Raeder, Erich (1876–1960), a German naval officer. As head of the German naval command, 1928–35, he rebuilt the German navy, in violation of the Versailles Treaty of 1919. Raeder was made commander in chief of the navy in 1935 and grand admiral in 1939. He drew up the plan for the invasion of Norway in 1940 and later directed German submarines in all-out attacks on Allied shipping. After a dispute with Hitler he retired at his own request in 1943. In 1946 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes, but he was released in 1955.
Raeder was born in Wandsbek, Germany, and joined the navy in 1894. His official accounts of World War I cruiser warfare, written in the 1920's, became classics of naval history.