Generalfeldmarschall (English: general field marshal, field marshal general, or field marshal ;
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(November 2019)
The rank existed in the Austrian Empire as Kaiserlicher Feldmarschall ("imperial field marshal") and in Austria-Hungary as Kaiserlicher und königlicher Feldmarschall - Császári és királyi tárbornagy ("imperial and royal field marshal"). Both were based on prior usage during the Holy Roman Empire. The Emperor-King held the rank ex officio , other officers were promoted as required. Between 1914 and 1918, ten men attained this rank, of whom four were members of the reigning Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty.
The rank of Field Marshall was first used in the northern German State of Saxony within the Holy Roman Empire in 1631. It was then used nine further times in that century and seven times in the 18th century. It was used twice in the 19th century by the Kingdom of Saxony after it became part of the German Empire in 1871.
In the Prussian Army, the Imperial German Army and later in the Wehrmacht , the rank of Generalfeldmarschall had several privileges, such as elevation to nobility, equal protocol rank with cabinet ministers, the right of reporting directly to the monarch, and a constant escort.
In 1854, the rank of colonel general (German : Generaloberst ) was created in order to promote William, Prince of Prussia (the later William I, German Emperor) to senior rank without breaking the rule that only wartime field commanders could receive the rank of field marshal for a victory in a decisive battle or the capture of a fortification or major town. The equivalent of colonel-general in the German Navy was the rank of Generaladmiral ("general admiral" or "admiral-general").
In 1870 Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia and Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm—who had commanded armies during the Franco-Prussian War—became the first Prussian princes appointed as field marshals.
The exalted nature of the rank was underscored during World War I, when only five German officers (excluding honorary promotions to members of royal families and foreign officers) were designated Generalfeldmarschall: Paul von Hindenburg, August von Mackensen, Karl von Bülow, Hermann von Eichhorn, and Remus von Woyrsch. Only a single naval officer, Henning von Holtzendorff, was designated Grand Admiral. Not even such well-known German commanders as Erich Ludendorff, Erich von Falkenhayn, or Reinhard Scheer received marshal's batons or Grand Admiral rank.
|General field marshal|
Arabesque and Epaulette
on camouflage uniform
|Formation||20 April 1936|
|Next higher rank||Reichsmarschall|
|Next lower rank||Generaloberst|
Before World War II Hitler promoted War Minister Werner von Blomberg (20 April 1936) and Aviation Minister Hermann Göring (4 February 1938) to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. In the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II, the rank of Generalfeldmarschall remained the highest military rank until July 1940, when Hermann Göring was promoted to the newly created higher rank of Reichsmarschall . The equivalent of a Generalfeldmarschall in the navy was Großadmiral ("grand admiral").
Unlike Kaiser Wilhelm II, Adolf Hitler distributed the rank more widely, promoting 25 Heer and Luftwaffe officers in total and two Kriegsmarine Grand Admirals. (Another promotion, that of Austrian General Eduard von Böhm-Ermolli, was honorary.) Four weeks after the Heer and Luftwaffe had won the Battle of France, Hitler promoted twelve generals to the rank of field marshal on 19 July 1940: Walther von Brauchitsch, Wilhelm Keitel, Gerd von Rundstedt, Fedor von Bock, Wilhelm von Leeb, Wilhelm List, Günther von Kluge, Erwin von Witzleben and Walter von Reichenau (Heer); and Albert Kesselring, Erhard Milch and Hugo Sperrle (Luftwaffe).
In 1942, three other men were promoted—"Wüstenfuchs" (desert fox) Erwin Rommel (22 June) for the siege of Tobruk, Erich von Manstein (30 June) for the Siege of Sevastopol and Georg von Küchler (30 June) for his success as Oberbefehlshaber der Heeresgruppe Nord ("commander-in-chief of Army Group North").
Hitler promoted Friedrich Paulus—commander of the 6th Army at Stalingrad—to the rank of field marshal via field radio on 30 January 1943, a day before his army's inevitable surrender in order to encourage him to continue to fight until death or commit suicide.In the promotion Hitler noted that no German or, before that, Prussian field marshal had ever been captured alive . Paulus surrendered the following day anyway, claiming Ich habe nicht die Absicht, mich für diesen bayerischen Gefreiten zu erschießen ("I have no intention of shooting myself for this Bavarian corporal"). A disappointed Hitler commented, "That's the last field marshal I make in this war!" (In fact, he appointed seven more -- two on the very day after Paulus' surrender and the last just five days before his own suicide.)
Generalfeldmarschall was the highest regular general officer rank in the German Wehrmacht, comparable to NATO rank codes OF10, and to the five-star rank in anglophone armed forces. It was equivalent to Großadmiral of the German Kriegsmarine .
Financially the rank of Generalfeldmarschall in Nazi Germany was very rewarding as, apart from a yearly salary, Hitler introduced a tax free fringe benefits for generals in the range of ℛℳ 2,000 to 4,000 per month in 1940. He also bestowed generous presents on his highest officers, with Wilhelm von Leeb receiving ℛℳ 250,000 for his 65th birthday from Hitler.
Promotion to the rank did not guarantee Hitler's ongoing favor, however. As the tide of the war turned, Hitler took out his frustrations on his top commanders, relieving most of the Generalfeldmarschalls of duty before the war's conclusion. Bock, Brauchitsch, Leeb, and List were all relieved of their posts in 1942 for perceived failures during Operation Barbarossa and took no further active part in the war. Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist, Manstein and Sperrle were similarly retired in 1944 and Rundstedt and Maximilian von Weichs in March 1945. Grand Admiral Erich Raeder was retired in January 1943 following a fierce argument with Hitler over the future of the German surface fleet. Walther Model, one of Hitler's most successful commanders, had nevertheless lost the Fuhrer's confidence by war's end and committed suicide to avoid capture and likely trial as a war criminal. Milch was relieved after conspiring unsuccessfully to have Göring removed from command of the Luftwaffe, and even Göring himself was stripped of his offices and expelled from the Nazi Party in Hitler's last days. Ferdinand Schörner ignominiously abandoned his command to save himself in the war's last days. Kluge, Witzleben and Rommel were either executed or forced to commit suicide for their real or imagined roles in assassination plots against Hitler. By war's end, only Keitel, Kesselring, Robert Ritter von Greim and Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz were still in positions of military responsibility.
The National People's Army of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik or DDR (German Democratic Republic, i.e. East Germany) created the rank of Marshal of the German Democratic Republic on 25 March 1982. A general could be appointed to this rank by the State Council (Staatsrat; the head-of-state council of the GDR) during wartime or for exceptional military achievement; no one ever held the rank, however.
The ranks of Generalfeldmarschall, Generaloberst, Großadmiral and Generaladmiral no longer exist in the new German (until 1990 West German) Armed Forces, the Bundeswehr, which were created in 1956. Currently, the highest military grades in the Bundeswehr are general and admiral.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Bundeswehr is in peacetime, according to Article 65a of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (constitution), the civilian Federal Minister of Defence, who holds supreme command authority over all soldiers. In wartime, during the State of Defence, that supreme command authority is transferred to the Federal Chancellor. The Inspector General of the Bundeswehr is the military chief of defence and heads the Armed Forces Command Staff (German : Führungsstab der Streitkräfte).
The Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) was the High Command of the German Army during the Era of Nazi Germany. It was founded in 1935 as a part of Adolf Hitler's re-militarisation of Germany. From 1938 OKH was, together with OKL and OKM, formally subordinated to the OKW, with the exception of the Waffen-SS. During the war, OKH had the responsibility of strategic planning of Armies and Army Groups, while the General Staff of the OKH managed operational matters. Each German Army also had an Armeeoberkommando, Army Command, or AOK. Until the German defeat at Moscow in December 1941, OKH and its staff was de facto the most important unit within the German war planning. OKW then took over this function for theatres other than the German-Soviet front. OKH commander held the title Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres. Following the Battle of Moscow, after OKH commander Field Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch was excused, Hitler appointed himself as Commander-in-Chief of the Army.
Field marshal is the most senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer ranks. Usually it is the highest rank in an army and as such few persons are appointed to it. It is considered as a five-star rank (OF-10) in modern-day armed forces in many countries. Promotion to the rank of field marshal in many countries historically required extraordinary military achievement by a general. However, the rank has also been used as a divisional command rank and also as a brigade command rank. Examples of the different uses of the rank include Austria-Hungary, Pakistan, Prussia/Germany, India and Sri Lanka for an extraordinary achievement; Spain and Mexico for a divisional command ; and France, Portugal and Brazil for a brigade command.
Job Wilhelm Georg Erdmann Erwin von Witzleben was a German field marshal in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. A leading conspirator in the 20 July plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was designated to become Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht in a post-Nazi regime had the plot succeeded.
The German General Staff, originally the Prussian General Staff and officially Great General Staff, was a full-time body at the head of the Prussian Army and later, the German Army, responsible for the continuous study of all aspects of war, and for drawing up and reviewing plans for mobilization or campaign. It existed unofficially from 1806, and was formally established by law in 1814, the first general staff in existence. It was distinguished by the formal selection of its officers by intelligence and proven merit rather than patronage or wealth, and by the exhaustive and rigorously structured training which its staff officers undertook. Its rise and development gave the German armed forces a decisive strategic advantage over their adversaries for nearly a century and a half.
Wilhelm Josef Franz Ritter von Leeb was a German field marshal and war criminal in World War II. Leeb was a highly decorated officer in World War I and was awarded the Military Order of Max Joseph which granted him the title of nobility. In the Invasion of France, he commanded Army Group C, responsible for the breakthrough of the Maginot Line.
Georg Carl Wilhelm Friedrich von Küchler was a German field marshal and war criminal during World War II. He commanded the 18th Army and Army Group North during the Soviet-German war of 1941–1945.
Grand admiral is a historic naval rank, the highest rank in the several European navies that used it. It is best known for its use in Germany as Großadmiral. A comparable rank in modern navies is that of fleet admiral.
General admiral was a Danish, Dutch, German, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish naval rank. Its historic origin is a title high military or naval dignitaries of early modern Europe sometimes held, for example the (nominal) commander-in-chief of the Dutch Republic's navy.
Generaloberst, in English colonel general, was, in Germany and Austria-Hungary—the German Reichswehr and Wehrmacht, the Austro-Hungarian Common Army, and the East German National People's Army, as well as the respective police services—the second highest general officer rank, ranking as equal to a 4 star full general but below general field marshal. It was equivalent to Generaladmiral in the Kriegsmarine until 1945, or to Flottenadmiral in the Volksmarine until 1990. The rank was the highest ordinary military rank and the highest military rank awarded in peacetime; the higher rank of general field marshal was only awarded in wartime by the head of state. In general, a Generaloberst had the same privileges as a general field marshal.
Gefreiter is a German, Swiss and Austrian military rank that has existed since the 16th century. It is usually the second rank or grade to which an enlisted soldier, airman or sailor could be promoted.
Reichsmarschall, Marshal of the Reich, was the highest rank in the Luftwaffe of Nazi Germany during World War II.
Hans-Georg von Friedeburg was a German admiral, the deputy commander of the U-boat Forces of Nazi Germany and the second-to-last Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine. He was the only representative of the armed forces to be present at the signing of the German instruments of surrender in Luneburg Heath on 4 May 1945, in Reims on 7 May and in Berlin on 8 May 1945. Generaladmiral von Friedeburg committed suicide shortly afterwards, upon the dissolution of the Flensburg Government.
General is the highest rank of the German Army and German Air Force. As a four-star rank it is the equivalent to the rank of admiral in the German Navy.
Friedrich Karl Albert Dollmann was a German general during World War II who commanded the 7th Army during the Invasion of France and the early phases of the Allied invasion of Normandy until his death in June 1944.
The House Order of Hohenzollern was a dynastic order of knighthood of the House of Hohenzollern awarded to military commissioned officers and civilians of comparable status. Associated with the various versions of the order were crosses and medals which could be awarded to lower-ranking soldiers and civilians.
The Bavarian Military Merit Order was established on July 19, 1866 by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. It was the kingdom's main decoration for bravery and military merit for officers and higher-ranking officials. Civilians acting in support of the army were also made eligible for the decoration. The Military Merit Order ranked below the Military Order of Max Joseph (Militär-Max-Joseph-Orden), which was Bavaria's highest military honor for officers.
General der Artillerie may mean:
The 1940 Field Marshal Ceremony refers to a promotion ceremony held at the Kroll Opera House in Berlin in which Adolf Hitler promoted twelve generals to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall on 19 July 1940. It was the first occasion in World War II that Hitler appointed field marshals due to military achievements.