|Born||4 April 1895|
|Died||27 December 1961 66)(aged|
|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, 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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.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". Foertsch was involved in the establishment of the European anti-communist organisation Interdoc.
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.
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 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.
Generalleutnant, short GenLt, is the second highest general officer rank in the German Army (Heer) and the German Air Force (Luftwaffe).
Alfons Vilhelm Robert Rebane, known simply as Alfons Rebane was an Estonian military commander. He was the most highly decorated Estonian military officer during World War II, serving in various Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS units of Nazi Germany.
Georg 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.
Wilhelm List was a German field marshal during World War II who was convicted as a war criminal by an US Army tribunal after the war.
Otto-Ernst Remer was a German soldier in World War 2 who played a minor role in stopping the "20 July plot" in 1944 against Adolf Hitler. In his later years he became a politician and far right activist. He co-founded the Socialist Reich Party in West Germany in the 1950's, and is considered an influential figure in post-war neo-Fascist politics in Germany.
Franz Friedrich Böhme was an Austrian general in the Wehrmacht during World War II, serving as Commander of the XVIII Mountain Corps, Hitler's Plenipotentiary Commanding General in the Balkans, and commander-in-chief in German-occupied Norway during World War II. Böhme was arrested for trial by a US Army Tribunal in Nuremberg in the Hostages Trial on a charge of having massacred thousands of Serbian civilians. He committed suicide in prison.
Hans von Salmuth was a German general and war criminal during World War II. Salmuth commanded several armies on the Eastern Front, and the Fifteenth Army in France during the D-Day invasion. Following the war, he was tried in the High Command Trial, as part of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials. He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to 20 years. He was released in 1953.
Friedrich Oskar Ruge was an officer in the German Navy and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany. He served as the first commander of the post-war German Navy.
Friedrich Albert Foertsch was a German general serving during World War II and from 1961 to 1963 the second Inspector General of the Bundeswehr.
Karl-Adolf Hollidt was a German army commander and war criminal during World War II. He was a general (generaloberst) in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany who commanded the 6th Army.
Walter Kuntze was a German general and war criminal during World War II who commanded the 12th Army. He was the commanding officer responsible for the execution of men and teenage boys in the Kragujevac massacre, when Serbian civilians were murdered in reprisal for an attack on German troops, at the ratio of one hundred Serbs for every German soldier killed. Kuntze was assigned Deputy Wehrmacht Commander Southeast and Commander-in-Chief of the 12th Army on October 29. This was a temporary appointment, until Wilhelm List could return to duty. On October 31, Franz Böhme submitted a report to Kuntze in which he detailed the shootings in Serbia:
Ernst von Leyser was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II who commanded several army corps.
Johann-Georg Richert was a German general during World War II. He commanded the 286th Security Division whose personnel committed numerous war crimes in occupied Belarus, in the Army Group Center Rear Area.
Ernst Dehner was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. In 1948 he was found guilty of war crimes at the Hostages Trial and was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment, but was released in 1951.
Helmut Beck-Broichsitter was a German military police officer during World War II. Following the war, Beck-Broichsitter was involved in several neo-Nazi movements.
Siegfried Westphal was a German general in the Wehrmacht during World War II. He served as operations officer under Rommel and chief of staff under Kesselring and Rundstedt. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany.
The Himmerod memorandum was a 40-page document produced following a 1950 secret meeting of former Wehrmacht high-ranking officers invited by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to the Himmerod Abbey to discuss West Germany's Wiederbewaffnung (rearmament). The resulting document laid foundation for the establishment of the new army (Bundeswehr) of the Federal Republic.
The term Clean Wehrmacht, Clean Wehrmacht legend, or Wehrmacht's "clean hands" denotes the myth that the Wehrmacht was an apolitical organization along the lines of its predecessor, the Reichswehr, and was largely innocent of Nazi Germany's war crimes and crimes against humanity, behaving in a similar manner to the armed forces of the Western Allies. This narrative is false, as shown by the Wehrmacht's own documents, such as the records detailing the executions of Red Army commissars by frontline divisions, in violation of the laws of war. While the Wehrmacht largely treated British and American POWs in accordance with these laws, they routinely enslaved, starved, shot, or otherwise abused and murdered Polish, Soviet, and Yugoslav civilians and prisoners of war. Wehrmacht units also participated in the mass murder of Jews and others.
The Wehrmacht: History, Myth, Reality is a 2002 book by German historian Wolfram Wette which dealt with the issue of Wehrmacht's criminality during World War II and the legend of its "clean hands". The original German-language book was translated into five languages; the English edition was published in 2006 by Harvard University Press. Building on Omer Bartov's 1985 study The Eastern Front, 1941–1945: German Troops and the Barbarisation of Warfare, the book deconstructs the myth of the clean Wehrmacht.
Hitler's Generals on Trial: The Last War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg is a 2010 book by Canadian historian Valerie Hébert dealing with the High Command Trial of 1947–1948. The book covers the criminal case against the defendants, all high-ranking officers of the armed forces of Nazi Germany, as well as the wider societal and historical implications of the trial. The book received generally positive reviews for its mastery of the subject and thorough assessment of the legacy of the trial.
Eberhard Herf (1887–1946) was a German police official and war criminal during the Nazi era. He commanded Police Regiment North and Order Police units in Minsk, Belarus. Following the war, Herf was convicted in the Minsk Trial and executed.
Walther-Peer Fellgiebel was a German author and a key member of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients.
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.
| Chief of General Staff of Heeresgruppe F |
12 August 1943 - 15 March 1944
| Succeeded by|
Generalleutnant August Winter
Generalmajor Franz Sensfuß
| Commander of 21. Infanterie-Division |
28 March 1944 - 22 August 1944
| Succeeded by|
Generalmajor Heinrich Götz
General der Infanterie Friedrich Köchling
| Commander of X. Armeekorps |
21 September 1944 - 21 December 1944
| Succeeded by|
Generalleutnant Dr. Ing. Dr. Johannes Mayer
General der Infanterie Siegfried Rasp
| Commander of 19. Armee |
15 February 1945 - 28 February 1945
| Succeeded by|
General der Infanterie Hans von Obstfelder
General der Infanterie Hans von Obstfelder
| Commander of 1. Armee |
28 February 1945 - 6 May 1945
| Succeeded by|
General der Kavallerie Rudolf Koch-Erpach