• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • FRANKISH KINGDOM
  • JOHANNES REUCHLIN
  • THE WEIMAR CONSTITUTION
  • W
  • INFLATION, REPARATIONS, AND
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  • T
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  • CONSEQUENCES AND PROBLEMS OF
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  • FOREIGN POLICY
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  • WAR GUILT AND REPARATIONS
  • DENUNCIATION AND RELUCTANT
  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • Brauchitsch, Walther von

    lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.5pt;font-family:"Meridien-Medium","serif"; color:black'>(18811948)

    commander in chief of the Wehrmacht

    From 1938 to 1941 Walther von Brauchitsch

    was the commander in chief of the Wehrmacht.

    He was the commander during the campaigns

    against Poland, France, Yugoslavia, Greece, and

    the Soviet Union.

    Brauchitsch was born in BERLIN on October 4,

    1881. He joined the army, was commissioned a

    lieutenant in 1900, and had his first command

    as an artillery officer and later a staff officer during

    WORLD WAR I. Afterward he served as a

    training officer and also as an inspector of the

    artillery. Under HITLER he was named commander

    of a miliary district in East Prussia and in

    1937 he took over the 4th Army Group at

    LEIPZIG. After General von Fritsch was forced to

    resign due to allegations of homosexuality, Hitler

    appointed Brauchitsch commander in chief of

    the army.

    Brauchitsch was a compliant follower of

    Hitler. His position was complicated as he found

    himself bound by his oath to Hitler and his belief

    in the rule of law. General Ludwig BECK of the

    RESISTANCE appealed to him a number of times

    to join in stopping Hitler, but he hesitated for

    personal reasons. His second wife, who was a

    fanatic Hitler admirer, urged him to support the

    Führer. On the other hand, if Brauchitsch had

    supported Beck and his fellow conspirators in

    1938, Czechoslovakia might have been saved

    and the road to WORLD WAR II avoided. Brauchitsch

    was overwhelmed by Hitlers fits of rage

    and continued to resist Becks pleas. As a consequence,

    Beck resigned.

    The campaigns against Poland and France were

    well planned, and Brauchitsch became more subservient

    to Hitler and less willing to support any

    conspiracy. On July 19, 1940, he was promoted to

    field marshal. He executed the initial phases of the

    campaign in Russia until December 1941, when

    German forces failed to capture Moscow. Brauchitsch

    recommended to Hitler that the army

    withdraw to a defensive line. It was at this point

    that Hitler relieved him of his command. The

    excuse for his retirement was that he was gravely

    ill. Hitler, in fact, held his army commander in

    chief responsible for the military failure in Russia.

    That Hitler also sacked the commanders of two

    army groups and four armies and then assumed

    command of the army himself makes it highly

    unlikely that illness was the cause of Brauchitschs

    retirement. Although he remained on active duty,

    he was not assigned any duties for the duration of

    the war. Suffering from cardiac disease at the end

    of the war, he was arrested by the British and died

    in a military hospital on October 18, 1948, before

    his trial for war crimes.

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