundeswehr)