The German Nazi criminal- Walther von Brauchitsch -

Period: Second World War

Region: Yugoslavia

The German Nazi criminal- Walther von Brauchitsch

Walther von Brauchitsch (1881-1948) was a German duke (field marshal) and supreme commander of the Wehrmacht, ie the German ground army during the Second World War.

He also fought in the First World War, on the Western Front, where he received high military decorations.

He was not only a collaborator with Hitler but also a close friend of his, as he received large sums of money from Hitler to solve his private problems.

He was the commander-in-chief of the armed formations of the Third Reich until the end of 1941, when he suffered a heart attack after the German defeat in front of Moscow on the Eastern Front on December 5th of that year, which ruined "Operation Typhoon".

He was one of the main planners and strategists for the invasion of France and Belgium in the spring of 1940, and also the invasions of Yugoslavia and Greece the following year.

After the Second World War, Brauchitsch was arrested by Anglo-American allies on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, Holocaust of Jews, the extermination of Slavic peoples: Russians, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Serbs, Ukrainians ... The verdict for these crimes did not live execution because he died in 1948 of alleged pneumonia.



Macva and Podrinje * Beshka * Belgrade's Occupation * Bombing Belgrade

Operation 25 * Occupation of Bosnia * Surdulica * Novi Pazar * Angel of Mercy

Gread Albania * Nish * Draginac * Kraljevo * Kragujevac * Kursumlija * Valjevo

Svilajnac * Smederevo castle * Velika * Valley of Piva * Pancevo * Grdelica

Kriva Reka * Blazevo and Bozoljin * Crna Stijena * Varvarin * Murino

Aberdareva Street


Kuberg * Jindrihovce * Mauthausen * Nezider * Aschach an der Donau

Nekenmarkt * Nadjmer * Boldogasszony * Broumov * Doboj * Arad * Dachau

Auschwitz * Meinheim* Baracks on Sava * Crveni Krst * Banjica * Karasjok

Sajmiste * Beisfjord *


Cer * Gucevo * Mackov Kamen * Kolubara * Cemerno * Mojkovac * Vrbovac

Kozara * Neretva * Sutjeska * Koshare * Pashtrik


Helmut Kohl * Alfred Schenk * Petar Enger * Juraj Schpiler * Kurt Valdheim

Karl I Austrians * Oscar Pocorek * Walter Brauchitsch * Gerhard Schreder

Adolf Hitler * Josef Janko * Franc Beme * Fridrich Gisendorf * Evald Kleist

August Makenzen * Wilhem Reiner * Ludvig Kubler * Rudolf Scharping


Draga Petronijevic * Sefko Tairovic * Stojanka Djokovic * Sanja Milenkovic

Jovan Klajic * Velimir Pavlovic * Dositej Vasic * Sava Trlajic *


7,000 Souls * Beisfjord tragedy * Bloody roads * Black Book *



Walter Heinrich Alfred Hermann von Brauchitsch was born on October 4, 1881, in Berlin, which was the capital of the German Empire or the then Second Reich.

He married twice in his lifetime. His first wife was Elizabeth von Carstedt (born in 1910). She was the daughter of a German landowner, who owned a large land of over 300,000 hectares around Brandenburg. He had a daughter and two sons with her. The eldest son, Bernd, took part in World War II as a German military pilot and was an aide to Hermann Goring, the commander of the Luftwaffe. He divorced her after almost three decades of marriage after beginning an affair with his mistress.

He married his second wife, Charlotte Ruefer, in 1938, a few weeks after the divorce. She was the daughter of a Silesian judge he met twelve years before the divorce. He had a rather turbulent life with her.


Origins and education

Brauchitsch came from an aristocratic family that had many members in the Prussian army during the 19th century. His father's name was Eduard von Brauchitsch, who was a cavalry officer of the Prussian army, and his mother's name was Charlotte Bertha von Gordon. They had 5 other children. 

Many of his ancestors in the Brauchitsch family were officers, so young Walter was brought up in the military spirit. He was also a part of the German elite society in Berlin with his parents from an early age. As a boy, he was very interested in politics and art. He enrolled in a French high school in the center of Berlin instead of the high school, at the persistence of his father.

He went to the military academy in 1895 in Potsdam, a small town near Berlin in the province of Brandenburg. Two years later, he transferred to the Royal Institute of Light in Berlin, where he received a diploma as a gifted student in his final year. He was also accompanied (secured) by the last German Empress Victoria. While he was at court, he had classes there and learned the manners of a high aristocracy.

After graduating in 1900, he received his first service in the infantry regiment. For an unknown reason, he was transferred to artillery units, allegedly with some heart defects. Among the artillerymen, Brauchitsch was in charge of training young recruits in riding and driving. Two years later, he was transferred directly to the General Staff and received the rank of lieutenant in 1909.



In the summer of 1914, after the Vidovdan assassination, the Great War broke out in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary declared war on the Kingdom of Serbia and sent an army to Podrinje and Mačva. At that time, Brauchitsch already had the rank of captain and was deployed in the 16th Army Corps near Metz, on the Western Front.

German soldiers on the Western Front

He fought against the French in the battles in the northern parts of the French Republic but was quickly transferred to the 34th Infantry Division. During 1914-1916 Brauchitsch took part in two great battles: the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Argonne Forest. In the following years he also took part in the battles of the Marne, as well as Armentes and Flanders. For his contributions in the First World War he was awarded the Iron cross of the first order, as well as the Knight's Cross.

At the end of 1918, when the Great War ended, Brauchitsch held the rank of major.



After the Versailles Peace Conference in June 1919, Germany, upon losing the war, had to reduce the number of soldiers and artillery. Despite great restrictions, Brauchitsch remained in the military’s General Staff. The following year, he joined the 2nd Artillery Regiment.

He transferred to the Ministry of Defense in 1921, where he was in the Artillery Department. His task was to reorganize and harmonize the artillery units, as well as to implement the lessons learned in the final months of the war. He worked on training, specifically on the cooperation of artillery and infantry units.

He received the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1925, and two years later he was appointed Chief of Staff of the 6th Infantry Division in Münster (Province of Westphalia). This was one of the strongest German garrisons in the west of the country. He moved to the Army Training Department in 1928 with the rank of colonel. He received the rank of general in 1931.

The Nazi Era

At the beginning of 1933, Adolf Hitler, the leader of the National Socialist Workers' Party, became the German Chancellor (Prime Minister). From the very beginning, the Nazi ideology was chauvinistic and racist, whose goal was the destruction of Jews and the elimination of Slavs. In fact, Hitler, as a German soldier of the First World War, proclaimed its continuation. As a German aristocrat, Brauchitsch welcomed Nazi policy.

Immediately, the Nazis began to rebuild the army, expand the war industry, train young men, etc.

In 1933, the Wehrmacht's Supreme Command gave Brauchitsch command of the East Prussian Military District, and the 1st Division in Kenisberg. Three years later, on June 21, 1935, Brauchitsch received command of the First Army Corps.

Brauchitsch in unit inspection

Adolf Hitler personally promoted Brauchitsch to the rank of lieutenant general in 1936. Two years later, he became the new Chief of the General Staff. Initially, he lent him 80,000 Reichsmarks to divorce his wife and marry his mistress. In the following years, Brauchitsch often received money from Hitler.

Although Brauchitsch did not look favorably on the annexation of Austria, he supported Hitler's cooperation with the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

In May 1939, Brauchitsch went to Africa, where he oversaw the deployment of Italian forces in Libya. There he had disagreements with Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding cooperation with Italy.



In the summer of 1939, Hitler demanded the final elaboration of plans for an attack on Poland, where that aggression would be led by the "Lightning War" (in German: Blitzkrieg). Brauchitsch personally organized the plans for the attack, which began to be carried out on the 1st of September that year, and after five weeks the Poles capitulated. It was Brauchitsch who demanded that German soldiers deal harshly with civilians and soldiers in occupied Poland, claiming that this was important for German "living space".

Brauchitsch and Hitler in Warsaw in 1939

In the fall of 1939, there was a sharp quarrel between Brauchitsch and Hitler, because the Führer demanded that he move immediately to France. Hitler called Brauchitsch disloyal, a traitor, and a coward, so he transferred him to Zossen, where a secret organization was created among the officers there for the assassination of Hitler. Weather conditions at the end of 1939 deterred Hitler from "D-Day", the attacks on the western parts of Europe.

During May and June 1940, Wehrmacht units under the command of Brauchitsch invaded the Benelux countries, as well as France, which capitulated on June 22 of that year, and was divided into German and Italian parts. This was a shift in Brauchitsch's career because he was promoted to the rank of field marshal (duke) of the German army shortly after. There were also plans for an invasion of Britain, but the German air force Luftwaffe did not succeed in those intentions, so it was left for later. Hitler reoriented himself to the South.

Balkan Peninsula

In the following year, the first wish of the German Führer was Greece because he wanted to occupy the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, that is, the southern border between Europe and Asia. This operation was codenamed "Marita".

The three-member viceroyalty of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the government were overthrown during the March 27 demonstrations, because the majority of the population did not want any ties with Hitler and the Nazis, and did not support the Nazi’s fascist, chauvinistic policies. When Adolf Hitler heard the news, he launched a massive army against the Yugoslav kingdom: 340,000 soldiers, 1,500 artillery pieces, 900 tanks, 1,100 cannons, 750 armored vehicles, 2,000 mortars.

The Axis Powers's invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941.

The invasion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia began on the morning of April 6, 1941. On the first day, only the divisions of the Wehrmacht attacked, and in the following days, Italy, Hungary, Albania, Bulgaria joined, while Romania gave the Germans its territory. In about ten days, the royal army of Yugoslavia collapsed, mostly due to the betrayal and desertion of Slovenes and Croats. The capitulation was signed on April 17.

The territory of the Yugoslav kingdom was dismembered and divided. Immediately afterwards, the Germans continued their march on Greece, which was also occupied.

The Germans and their adherents, wherever they entered populated areas, killed civilians, destroyed monuments from earlier wars, devoted either to victims or heroes. That is how the real genocide began, or the brutal extermination of Serbs, Jews, and Roma. The Wehrmacht was mostly helped by the Volksdeutscher (Danube Germans), Muslims and Croats. 

Eastern Front

The campaign against the Soviet Union was code-named "Operation Barbarossa", while German field marshals called it the battle of "the fate of the German people".

All the plans for the attack that began on June 22, 1941, were made by Walter von Brauchitsch. In those plans, he also foresaw the execution of all civilians with anti-German feelings in the occupied territories. During the summer and early autumn of that year, the German army and their adherents (Romanians, Hungarians, Finns, Croats, and Slovaks) had considerable success, as Belarus and Ukraine were occupied.

In the late autumn of that year, Brauchitsch's health was damaged at the moment when the famous Battle of Moscow began, in which the Germans suffered their first major defeat during World War II, which is considered Hitler's "beginning of the end."

Adolf Hitler personally relieved Brauchitsch of all duties on December 19, 1941, when it became clear that Germany's plans to conquer Soviet Russia had failed. The Führer was very angry with Brauchitsch and they had another big quarrel, which in turn worsened Brauchitsch's health. He was diagnosed with incurable heart disease (most likely a tumor). He was transferred to the officer reserve. He never saw Hitler again.

After the war on the Eastern Front, Brauchitsch left for Prague, where he spent three years.



As the Red Army advanced towards Germany, Brauchitsch returned to his house near Berlin. He hid there for a while and then fled to West Germany. He was arrested by the English and taken to the British prison Camp 198, which is located in South Wales. A trial was organized there for many German military commanders for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

He was later transferred to a northern part of West Germany, which was under English control. He died there in a military hospital in Hamburg on October 18, 1948, at the age of 67. Brauchitsch did not live to serve the sentence that was intended for him.


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