×
Home Intro People Events Equipment Places Maps Books Photos Videos Other Reference FAQ About
     

World War II Database

Walther von Brauchitsch file photo [31891]

Walther von Brauchitsch

SurnameBrauchitsch
Given NameWalther
Born4 Oct 1881
Died18 Oct 1948
CountryGermany
CategoryMilitary-Ground
GenderMale

Contributor:

ww2dbaseWalther Heinrich Alfred Hermann von Brauchitsch was born in Berlin, Germany in 1881 to cavalry general Bernhard Eduard von Brauchitsch and his wife Charlotte Bertha von Gordon. His interest in politics led to his father enrolling him at the Franz├Âsisches Gymnasium Berlin, but upon graduation, he would follow the family military tradition by joining the military academy in Potsdam, Germany in 1895. He transferred to the Royal Prussian Main Cadet Institute (Preu├čische Hauptkadettenanstalt) in Gro├č-Lichterfelde near Berlin. As a student near the top of his class, he was chosen by Empress Augusta Victoria, consort of Emperor Wilhelm II, as a page. Upon graduation in 1900, he was commissioned as a lieutenant into the infantry of the German military. He was later transferred to the less physically demanding artillery due to health reasons. He later joined the General Staff office in Berlin, where he was promoted to first lieutenant in 1909. He married Elizabeth von Karstedt in 1910; they would have two sons and a daughter together. During WW1, he was with the 34th Infantry Division and the Guards Reserve Corps, and participated in a number of battles. He was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class and the House Order of the Hohenzollern. He rose to the rank of major by the end of WW1. He remained in the German military after WW1, initially attached to the General Staff, was transferred to the 2nd Artillery Regiment in 1920, and was assigned to the Artillery Department of Ministry of Reichswehr in 1921 where he developed new artillery doctrine based on his WW1 experience. In 1925, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. In Nov 1927, he was made Chief of Staff of the 6th Infantry Division based in M├╝nster, Germany. He was promoted to the rank of colonel in 1928, and was placed in charge of the German Army's Training Department. In Oct 1931, he was promoted to the rank of major general. In Feb 1933, after the Nazi Party came to power, he was made the commanding officer of the East Prussian Military District (Wehrkreis I) and Chief of the 1st Division based in K├Ânigsberg, Germany. In Oct 1933, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. In Jun 1935, he was made the commanding officer of the 1st Army Corps. In 1936, he was promoted to the rank of general of the artillery. In Feb 1938, he was promoted to the rank of colonel general and succeeded Werner von Fritsch as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army by appointment of Adolf Hitler. He had a friendly relationship with Hitler, who recommended him to divorce his wife and marry his mistress Charlotte Rueffer, and lending him large sums of money. He personally opposed Hitler's transgressions in Austria and Czechoslovakia, but remained quiet. In Apr 1939, he was awarded the Golden Party Badge by Hitler. In May 1939, he inspected the Italian military installations in Libya and in La Spezia, Italy.

ww2dbaseThe European War of WW2 began in Sep 1939, and Brauchitsch oversaw most of the plans in the German conquest of Poland. He supported harsh measures to suppress the Polish people as means to secure Polish land for Germany. In early Nov 1939, he began speaking with Chief of the General Staff Franz Halder on the possibility of overthrowing Hitler should Hitler insist on invading France later that month, something Brauchitsch and Halder considered to be a doomed venture. During a meeting on 5 Nov 1939, Brauchitsch voiced the Army's recommendation against invading France, which angered Hitler, but two days later Hitler would order the postponement of an invasion of France, which removed the primary motivation for Halder and Brauchitsch's plans for mutiny. Although he initially had no faith in the invasion plan for France drafted by General Erich von Manstein, Manstein managed to gain Hitler's personal approval for the plan, which forced Brauchitsch to carry out. Brauchitsch ultimately saw the potentials for the plan, and carried it out successfully. For his role in leading the German Army in the victory over France, he was promoted to the rank of field marshal in Jul 1940. In Apr 1941, he played a leading role in the German successes in Yugoslavia and Greece. In Jun 1941, he again played a key leading role in the invasion of the one-time German ally, the Soviet Union. Similar to his sentiment after the conquest of Poland, he supported the government policies that imposed harsh, often deadly, suppression against the conquered peoples. He showed signs of deteriorating health during the start of the Battle of Moscow, and Germany's inability to take the Soviet capital only added stress. He suffered a heart attack in Nov 1941, and was informed that he suffered from a incurable heart disease. As the German troops began to fall back from Moscow, Hitler placed on him the blame of defeat, and thus dismissed him as Commander-in-Chief of the German Army on 19 Dec 1941. Transferred to the reserve, he moved to the Brdy mountains southwest of Prague, Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, ie. occupied Czechoslovakia, and played no further roles in the war. After the failed 20 July plot, he made a rare public statement condemning the attempt; he later revealed to Halder that he was forced to make such a statement in order to save a relative's life.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, Brauchitsch was arrested by the British on war crimes committed during the German invasion of the Soviet Union. He was imprisoned in Camp 198 in Bridgend, Wales, United Kingdom until he was brought to Germany for trial. He passed away from bronchial pneumonia in the British Military Hospital Hamburg (now Bundeswehrkrankenhaus Hamburg) in Germany in Oct 1948 before his trial began.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Jun 2022

Walther von Brauchitsch Interactive Map

Walther von Brauchitsch Timeline

4 Oct 1881 Walther von Brauchitsch was born in Berlin, Germany.
22 Mar 1900 Walther von Brauchitsch was promoted to the rank of 2nd lieutenant (leutnant).
18 Oct 1909 Walther von Brauchitsch was promoted to the rank of 1st lieutenant (oberleutnant).
18 Dec 1913 Walther von Brauchitsch was promoted to the rank of captain (hauptmann).
13 Sep 1914 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class.
7 May 1915 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the W├╝rttemberg Friedrich Order with Swords.
1 Oct 1915 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class.
15 May 1917 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Knight's Cross of the House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords.
2 Jan 1918 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Saxe-Meiningen Honour Cross for War Merit.
15 Jul 1918 Walther von Brauchitsch was promoted to the rank of major.
17 Apr 1920 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Service Award for 25 years of military service.
1 Jun 1923 Walther von Brauchitsch was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel (oberstleutnant).
1 Nov 1927 Walther von Brauchitsch was made the Chief of Staff of the 6th Infantry Division based in M├╝nster, Germany.
1 Apr 1928 Walther von Brauchitsch was promoted to the rank of colonel (oberst).
1 Oct 1931 Walther von Brauchitsch was promoted to the rank of major general (generalmajor).
1 Feb 1933 Walther von Brauchitsch was made the commanding officer of the East Prussian Military District (Wehrkreis I) and Chief of the 1st Division based in K├Ânigsberg, Germany.
1 Oct 1933 Walther von Brauchitsch was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general (generalleutnant).
18 Dec 1934 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918.
21 Jun 1935 Walther von Brauchitsch was made the commanding officer of the 1st Army Corps.
1 Oct 1935 Walther von Brauchitsch was promoted to the rank of General der Artillerie.
2 Oct 1936 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Wehrmacht Long Service Award 1st Class.
4 Feb 1938 Walther von Brauchitsch was promoted to the rank of colonel general (generaloberst) and was made the Commander-in-Chief of the German Army.
3 Jun 1938 Ludwig Beck sent a message to German Army chief Walther von Brauchitsch, noting his concern that an invasion of Czechoslovakia would trigger military reaction by the western powers, which would spell doom for Germany.
16 Jul 1938 Ludwig Beck sent another message to German Army chief Walther von Brauchitsch, noting his concern that an invasion of Czechoslovakia would trigger military reaction by the western powers, which would spell doom for Germany. He also included in this message that Brauchitsch should incite German Army generals to resign en masse in protest of Adolf Hitler's reckless invasion plan.
19 Jul 1938 Ludwig Beck met with German Army chief Walther von Brauchitsch, attempting to persuade him to use his influence to put a stop to the invasion of Czechoslovakia. He also offered suggestions on what he thought Adolf Hitler's government should be doing, mainly social and civil concerns, instead of provoking war at this stage of Germany's rearmament.
20 Aug 1938 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Order of Merit of the Kingdom of Hungary 1st Class.
5 Sep 1938 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Star of the German Red Cross Decoration.
24 Sep 1938 German Army chief Walther von Brauchitsch married Charlotte Rueffer.
3 Jan 1939 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus of Italy.
10 Mar 1939 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose of Finland.
20 Apr 1939 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Golden Party Badge.
1 Jun 1939 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Order of the Yugoslav Crown 1st Class.
7 Jun 1939 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Sudetenland Medal with Clasp.
30 Sep 1939 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Clasps to his Iron Cross 2nd Class and 1st Class medals as well as the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross.
5 Nov 1939 A plot to arrest or even kill Adolf Hitler, hatched by of his most senior military staff, collapsed. Led by General Franz Halder, the architect of the invasion of Poland, many Generals were appalled by Hitler's plans to continue the conflict by invading Belgium and the Netherlands and feared that the adventure would founder in another Great War quagmire. Walther von Brauchitsch, who met with Hitler and was supposed to be the one to issue the order for his arrest, got cold feet and lost the opportunity to prevent Hitler from plunging Europe into another World War. However one of the conspirators, Colonel Hans Oster of German Military Intelligence, tipped off the Dutch and Belgians about Hitler's invasion intentions.
19 Jul 1940 Walther von Brauchitsch was promoted to the rank of field marshal (generalfeldmarschall) at the Kroll Opera House in Berlin, Germany.
14 Aug 1940 Adolf Hitler heard from Walther von Brauchitsch, who insisted that the German Army would like to attack Britain on a wide front with four or more main landing sites.
9 Sep 1940 Walther von Brauchitsch issued a plan for the future military occupation of Britain which, among other things, called for the rounding up of males between the age of 17 and 35 to be sent to continental Europe as forced laborers and the systematic looting of British goods; this type of harsh treatment was not even implemented in German-occupied Poland at this time.
19 Mar 1941 Erwin Rommel met with Adolf Hitler, Generalfeldmarschall Walther von Brauchitsch, and Chief of Staff General Franz Halder. Rommel was told to expect no reinforcements in Libya until May, when the German 15th Panzer Division would be assigned to him.
15 May 1941 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Saint Alexander of Bulgaria with Swords.
31 May 1941 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Kingdom of Hungary with Swords.
13 Jun 1941 Walther von Brauchitsch returned to Berlin, Germany from an inspection of invasion forces in Poland.
11 Oct 1941 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Michael the Brave of Romania.
20 Oct 1941 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Victory Cross 1st Class of Slovankia.
10 Nov 1941 Walther von Brauchitsch suffered a heart attack.
7 Dec 1941 After suffering a heart attack, Walther von Brauchitsch tendered his resignation.
17 Dec 1941 Walther von Brauchitsch again requested permission for him to resign due to health reasons.
18 Dec 1941 Adolf Hitler finally accepted Walther von Brauchitsch's resignation, and took personal command of the Army and all Eastern Front operations. He fired Feldmarschall Fedor von Bock, replacing him with G├╝nther von Kluge.
19 Jul 1942 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Liberty of Finland.
26 Sep 1942 Walther von Brauchitsch was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun 1st Class of Japan.
18 Oct 1948 Walther von Brauchitsch passed away from bronchial pneumonia in the British Military Hospital in Hamburg, Germany.

Photographs

Luftwaffe Day parade in front of Reich Air Ministry building on Wilhelmstra├če, Berlin, Germany, 1 Mar 1938; note G├Âring, Christiansen, Lutze, Rust, Brauchitsch, Milch, and Raeder in attendanceErhard Milch, Wilhelm Keitel, Walther von Brauchitsch, Erich Raeder, and Maximilian von Weichs during a Nazi rally in Nuremberg, Germany, 12 Sep 1938
See all 11 photographs of Walther von Brauchitsch



Did you enjoy this article or find this article helpful? If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:

 Facebook
 Reddit
 Twitter

Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds




Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments
Security Code
 

 

Notes:

1. We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

2. For inquiries about military records for members of the World War II armed forces, please see our FAQ.

Change View
Desktop View

Search WW2DB & Partner Sites
More on Walther von Brauchitsch
Event(s) Participated:
» Invasion of Poland
» Invasion of France and the Low Countries
» Balkans Campaign
» Operation Barbarossa

Walther von Brauchitsch Photo Gallery
Luftwaffe Day parade in front of Reich Air Ministry building on Wilhelmstra├če, Berlin, Germany, 1 Mar 1938; note G├Âring, Christiansen, Lutze, Rust, Brauchitsch, Milch, and Raeder in attendanceErhard Milch, Wilhelm Keitel, Walther von Brauchitsch, Erich Raeder, and Maximilian von Weichs during a Nazi rally in Nuremberg, Germany, 12 Sep 1938
See all 11 photographs of Walther von Brauchitsch


Famous WW2 Quote
"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You win the war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country!"

George Patton, 31 May 1944


Support Us

Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 a month will go a long way. Thank you!

Or, please support us by purchasing some WW2DB merchandise at TeeSpring, Thank you!