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Georg von Küchler
30 May 1881(1881-05-30) — 25 May 1968 (aged 86)
Georg von KBCchler.jpg

Georg von Küchler
Place of birth Philippsruhe castle near Hanau, Germany
Place of death Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Allegiance German Empire German Empire (1910 - 1918)
Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Years of service January 1900[1] - 1944
Rank Generalfeldmarschall
Commands held Army Group North (January 17, 1942)
Army Group North (January 1944)
Battles/wars World War II: Battle of the Netherlands, Battle of France, Siege of Leningrad
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Georg Karl Friedrich Wilhelm von Küchler (May 30, 1881 – May 25, 1968) was a German Field Marshal during the Second World War.

Contents

Early life

Georg von Küchler was born in Philippsruhe Castle near Hanau, Germany, on May 30, 1881. Little is known about Küchler’s early life and childhood. After attending cadet school, he entered the Imperial Army in 1900 and served in the 25th Field Artillery Regiment. After being promoted to First Lieutenant, he spent three years at the Prussian Military Academy (from 1910 to 1913), before joining the General Staff in Berlin. [2]

The First World War and Interwar Years

During the First World War he commanded an artillery battery on the Western Front and took part in the major offensives at the Somme and Verdun. In 1916 he became staff officer of the 206th Infantry Division. [3] In 1919 Küchler joined the Freikorps and fought the Red Army in Poland. After returning to Germany he joined the staff of the Juterbog Artillery School. Promoted to Colonel, Küchler became Deputy Commander of the 1st Infantry Division in East Prussia in 1932. [4] Küchler succeeded Walther von Brauchitsch as commander of Wehrkries I in 1937. The following year he supported Adolf Hitler in his removal of Werner von Blomberg and Werner von Fritsch from power. In March 1939 he cooperated with Heinrich Himmler in the successful occupation of the Lithuanian port of Memel.[5]

The Second World War: In Poland and On the Western Front

On the outbreak of the Second World War Küchler was given command of the 3rd Army. During the invasion of Poland Küchler’s troops captured Danzig. A committed supporter of the Nazi Party, Küchler upset the Schutzstaffel (SS) by punishing soldiers who committed atrocities against civilians.[6]. In 1940 he became far more supportive of Nazi racial policy and ordered on 22 February stop to any criticism of "ethnic struggle being carried out in the General Governmnet, for instance the of the Polish minorities, of the Jews and of the Church matters". His order explained that the "Final ethnic solution" required unique and harsh measures[7]. In the Western Offensive he fought under General Fedor von Bock and commanded the Eighteenth Army, which invaded the Netherlands. In the invasion of neutral Netherlands, was able to defeat the Dutch army at Moerdijk, Rotterdam, and the Hague. Afterwards Küchler’s forces moved into Belgium and occupied Antwerp on 18 May 1940. Then, he moved into France, attempting to cut off the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) from the English Channel at Dunkirk, which ultimately ended in failure. The 18th Army ended this phase of the war at Pas de Calais encircling Dunkirk. Küchler’s role in this campaign earned him the rank of colonel-general.[8]

The Second World War: On the Eastern Front

On 17 January 1942, Küchler became commander of Army Group North after Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb was relieved of his command. Küchler, unlike his predecessor Leeb, was seen as politically compliant and was liked by Adolf Hitler, who hoped that von Küchler would succeed where he believed von Leeb had failed.[9]

Küchler commanded Army Group North from December 1941 through January 1944 but was unable to achieve any victory at Leningrad. He maintained the siege of Leningrad, launching massive bombardments in an attempt to intimidate the Soviet Red Army into surrender. On 30 June 1942 Hitler promoted Küchler to field marshal (Generalfeldmarschall). In January 1944 Soviet troops were able to break the blockade of Leningrad, and Küchler was sacked when he demanded the withdrawal to the Luga River, which was vital to the survival of Army Group North.[10]

Later life

While in retirement Küchler was approached by Carl Goerdeler who tried to persuade him to join the July Plot. Although sympathetic to the group's objectives, he refused to participate in the attempt to assassinate Hitler.[11] At the end of World War II Küchler was arrested by American occupation authorities and tried by a military court in 1948 in the High Command Trial. On 27 October 1948 he was sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment for his treatment of partisans in the Soviet Union but only served eight years before he was released in 1953 due to illness and old age. He died in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on 25 May 1968.[12]

Notes

References

  • Britannica Online Encyclopedia "Georg von Küchler".
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2004). Eichenlaubträger 1940 - 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe II Ihlefeld — Primozic (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 3-932381-21-1.
Military offices
Preceded by
none
Commander of 1.Infanterie-Division
October 1, 1934 - April 1, 1935
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Walther Schroth
Preceded by
none
Commander of 3. Armee
September 1, 1939 - November 5, 1939
Succeeded by
none
Preceded by
none
Commander of 18. Armee
November 5, 1939 - January 16, 1942
Succeeded by
Generaloberst Georg Lindemann
Preceded by
Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Commander of Heeresgruppe Nord
January 17, 1942 - January 9, 1944
Succeeded by
Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model







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