List of German field marshals (1933–45)

Hoheitszeichen Kfz Generalfeldmarschall.svg

Before World War II Hitler promoted War Minister Werner von Blomberg (20 April 1936) and Aviation Minister Hermann Göring (4 February 1938) to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. In the Wehrmacht of  Germany during World War II, the rank of Generalfeldmarschall remained the highest military rank until July 1940, when Hermann Göring was promoted to the newly created higher rank of Reichsmarschall. The equivalent of a Generalfeldmarschall in the navy was Großadmiral (“grand admiral”).

Unlike Kaiser Wilhelm IIAdolf Hitler distributed the rank more widely, promoting 25 Heer and Luftwaffe officers in total and two Kriegsmarine Grand Admirals. (Another promotion, that of Austrian General Eduard von Böhm-Ermolli, was honorary.) Four weeks after the Heer and Luftwaffe had won the Battle of FranceHitler promoted twelve generals to the rank of field marshal on 19 July 1940Walther von BrauchitschWilhelm KeitelGerd von RundstedtFedor von BockWilhelm von LeebWilhelm ListGünther von KlugeErwin von Witzleben and Walter von Reichenau (Heer); and Albert KesselringErhard Milch and Hugo Sperrle (Luftwaffe).

In 1942, three other men were promoted—”Wüstenfuchs” (desert fox) Erwin Rommel (22 June) for the siege of TobrukErich von Manstein (30 June) for the Siege of Sevastopol and Georg von Küchler (30 June) for his success as Oberbefehlshaber der Heeresgruppe Nord (“commander-in-chief of Army Group North”).

Hitler promoted Friedrich Paulus—commander of the 6th Army at Stalingrad—to the rank of field marshal via field radio on 30 January 1943, a day before his army’s inevitable surrender in order to encourage him to continue to fight until death or commit suicide. In the promotion Hitler noted that no German or, before that, Prussian field marshal had ever been captured alive . Paulus surrendered the following day anyway, claiming Ich habe nicht die Absicht, mich für diesen bayerischen Gefreiten zu erschießen (“I have no intention of shooting myself for this Bavarian corporal”). A disappointed Hitler commented, “That’s the last field marshal I make in this war!” (In fact, he appointed seven more — two on the very day after Paulus’ surrender and the last just five days before his own suicide.)

Generalfeldmarschall was the highest regular general officer rank in the German Wehrmacht, comparable to NATO rank codes OF10, and to the five-star rank in anglophone armed forces. It was equivalent to Großadmiral of the German Kriegsmarine.

Financially the rank of Generalfeldmarschall in (1933–45) Germany was very rewarding as, apart from a yearly salary, Hitler introduced a tax free fringe benefits for generals in the range of ℛℳ 2,000 to 4,000 per month in 1940. He also bestowed generous presents on his highest officers, with Wilhelm von Leeb receiving ℛℳ 250,000 for his 65th birthday from Hitler.

Promotion to the rank did not guarantee Hitler’s ongoing favor, however. As the tide of the war turned, Hitler took out his frustrations on his top commanders, relieving most of the Generalfeldmarschalls of duty before the war’s conclusion. Bock, Brauchitsch, Leeb, and List were all relieved of their posts in 1942 for perceived failures during Operation Barbarossa and took no further active part in the war. Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist, Manstein and Sperrle were similarly retired in 1944 and Rundstedt and Maximilian von Weichs in March 1945. Grand Admiral Erich Raeder was retired in January 1943 following a fierce argument with Hitler over the future of the German surface fleet. Walther Model, one of Hitler’s most successful commanders, had nevertheless lost the Fuhrer’s confidence by war’s end and committed suicide to avoid capture and likely trial as a war criminal. Milch was relieved after conspiring unsuccessfully to have Göring removed from command of the Luftwaffe, and even Göring himself was stripped of his offices and expelled from the Party in Hitler’s last days. Ferdinand Schörner ignominiously abandoned his command to save himself in the war’s last days. Kluge, Witzleben and Rommel were either executed or forced to commit suicide for their real or imagined roles in assassination plots against Hitler. By war’s end, only Keitel, Kesselring, Robert Ritter von Greim and Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz were still in positions of military responsibility.

Source: Wikipedia

Name Date of promotion Branch
Werner von Blomberg
Werner von Blomberg
(1878–1946)
20 April 1936  German Army
Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
(1893–1946)
4 February 1938  Luftwaffe
Fedor von Bock
Fedor von Bock
(1880–1945)
19 July 1940  German Army
Walther von Brauchitsch
Walther von Brauchitsch
(1881–1948)
19 July 1940  German Army
Albert Kesselring
Albert Kesselring
(1885–1960)
19 July 1940  Luftwaffe
Wilhelm Keitel
Wilhelm Keitel
(1882–1946)
19 July 1940  German Army
Günther von Kluge
Günther von Kluge
(1882–1944)
19 July 1940  German Army
Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
(1876–1956)
19 July 1940  German Army
Wilhelm List
Wilhelm List
(1880–1971)
19 July 1940  German Army
Erhard Milch
Erhard Milch
(1892–1972)
19 July 1940  Luftwaffe
Walther von Reichenau
Walther von Reichenau
(1884–1942)
19 July 1940  German Army
Gerd von Rundstedt
Gerd von Rundstedt
(1875–1953)
19 July 1940  German Army
Hugo Sperrle
Hugo Sperrle
(1885–1953)
19 July 1940  Luftwaffe
Erwin von Witzleben
Erwin von Witzleben
(1881–1944)
19 July 1940  German Army
Eduard von Böhm-Ermolli
Eduard von Böhm-Ermolli
(1856–1941)
31 October 1940  German Army
Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel
(1891–1944)
22 June 1942  German Army
Georg von Küchler
Georg von Küchler
(1881–1968)
30 June 1942  German Army
Erich von Manstein
Erich von Manstein
(1887–1973)
1 July 1942  German Army
Friedrich Paulus
Friedrich Paulus
(1890–1957)
31 January 1943  German Army
Ernst Busch
Ernst Busch
(1885–1945)
1 February 1943  German Army
Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist
Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist
(1881–1954)
1 February 1943  German Army
Maximilian von Weichs
Maximilian von Weichs
(1881–1954)
1 February 1943  German Army
Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen
Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen
(1895–1945)
16 February 1943  Luftwaffe
Walter Model
Walter Model
(1891–1945)
1 March 1944  German Army
Ferdinand Schörner
Ferdinand Schörner
(1892–1973)
5 April 1945  German Army
Robert Ritter von Greim
Robert Ritter von Greim
(1892–1945)
25 April 1945  Luftwaffe

Source: Wikipedia

Marshal’s baton of Wolfram von Richthofen

Collar tabs of Generalfeldmarschall of the Heer.svg

GenFeldmarschall until 1945 (Wehrmacht).svg

Generalfeldmarschall-camo.svg

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