From 1933 to 1945, Germany was under a black cloud of Nazism. During this period, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party transformed Germany into an extremely autocratic state, where every aspect of life was controlled by the government. Their tyrannies were countless, and for the Jews of that time, it was a never-ending nightmare. During their reign, there were innumerable atrocities, with various different ways, specifically aimed that the Jew community. However, these people were not just enemies of the Jew, but the entire Europe. Hitler was havoc, he was not be tamed and would invade countries without any rational reasoning. Throughout their totalitarian reign, about 6 million Jews were killed, while Germany was plunged into unprecedented darkness. This article explores some famous generals, who took up the guns for these enemies of humanity.
Otto Wagener was a Nazi major general and division commander. He was one of the more educated Nazis, having been awarded a degree in economics. Before joining the Nazi Party, he had already fought in the World War I, and was a crucial part of the planning against attack on Poland. Due to his background in economics, he also served as Hitler’s economic advisor, for a certain period. In the party, his main role was to advise the Fuhrer on economic matters, and devise the whole economic policies of the Nazis. Although very important to the party, he was not trusted. After the war, he became a captive of the British, eventually being transferred to Italian captivity.
Steiner was the General of the Waffen-SS, having fought in both the World Wars. He was a decorated member of the party, having received Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. His major role came in transformation of Waffen-SS, which he took from an armed-wing and turned it into a multi-national military force of the Nazis. He was responsible for creation of a Panzer division, which eventually lead to his promotions, leading up to the point where he headed the 11th SS Panzer Army, whose purpose was to safeguard Berlin against the Soviet forces, approaching from Vistula River. During the battle of Berlin, he refused to obey Hitler’s orders, as he claimed it a suicide mission. As a result, Hitler showed deep frustration in his conference in Fuhrerbunker. After Germany lost the war, he was imprisoned and trials were held for him. However, he was cleared of all war crimes, and was freed in 1948.
Wolf was a very important part of the Nazi forces, and held several different positions. He was the general of the Waffen-SS, Chief of Personal Staff to Heinrich Himmler, and a SS Liaison Officer to Hitler. By the end of the World War II, he was the Supreme Commander of the entire SS forces, in Italy. A former employee of the Deutsche Bank, Wolff was attracted towards the Nazi Party, due to the idea of rebirth of Germany. At this time, Germany was plunged under the economic crisis of Deutsche Bank. After the party came into power, the rose through the ranks in no time. Wolff was the eye and ears of Himmler, before falling out with him. He was later sent to Italy, where he controlled all the SS forces in Italy. Throughout his career as a Nazi, he was at the center of all the happenings and was a very close companion of Adolf Hitler.
Werner Von Fritsch
Von Fritsch was a prominent member of the German High Command, and a notable Nazi general. Now this man was an interesting character of the Nazi Party. He had hated dictatorship all his life, but had a deep place in his heart, where he had utmost disgust for Jews. This anti-Semitic nature of his lead to admiration for Adolf Hitler. This led to him joining the Nazi Party. However, he was not very fond of the SS, seeing them as a rival to the army. During his time with the Nazi Party, he was accused of homosexuality, although it was eventually proved to be wrong. However, it led to his resignation. After his exoneration, he was restored in the army as ‘honorary colonel.’ He went with the army to annex Poland, a country he has despised for very long. During the Siege of Warsaw, a Polish bullet hit him in the leg and burst through his arteries. He was pronounced dead moments later. He became the second Nazi general to be killed during the World War II.
Herbert Otto Gille
Being one of highest decorated member of the Waffen SS during World War II, Gille was a German general, who was awarded Knight’s Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds and of the German Cross in Gold. Gille was a war expert and was known for his tactical abilities and bravery. He was involved in the invasion of Poland and the assault of the Soviet Union. However, the accolades came for his bravery and acute-mindedness during Cherkassy Pocket. This was a situation where the Soviet forces outnumbered the Germans, but the Germans avoided harm’s way, as the Soviets failed to break the retreat. This lead to Gille’s fame and eventually, the awards. Later, he was called on many different situations, due to his expertise. These included maintaining defenses of Kovel and then Berlin. The latter was being seriously attacked by the Soviets, however Gille and his forces ensured that they did not penetrate. After the end of war, Gille chose to surrender to the U.S forces, in fear of taken by the Soviets. He was detained for 3 years, before releasing him.
According to various historians, Heydrich was an axis of evil, one of the most malicious figures in history. His importance can be deduced by the fact that Adolf Hitler himself was a fan of Heydrich, appreciating him as ‘the man with the iron heart.’ Heydrich was a Nazi General in the World War II, chief of Reich Main Security Office, and deputy reich-protector of the area, which is now called the Czech Republic. He had positions in other organizations, as well. The most notable of these was being the president of Interpol. History frowns upon Heydrich, not because of his power and positions mentioned above, but what he did being in such positions. Heydrich was one the masterminds behind The Holocaust. He also founded Sicherheitsdienst, which was an intelligence agency, used in suppressing any anti-Nazi voice, forever. So, Heydrich was the part of the whole Nazi structure, where all the plans were devised, where crueler ways of eradicating the Jews were thought of and where the fate of the entire Jew population rested. His endeavors as a part of the Nazi Party makes him a legend to all the closet-fascists out there. However, for the rest of the world, he was just evil in shape of a human.
One of the 120 members of the SS-Staff Guard, he was one of the very few surviving generals of Hitler. He rose to prominence during the Battle for Caen, where his bravery and astuteness earned him the Knight’s Cross for the Iron Cross. He was given the charge of Hitler’s Youth division, during the Battle of Normandy. He was also an active contributor in the French campaign, which subsequently lead to command of the Leibstandarte, during the Battle of the Bulge. Furthermore, his importance can be seen by the fact that during the Battle of Berlin, he was in charge for the protection of Berlin’s government district. Mohnke fought till the last day of war in Europe. A brave soldier, but haunted by the evil inside, by an ever-consuming hatred. He was also responsible for atrocities on British and Canadian soldiers. However, he was not charged for this, after the war.
The success of the Nazis, in their era, can be attributed to brilliance and expertise of people like Blumentritt. He was not just a member of the Nazi Party, but arguably one of its most important ones. He was always one of the most active members, who started out as a staff office, before having his own corps and being promoted to general. His role was of great importance in the invasion of Poland and France. He also contributed to Operation Barbarossa, which was a code name given to Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Seeing such credentials, he was laden with the burden of devising a defense strategy for Normandy and the Atlantic Wall. After the war, he refused to testify but agreed to submit an affidavit, at the Nuremburg Trials.
Fedor Von Bock
To win battles, you need brains and firepower. Von Bock was not much of brains, but had no lack of the latter. Known for his sheer determination, fiery attitude and profound patriotism, Vock Bock was nickname ‘Holy Fire of Kustrin.’ He commanded Army Group North and Army Group B, during the invasion of Poland and France, respectively. Subsequently, he was made commander of Army Group Center, during the invasion of the Soviet Union. While he was commanding Operation Typhoon, which involved taking control of Moscow, he suggested a withdrawal, as he oversaw the difficulties the army might face due to winters approaching. Hitler, as usual, did not listen. His worst fears came to life when a good position turned into a retreating position, due to deteriorating weather. He was relieved of his duty, as a result. What made him an interesting character was his outspoken style, with freely shared views. He had nothing but disgust for Nazism but supported Hitler due to long-term implications. Also. Von Bock was allowed to talk loudly In front of Hitler, something hardly anyone else was allowed to do. He was a traditionalist, and preferred orthodoxy. He considered dying for country as the biggest accolade he could get and went into every battle with head held high. In 1945, while travelling to Hamburg, he was killed, with his family, by a British fighter-bomber.
Quite easily the only humane person in the list, Rommel was a different kind. Although he served the Nazi Party and Hitler, he always believed that he was serving Germany instead. As a result, he did what was required for Germany to prosper, not linking himself with any personal prejudices of others. When he was given orders to carry out any immoral act of war, he ignored them. This made him a national hero. Later in his life, he was accused of conspiring against Hitler, which led to Hitler’s decision to kill him in a way that it looks more of an accident. He made Rommel take a cyanide pill, while promising to protect his family. Rommel was a national figure and not only because he was a good man, but because he was arguably the best German field marshal. Already a decorated fighter of the first World War, he established himself completely, when he led the 7th Panzer Division, during the invasion of France. His leadership qualities, charisma and mental strength gave him the nickname ‘The Desert Fox.’ Later on, due to his improving stats and performances, he was laden with responsibility of commanding the German Forces, which were retaliating against the invasion in Normandy. After Hitler had him killed, he was given an honorable funeral.