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|Oberkommando des Heeres|
Command flag from 1938 to 1942
|Disbanded||23 May 1945|
|Part of||Oberkommando der Wehrmacht|
|Chief of the General Staff||Wilhelm Keitel|
|Command flag 1936-38|
|Command flag 1938-42|
The Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) was the High Command (lit. Upper 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 (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, High Command of the Air Force) and OKM (Oberkommando der Marine, High Command of the Navy), formally subordinated to the OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, High Command of the Armed Forces), 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 (Supreme Commander of the Army). 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.
The German Army was the land forces component of the Wehrmacht, the regular German Armed Forces, from 1935 until it was demobilized and later dissolved in August 1946. During World War II, a total of about 13 million soldiers served in the German Army. Germany's army personnel were made up of volunteers and conscripts.
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.
Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.
Hitler had been the head of OKW since January 1938, using it to pass orders to the navy (OKM), air force (OKL), and army (OKH). After a major crisis developed in the Battle of Moscow, Walther von Brauchitsch was dismissed (partly because of his failing health), and Hitler appointed himself as head of the OKH while still retaining his position at the OKW. At the same time, he limited the OKH's authority to the Russian front, giving OKW direct authority over army units elsewhere. This enabled Hitler to declare that only he had complete awareness of Germany's strategic situation, should any general request a transfer of resources between the Russian front and another theater of operations.
The Kriegsmarine was the navy of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It superseded the Imperial German Navy of the German Empire (1871–1918) and the inter-war Reichsmarine (1919–1935) of the Weimar Republic. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches, along with the Heer (Army) and the Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht, the German armed forces from 1933 to 1945.
The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare branch of the combined German Wehrmacht military forces during World War II. Germany's military air arms during World War I, the Luftstreitkräfte of the Army and the Marine-Fliegerabteilung of the Navy, had been disbanded in May 1920 as a result of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which stated that Germany was forbidden to have any air force.
The Battle of Moscow was a military campaign that consisted of two periods of strategically significant fighting on a 600 km (370 mi) sector of the Eastern Front during World War II. It took place between October 1941 and January 1942. The Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitler's attack on Moscow, the capital and largest city of the Soviet Union. Moscow was one of the primary military and political objectives for Axis forces in their invasion of the Soviet Union.
The Supreme Commander of the Army (German : Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres) was the head of the OKH and commander-in-chief of the German Army during the years of the Nazi regime. Supreme Commanders of the Army were:
German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.
A commander-in-chief, sometimes also called supreme commander, is the person that exercises supreme command and control over an armed forces or a military branch. As a technical term, it refers to military competencies that reside in a country's executive leadership – a head of state or a head of government.
|№||Officeholders||Took office||Left office||Time in office|
Werner von Fritsch
|1 January 1934||4 February 1938||years, 34 days4|
Walther von Brauchitsch
|4 February 1938||19 December 1941||years, 318 days3|
|3||Führer and Reich Chancellor|
|19 December 1941||30 April 1945 †||years, 132 days3|
|30 April 1945||8 May 1945||days8|
The Chiefs of the OKH General Staff (German: Chef des Generalstabes des Heeres) were:
|№||Chief of Staff||Took office||Left office||Time in office|
|1 July 1935||31 August 1938||years, 61 days3|
|1 September 1938||24 September 1942||years, 23 days4|
|24 September 1942||10 June 1944||year, 260 days1|
|10 June 1944||21 July 1944||days41|
|21 July 1944||28 March 1945||days250|
|6||General of the Infantry|
|1 April 1945||1 May 1945 †||days30|
|1 May 1945||13 May 1945||days12|
|13 May 1945||23 May 1945||days10|
Although both OKW and OKH were headquartered in Zossen during the Third Reich, the functional and operational independence of both establishments were not lost on the respective staff during their tenure. Personnel at the sprawling Zossen compound remarked that even if Maybach 2 (the OKW complex) was completely destroyed, the OKH staff in Maybach 1 would scarcely notice. These camouflaged facilities, separated physically by a fence, also maintained structurally different mindsets towards their objectives.
Zossen is a German town in the district of Teltow-Fläming in Brandenburg, approximately 20 miles (30 km) south of Berlin, and next to the B96 highway. Zossen consists of several smaller municipalities, which were grouped together in 2003 to form the city.
On 28 April 1945 (two days before his suicide), Hitler formally subordinated OKH to OKW, giving the latter command of forces on the Eastern Front.
Adolf Hitler was a German politician who was the leader of the Nazi Party, Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and Führer ("Leader") of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. He killed himself by gunshot on 30 April 1945 in his Führerbunker in Berlin. Eva Braun, his wife of one day, committed suicide with him by taking cyanide. In accordance with Hitler's prior written and verbal instructions, that afternoon their remains were carried up the stairs through the bunker's emergency exit, doused in petrol, and set alight in the Reich Chancellery garden outside the bunker. Records in the Soviet archives show that their burnt remains were recovered and interred in successive locations until 1946. In 1970, they were again exhumed, cremated, and the ashes scattered.
Maybach I and II were a series of above and underground bunkers built 20 kilometres south of Berlin in Wünsdorf near Zossen, Brandenburg to house the High Command of the Army and the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces during the Second World War. Along with the military fortress complex Zossen, Maybach I and II were instrumental locations from which central planning for field operations of the Wehrmacht took place, and they provided a key connection between Berlin’s military and civilian leadership to the front lines of battle. The complex was named after the Maybach automobile engine.
The Oberste Heeresleitung was the highest echelon of command of the army (Heer) of the German Empire. In the latter part of World War I, the Third OHL assumed dictatorial powers and became the de facto political authority in the empire.
The German Empire, also known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.
The Oberkommando der Wehrmacht was the High Command of the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. Created in 1938, the OKW had nominal oversight over the Heer (Army), the Kriegsmarine (Navy), and the Luftwaffe.
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.
Ferdinand Schörner was a general and later Field Marshal in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He commanded several army groups and was the last Commander-in-chief of the German Army.
The Blomberg–Fritsch affair, also known as the Blomberg–Fritsch crisis, was two related scandals in early 1938 that resulted in the subjugation of the German Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) to dictator Adolf Hitler. As documented in the Hossbach Memorandum, Hitler had been dissatisfied with the two high-ranking military officials concerned, Werner von Blomberg and Werner von Fritsch, and he regarded them as too hesitant towards the war preparations that he was demanding. Hitler took further advantage of the situation by replacing several generals and ministers with men more loyal to him.
Franz Halder was a German general and the chief of the Oberkommando des Heeres staff from 1938 until September 1942, when he was dismissed after frequent disagreements with Adolf Hitler. During the invasion of the Soviet Union Halder insisted on focusing on Moscow, despite Hitler's objections. Until December 1941 Halder's military position corresponded to the old Chief of the General Staff position, which during World War I had been the highest military office in the German Imperial Army. Halder's diary during his time as chief of OKH General Staff has been a source for authors that have written about such subjects as Hitler, World War II, and the Nazi Party. In William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Halder's diary is cited hundreds of times.
The Oberkommando der Marine (OKM), translated as High Command of the Navy or Upper Command of the Navy, was the high command and the highest administrative and command authority of the Kriegsmarine. It was officially formed from the Marineleitung of the Reichswehr on 11 January 1936. In 1937 it was combined with the newly formed Seekriegsleitung (SKL). There were two major re-organisations, in November 1939 and May 1944.
Walther Heinrich Alfred Hermann von Brauchitsch was a German field marshal and the Commander-in-Chief of the German Army during the Nazi era. Born into an aristocratic military family, Brauchitsch entered army service in 1901. During World War I, he served with distinction on the corps- and division-level staff on the Western Front.
The phrase high command may refer to:
Friedrich Fromm was a German army officer. In World War II, Fromm was Commander in Chief of the Reserve Army (Ersatzheer), in charge of training and personnel replacement for combat divisions of the German Army, a position he occupied for most of the war. A recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, he was executed for failing to act against the plot of 20 July 1944 to assassinate Hitler.
The Federal Ministry of Defence, abbreviated BMVg, is a top-level federal agency, headed by the Federal Minister of Defence as a member of the Cabinet of Germany. The ministry is headquartered at the Hardthöhe district in Bonn and has a second office in the Bendlerblock building in Berlin.
The Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL), translated as the High Command of the Air Force, was the high command of the Luftwaffe.
The Bendlerblock is a building complex in the Tiergarten district of Berlin, Germany, located on Stauffenbergstraße. Erected in 1914 as headquarters of several Imperial German Navy offices, it served the Ministry of the Reichswehr after World War I. Significantly enlarged under Nazi rule, it was used by several departments of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) from 1938, especially the Oberkommando des Heeres and the Abwehr intelligence agency.
Rudolf Veiel was a German general during World War II.
German High Command may refer to:
German code breaking in World War II achieved some notable successes cracking British Naval ciphers until well into the fourth year of the war, but also suffered from a problem typical of the German armed forces of the time: numerous branches and institutions maintained their own cryptographic departments, working on their own without collaboration or sharing results with equivalent units. This led to duplicated effort, to a fragmentation of potential, and to lower efficiency than might have been achieved. There was no central German cryptography agency comparable to the British Bletchley Park facility.
The Führerreserve was set up in 1939 as a pool of temporarily unoccupied high military officers waiting for new assignments in the German Armed Forces during World War II. The various military branches and army groups each had their own pools that they could use as they saw fit. The officers were required to remain at their assigned stations and be available to their superiors, but could not exercise any command function, which was equivalent to a temporary retirement while retaining their previous income. Especially in the second half of the war, more and more politically problematic, troublesome, or militarily incompetent officers were assigned to the Führerreserve.
In the history of Germany, the Ministry of the Reichswehr or Reich Ministry of Defence was the defence ministry of the Weimar Republic and the early Third Reich. The 1919 Weimar Constitution provided for a unified, national ministry of defence to coordinate the new Reichswehr, and that ministry was set up in October 1919, from the existing Prussian War Ministry and Reichsmarineamt. It was based in the Bendlerblock building. The Wehrgesetz of 21 May 1935 renamed it the Reichskriegsministerium, which was then abolished in 1938 and replaced with the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht.
Alfred Gause was a German general during World War II.
The Führersonderzug was Adolf Hitler's personal train. It was named Führersonderzug "Amerika" in 1940, and later in January 1943, the Führersonderzug "Brandenburg". The train served as a headquarters until the Balkans Campaign. Afterwards, the train was not used as Führer Headquarters, however Hitler continued to travel on it throughout the war between Berlin, Berchtesgaden, Munich and other headquarters.