The Info List - Walther Von Reichenau

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(i) (i)

World War II
World War II

* Invasion of Poland * Battle of France
Battle of France
* Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa

AWARDS Knight\'s Cross of the Iron Cross

WALTER KARL ERNST AUGUST VON REICHENAU (8 October 1884 – 17 January 1942) was a field marshal in the Wehrmacht
of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
during World War II
World War II
. While in command of the 6th Army during Operation Barbarossa in 1941, he issued the notorious Severity Order which encouraged German soldiers to murder Jewish civilians on the Eastern Front. He was in charge of forces which helped to commit the massacre of over 33,000 Jews at Babi Yar
Babi Yar
as well as other massacres during the Holocaust


* 1 Life before Nazi Party
Nazi Party
membership * 2 Nazi support

* 3 World War II
World War II

* 3.1 Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
* 3.2 War crimes

* 4 Awards * 5 See also

* 6 References

* 6.1 Citations * 6.2 Bibliography

* 7 External links


Born in 1884, Reichenau served in World War I
World War I
After the war, he joined the Grenzschutz Ost Freikorps
. In 1919 Reichenau joined in the newly established Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
. The officer corps of the new armed forces' was limited to 4,000, and there was to be no German General Staff
German General Staff
. Reichenau took a post in the Truppenamt , which was the "underground" equivalent of the General Staff formed by Hans von Seeckt
Hans von Seeckt
. From 1931 Reichenau was Chief of Staff to the Inspector of Signals at the Ministry of the Reichswehr , and later served with General Werner von Blomberg
Werner von Blomberg
in East Prussia
East Prussia


Reichenau's uncle was an ardent Nazi and introduced him to Adolf Hitler in April 1932. Reichenau joined the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
, although doing so was a violation of the army regulations laid down by Seeckt to insulate the army from national politics.

When Hitler came to power in January 1933, Blomberg became Minister of War and Reichenau was appointed as head of the Ministerial Office, acting as liaison officer between the Army and the Nazi Party. He played a leading role in persuading Nazi leaders such as Göring and Himmler that the power of Ernst Röhm and the SA must be broken if the army was to support the Nazi-led government. This led directly to the " Night of the Long Knives " of 30 June 1934.

In 1935 Reichenau was promoted to lieutenant general (Generalleutnant) and was also appointed to command the military forces in Munich
. In 1938, after the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair , in which General Werner von Fritsch was forced out of the Army command, Reichenau was Hitler's first choice to succeed him, but older leaders such as Gerd von Rundstedt
Gerd von Rundstedt
and Ludwig Beck
Ludwig Beck
refused to serve under Reichenau, and Hitler backed down.


In September 1939, Reichenau commanded the 10th Army during the German invasion of Poland . In 1940 he led the 6th Army during the invasion of Belgium
and France , and in 1940, Hitler promoted him to field marshal during the 1940 Field Marshal Ceremony .


Hitler and Reichenau in September 1941

During the German invasion of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
, as commander of the Sixth Army, he led his army into the heart of Russia during the summer of 1941. The Sixth Army was a part of Army Group South, and captured Kiev, Belgorod, Kharkov and Kursk. Reichenau supported the work of the SS Einsatzgruppen
in exterminating the Jews in the occupied Soviet territories.

During its offensive into the Soviet Union, the German army was confronted with a number of superior tank designs. Reichenau inspected the Soviet tanks he came across, entering each tank and measuring its armour plate. According to general staff officer Paul Jordan, after examining a T-34
, Reichenau told his officers "If the Russians ever produce it on an assembly line we will have lost the war."

On 14 January 1942 Reichenau suffered a stroke after a run in cold weather. He died before he could be evacuated to Germany. The flight carrying his body crashed while landing in Lemberg . Hitler gave him a state funeral.


Politically, Reichenau was an anti-Semite who equated Jewry with Bolshevism
and the perceived Asian threat to Europe
. The infamous "Reichenau Order" or Severity Order of October 1941 supported the Nazi genocidal policies by instructing the officers thus:

In this eastern theatre, the soldier is not only a man fighting in accordance with the rules of the art of war... For this reason the soldier must learn fully to appreciate the necessity for the severe but just retribution that must be meted out to the subhuman species of Jewry....

All Jews were henceforth to be treated as de facto partisans, and commanders were directed that they be either summarily shot or handed over to the Einsatzgruppen
execution squads of the SS-Reichssicherhauptamt as the situation dictated. Upon hearing of the Severity Order , Reichenau's superior Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Gerd von Rundstedt expressed "complete agreement" with it, and sent out a circular to all of the Army generals under his command urging them to send out their own versions of the Severity Order, which would impress upon the troops the need to exterminate Jews.


* Knight\'s Cross of the Iron Cross on 30 September 1939 as General der Artillerie and commander-in-chief of the 10. Armee


* German war crimes



* ^ Liddell Hart, p. 13 * ^ video by Guido Knopp and Henry Kohler: "Hitler's Warriors. Paulus the Defector." (accessdate=2012-1-08), year=1998; publisher=ZDF Enterprises. * ^ Glantz Ruhle, Otto (2015). With Paulus at Stalingrad. Translated by Tony Le Tissier. Pen and Sword Books Ltd. pp. 1–2. ISBN 9781473833869 . * ^ A B Reichenau, Walter von (October 10, 1941). "Secret Field Marshal v. Reichenau Order Concerning Conduct of Troops in the Eastern Territories, 10 October 1941". Stuart D. Stein, The School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, University of the West of England . Archived from the original on December 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-18. The soldier in the eastern territories is not merely a fighter according to the rules of the art of war but also a bearer of ruthless national ideology and the avenger of bestialities which have been inflicted upon German and racially related nations. Therefore the soldier must have full understanding for the necessity of a severe but just revenge on subhuman Jewry. The Army has to aim at another purpose, i.e., the annihilation of revolts in hinterland which, as experience proves, have always been caused by Jews * ^ Mayer, Arno J. Why Did The Heavens Not Darken?, New York: Pantheon, 1988, 1990 page 250. * ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 352.


* Craig, William (1974). Enemy at the Gates. The Battle for Stalingrad. Victoria: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-139017-4 . * Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) . Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6 . * Glantz, David M.; House, Jonathan (2009). To the Gates of Stalingrad: Soviet-German Combat Operations, April-August 1942. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1630-5 .

* Görlitz, Walter (1989). "Reichenau," in Correlli Barnett ed., Hitler's Generals. New York: Grove Weidenfeld. pp. 208–18. * Liddell Hart, B.H. , The German Generals Talk. New York, NY: Morrow, 1948. * Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2 .