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The Oberkommando des Heeres
Oberkommando des Heeres
(OKH) was the Supreme High Command of the German Army. It was founded in 1935 as a part of Adolf Hitler's re-militarisation of Germany. From 1938 OKH
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
OKW
(Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, Supreme High Command of all Armed Forces), with exception of the Waffen-SS. During the war, OKH
OKH
had the responsibility of strategic planning of Armies and Army Groups, while the General Staff of the OKH
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
OKH
and its staff was de facto the most important unit within the German war planning. OKW
OKW
then took over this function for theatres other than the German-Soviet front. OKH
OKH
commander held the title Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres (Supreme High Commander of the Army). Following the Battle of Moscow, after OKH
OKH
commander Field Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch
Walther von Brauchitsch
was excused, Hitler appointed himself as Commander-in-Chief of the Army.

Contents

1 OKH
OKH
vs OKW 2 Overview

2.1 Commander-in-chief
Commander-in-chief
of the Army 2.2 Chiefs of the OKH
OKH
General Staff

3 See also 4 Notes 5 References 6 External links

OKH
OKH
vs OKW[edit] Hitler had been the head of OKW
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
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
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.[1] Overview[edit] Commander-in-chief
Commander-in-chief
of the Army[edit] The Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres ( Commander-in-chief
Commander-in-chief
of the German Army) was

Supreme Commander of the Army Took office Left office Time in office

1

von Fritsch, WernerColonel General Werner von Fritsch (1880–1939) 1 January 1934 4 February 1938 7003149500000000000♠4 years, 34 days

2

von Brauchitsch, WaltherField Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch (1881–1948) 4 February 1938 19 December 1941 7003141400000000000♠3 years, 318 days

3

Hitler, Adolf Führer
Führer
and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) [a] 19 December 1941 30 April 1945 † 7003122800000000000♠3 years, 132 days

4

Schörner, FerdinandField Marshal Ferdinand Schörner (1892–1973) [b] 30 April 1945 8 May 1945 7000800000000000000♠8 days

Chiefs of the OKH
OKH
General Staff[edit]

Chief of Staff Took office Left office Time in office

1

Beck, LudwigColonel General Ludwig Beck (1880–1944) 1 October 1933 31 August 1938 7003179500000000000♠4 years, 334 days

2

Halder, FranzColonel General Franz Halder (1884–1972) 1 September 1938 24 September 1942 7003148400000000000♠4 years, 23 days

3

Zeitzler, KurtColonel General Kurt Zeitzler (1895–1963) 24 September 1942 10 June 1944 7002625000000000000♠1 year, 260 days

4

Heusinger, AdolfGeneral Lieutenant Adolf Heusinger (1897–1982) [c] 10 June 1944 21 July 1944 7001410000000000000♠41 days

5

Guderian, HeinzColonel General Heinz Guderian (1888–1954) 21 July 1944 28 March 1945 7002250000000000000♠250 days

6

Krebs, HansGeneral of the Infantry Hans Krebs (1898–1945) [d] 1 April 1945 1 May 1945 † 7001300000000000000♠30 days

7

Keitel, WilhelmField Marshal Wilhelm Keitel (1882–1946) 1 May 1945 13 May 1945 7001120000000000000♠12 days

8

Jodl, AlfredColonel General Alfred Jodl (1890–1946) 13 May 1945 23 May 1945 7001100000000000000♠10 days

Although both OKW
OKW
and OKH
OKH
were headquartered in Zossen
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
Zossen
compound remarked that even if Maybach 2 (the OKW
OKW
complex) was completely destroyed, the OKH
OKH
staff in Maybach 1 would scarcely notice. These camouflaged facilities, separated physically by a fence, also maintained structurally different mindsets towards their objectives. On 28 April 1945 (two days before his suicide), Hitler formally subordinated OKH
OKH
to OKW, giving the latter command of forces on the Eastern Front.[2] See also[edit]

German general staff Glossary of World War II German military terms Maybach I and II Oberste Heeresleitung, the German Empire's highest army command during World War I

Notes[edit]

^ Hitler assumed personal command of the OKH
OKH
following Brauchitsch's dismissal in order to supervise Operation Barbarossa, the German-led invasion of the Soviet Union. ^ one of Hitler's favorite military commanders was named in Hitler's last will and testament, which the latter issued prior to his suicide on April 30, 1945 as the new commander of the OKH. Meanwhile, the OKH was subordinated to the OKW
OKW
of the Wehrmacht, under Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel. ^ Later served as the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr (1957–1961) and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee (1961–1964) ^ Commited suicide

References[edit]

^ Barnett, Correlli (1989). Hitler's Generals. Grove. p. 497. ISBN 978-1555841614.  ^ Grier, Howard D. Hitler, Dönitz, and the Baltic Sea, Naval Institute Press, 2007, ISBN 1-59114-345-4. p. 121

External links[edit]

"Not the Stuff of Legend: The German High Command in World War II" – lecture by Dr. Geoffrey Megargee, author of Inside Hitler's High Command, available at the official YouTube channel of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center

v t e

Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
Army Group Rear Areas during the German–Soviet War, 1941–45

Army Group Rear Area

North Centre South

Commanding organisations

Army High Command Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS Army Group North Army Group Centre Army Group South

Commanders

Erich Friderici Ludwig Kübler Franz von Roques Karl von Roques Edwin von Rothkirch Max von Schenckendorff Joachim Witthöft

Security Divisions

201st 203rd 207th 213th 221st (Police Battalion (PB) 309) 281st 285th 286th 403rd 444th 454th 707th

HSS-PF

Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski Friedrich Jeckeln Hans-Adolf Prützmann

Police and SS Detachments

Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen
(PB 9) Police Regiment North Police Regiment Centre
Police Regiment Centre
(PB 307, PB 316, PB 322) Police Regiment South (PB 45, PB 303, PB 314) Police Regiment Special
Special
Purpose (PB 304, PB 315, PB 320) SS Cavalry Brigade 1st SS Infantry Brigade 2nd SS Infantry Brigade

Major crimes

Babi Yar Kamianets-Podilskyi massacre Persecution of Soviet prisoners of war

Milestones

Hitler's speech of 30 March 1941 Hunger Plan Mogilev conference Bandenbekämpfung

War crimes trials

High Command Trial Krasnodar Trial Minsk Trial Riga Trial

Related articles

The Holocaust War crimes of the Wehrmacht Myth of the clean Wehrmacht

Historiography

Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945 Hitler's War in the East 1941−1945 Hitler's Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe Marching into Darkness: The Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
and the Holocaust The Wehrmacht: History, Myth, Reality

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 124857

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