Ten Years and Twenty Days is a direct reference to the 10 years Karl Doenitz spent as a U Boat commander and the 20 days he spent as Hitler's successor as Fuhrer of Germany. I had stated previously in this review that the period related to his time in Spandau jail which was 10 years and I am grateful for being corrected on that point.
As an English boy born in 1950 and growing up in a post-war Britain, we would play games where the Germans always lost - just like Cowboys and Indians. Much later in life, I began to research various ships and shipwrecks through my scuba diving and the name of Karl Doenitz came up time and again. Over many years I came to respect this man for the way in which he conducted both himself and his branch of the war with Britain. I consider him to have been an honourable enemy of my country. Yes, he was convicted of War Crimes, but it says much for the respect that this man engendered that over 100 senior Allied Officers expressed their disappointment at his sentence. But then, to the victor go the spoils and the one man to succeed Hitler was never going to remain a free man when others were being executed!
Having read so many accounts of this once great Admiral before reading his own memoirs, it is clear to me he was convicted of no more a crime than "being one of the enemy" and it was for that he served his ten years at Spandau. Others, of course, were directly responsible for the great human atrocities of WW2 and it was they who were either sentenced to death of life imprisonment.
I am sure there are those who will disagree with my assessment of this man - and, indeed, their own assessment may be more accurate. Nevertheless, this book reveals a great deal about an honourable man and is one which should be read by all those with an interest in Karl Doenitz the German Naval Officer and Karl Doenitz the last Fuhrer - who's first task on succeeding Hitler was to seek peace.