Hermann Foertsch

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Hermann Foertsch
Hermann Foertsch.jpg
Born 4 April 1895
Died 27 December 1961(1961-12-27) (aged 66)
AllegianceFlag of German Reich (1935-1945).svg  Nazi Germany
Service/branch Army (Wehrmacht)
Rank General of the Infantry
Commands held Chief of General Staff of Army Group F
Battles/wars Invasion of Yugoslavia
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.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Knights Cross of the Iron Cross military award of Nazi Germany

The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, or simply the Knight's Cross, and its variants were the highest awards in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II.

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.


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 trial

The Hostages Trial was held from 8 July 1947 until 19 February 1948 and was the seventh of the twelve trials for war crimes the U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany in Nuremberg after the end of World War II. These twelve trials were all held before U.S. military courts, not before the International Military Tribunal, but took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice. The twelve U.S. trials are collectively known as the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials" or, more formally, as the "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals" (NMT).

Hostages trial

As a chief of staff for several generals commanding Wehrmacht forces in Greece and Yugoslavia, Foertsch passed on orders to subordinate units to take hostages or conduct reprisals. These orders were deemed criminal in 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. 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]

Hans Speidel German general

Hans Speidel was a German general during the Second World War and the Cold War, who served as Supreme Commander of the NATO ground forces in Central Europe from 1957 to 1963.

<i>Bundeswehr</i> unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities

The Bundeswehr is the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities. The States of Germany are not allowed to maintain armed forces of their own, since the German Constitution states that matters of defense fall into the sole responsibility of the federal government.

Konrad Adenauer German statesman, Federal Chancellor of Germany, politician (CDU)

Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman who served as the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1963. He was co-founder and first leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a Christian Democratic party that under his leadership became one of the most influential parties in the country.

Awards and decorations

Generalleutnant, short GenLt, is the second highest general officer rank in the German Army (Heer) and the German Air Force (Luftwaffe).

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.


Walther-Peer Fellgiebel Recipient of the Knights Cross

Walther-Peer Fellgiebel was a German author and a key member of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

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