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Hellmuth Guido Alexander Heye (9 August 1895 – 10 November 1970) was a German admiral in World War II and politician in post-war Germany. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany.

Hellmuth Heye
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-L17874, Heye (crop).jpg
Born(1895-08-09)9 August 1895
Died10 November 1970(1970-11-10) (aged 75)
Allegiance German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Imperial German Navy
Years of service1914–45
RankVice admiral
Commands heldAdmiral Hipper
Battles/warsWorld War I

World War II

AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross
RelationsWilhelm Heye (father)


Naval careerEdit

Heye graduated from high school in Berlin in early 1914 and immediately joined the Imperial Navy. From April 1939 to September 1940 he commanded the Heavy Cruiser Admiral Hipper. While taking his ship to Trondheim in April 1940 to land invasion troops there (Operation Weserübung), he encountered the British destroyer Glowworm and sank it. Heye sent a message to the British Admiralty through the Red Cross praising the gallantry of Glowworm's commander and crew, and this contributed to LtCdr Gerard Roope receiving the earliest Victoria Cross of World War II, although the award was not made until 1945.[1]

In 1942 Heye was promoted to Vice Admiral, and from September to November 1942 he was commanding admiral of the German naval forces in the Black Sea. From April 1944 onward he was commanding admiral of the small naval combat forces, which included mini-submarines, combat divers, etc. He received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 18 January 1941.

Civilian careerEdit

After the war Heye published a number of works on naval strategy, history and warfare as a member of the Naval Historical Team. He subsequently advised the German government on issues concerning the establishment and organization of a new military. In 1953 he joined the centrist party CDU (Christian Democratic Union) of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and represented this party in the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) from 1953 to 1961, elected for the district of Wilhelmshaven-Friesland.

On 8 November 1961 the Bundestag elected him unanimously as its Ombudsman for the Military (Wehrbeauftragter). In the autumn of 1964, Heye published a series of articles in the German news journal Quick, warning of a risk of the German military once again drifting into isolation from society at large. This triggered a vigorous and sharply worded debate between him and the ministry of defense. Frustrated by what he perceived to be inadequate support from Parliament, Heye resigned his position on 10 November 1964.[2]




  1. ^ London Gazette
  2. ^ "Hellmuth Guido Alexander Heye". Der Spiegel (in German). 46. 1964. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Dörr 1995, p. 240.
  4. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 226.
  5. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 389.


  • Dörr, Manfred (1995). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Überwasserstreitkräfte der Kriegsmarine—Band 1: A–K [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Surface Forces of the Navy—Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2453-2.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
  • Nietrug, Gerd (2004). Die Ritterkreuzträger des Saarlandes 1939 – 1945 [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Saarland 1939 – 1945] (in German). Zweibrücken, Germany: VDM Nickel. ISBN 978-3-925480-93-5.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.

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