Hermann Foertsch

Last updated
Hermann Foertsch
Hermann Foertsch.jpg
Born4 April 1895
Drahnow, Deutsch-Krone
Died27 December 1961(1961-12-27) (aged 66)
AllegianceFlag of the German Empire.svg  German Empire (to 1918)
Flag of Germany (3-2 aspect ratio).svg  Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Army (Wehrmacht)
Years of service1913–45
Rank General of the Infantry
Commands heldChief of General Staff of Army Group F X. Armeekorps
19th Army
1st Army
Battles/wars World War I

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Relations Friedrich Foertsch (brother)

Hermann Foertsch (4 April 1895 – 27 December 1961) was a German general during World War II who held commands at the divisional, corps and army levels. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany.


Foertsch was tried at the Hostages Trial in 1947. The trial resulted in Foertsch's acquittal because he was a staff officer at the time that the criminal orders were transmitted.

Hostages trial

As a chief of staff for several generals commanding Wehrmacht forces in occupied Greece and Yugoslavia, Foertsch passed on orders to subordinate units to take hostages or conduct reprisals. These orders were deemed criminal by the Tribunal, but staff officers were not considered culpable unless they drafted such criminal orders or made a special effort to distribute them to the troops that carried them out. Citing a lack of evidence of a commission of an unlawful act, the Tribunal acquitted Foertsch of war crimes. [1]

Later life

After his acquittal, Foertsch collaborated with Hans Speidel in the development of concepts for Germany's rearmament many years before the official foundation of the Bundeswehr, the German army, in 1955. [2] In 1950, Foertsch was the leading member of the select group of former Wehrmacht high-ranking officers invited by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to take part in the conference to discuss West Germany's rearmament (Wiederbewaffnung ). The conference resulted in the Himmerod memorandum that contributed to the myth of the "clean Wehrmacht". [3] Foertsch was involved in the establishment of the European anti-communist organisation Interdoc. [4]

Awards and decorations

See also

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  1. Heberer & Matthäus 2008, p. 99.
  2. Critchfield, James H. Partners at the Creation: The Men Behind Postwar Germany's Defense and Intelligence Establishments. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2003. p.220.
  3. Wette 2007, pp. 236–238.
  4. Scott-Smith p.357.
  5. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 154.


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945[The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN   978-3-7909-0284-6.
  • Heberer, Patricia; Matthäus, Jürgen (2008). Atrocities on Trial: Historical Perspectives on the Politics of Prosecuting War Crimes . University of Nebraska Press. ISBN   978-0-8032-1084-4 . Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  • Scott-Smith, Giles. Interdoc and West European Psychological Warfare: The American Connection. Intelligence and National Security Vol. 26, Nos. 2–3, 355–376, April–June 2011.
  • Wette, Wolfram (2007). The Wehrmacht: History, Myth, Reality . Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN   9780674025776.
Military offices
Preceded by
Chief of General Staff of Heeresgruppe F
12 August 1943 - 15 March 1944
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant August Winter
Preceded by
Generalmajor Franz Sensfuß
Commander of 21. Infanterie-Division
28 March 1944 - 22 August 1944
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Heinrich Götz
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Friedrich Köchling
Commander of X. Armeekorps
21 September 1944 - 21 December 1944
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Dr. Ing. Dr. Johannes Mayer
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Siegfried Rasp
Commander of 19. Armee
15 February 1945 - 28 February 1945
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Hans von Obstfelder
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Hans von Obstfelder
Commander of 1. Armee
28 February 1945 - 6 May 1945
Succeeded by
General der Kavallerie Rudolf Koch-Erpach