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Ferdinand Schorner (1892 - 1973)

Ferdinand Schorner (1892 - 1973)

Ferdinand Schorner, 1892-1973

Ferdinand Schörner was born in 1892 in the Bavarian city of Munich. He studied languages at three universities in order to become a teacher and while he was a student, signed on as a 'Einjährig Freiwilliger' that conferred certain privileges such as a reduction in the time one was conscripted for, being able to choose one's arm of service and being treated almost as an officer. He joined the Bavarian Leib Infantry Regiment, part of the Royal Bavarian Household Troops and saw action in the First World War, fighting at battles such as Verdun, Hermannstadt and the Isonzo River as part of the newly formed German Alpine Corps. It was here that he was awarded the Pour Le Merite (Blue Max).

After the war he became involved in right-wing politics, was a member of the Ritter von Epps Paramilitary Group (part of the Freikorps) and joined the Reichswehr, helping to put down the Munich Putsch. He joined the 19th Bavarian Infantry Regiment and was sent to the Dresden Infantry School where he was promoted to Major. He then managed to obtain a number of General Staff postings and lectured at the Dresden School before gaining command of the 98th Gebirgsjäger Regiment in 1937 and being promoted to Oberstleutnant. The regiment, part of the 1st Gebirgs Division fought with distinction in the invasion of Poland (Second World War)and Schörner was given command of the newly forming 6th Gebirgs Division which he led during the Balkan Campaign and then on the Eastern Front in the north of Finland, as part of Lapland Army of three corps (Norway, XXXVI and III). He was then promoted to command the XIX Corps and from there the XL Panzer Corps in October 1943, which held the bridgehead on the Dnieper River although he voluntarily withdrew it when the Red Army broke through a neighbouring corps.

In March 1944 he was promoted to Generaloberst and made commander of Army Group Ukraine and appreciating the difficult position of the 6th Army, withdrew them from behind the Dnieper River. He was then given command of Army Group North but by the time he had reached it, a Soviet offensive had trapped it in the Courland Peninsula. In January 1945 Schörner was given command of the newly created Army Group Centre (out of the remnants of Army Group A),which conducted a fighting retreat westwards, denying the Soviets the ability to sweep through Upper Silesia and Czechoslovakia and thus enabling over one-and-a-half million people from Eastern Germany to escape the Red Army.

He was taken prisoner by American forces near the small town of Tyrol while trying to make contact with some other officers and handed over to the Soviets. He spent ten years in a Soviet prison camp, where he refused to become a member of the 'National Committee for a Free Germany' run by former General Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach. After his return to Germany he became the victim of a left-wing hate campaign, just at the time the West German Government was considering the formation of the Bundeswehr and joining NATO. He spent another 4-and-a-half years in prison accused of crimes against German soldiers. He died on 6 July 1973.


Schoerner, Ferdinand 1892-1973Officer, Fieldmarshall, GermanyPortrait as Col.Gen. , autumn 1944

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Germany’s Last Field Marshal – The Butcher Ferdinand Schörnerand

During the Second World War, the Allies ran a series of propaganda posters entitled “This is the Enemy,” which depicted a variety of Axis personalities committing all sorts of atrocities. It was a very effective campaign and quickly provided the viewer with a clear reason why the nation was involved in the war.

The posters were published in a variety of languages, both for consumption at home and abroad, though the words were hardly needed for the viewer to understand the purpose behind the image.

The most famous of these images was of a German general or Field Marshal, high-collar tightly buttoned, chin raised arrogantly, and wearing the infamous Prussian monocle. The monocle’s reflection was the centerpiece of the poster, for reflected in the glass was the image of a person being hanged.

Ferdinand Schörner, April 1941. Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-L29176 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The expression on the face of the German was one of iron-hard discipline and approval. Sadly the image was quite correct. Regardless of the denials of apologists, many Wehrmacht generals ordered and carried out such atrocities. It was not just the SS.

Though his appearance did not fit the image on that poster, there might have been no German general officer that personified the hangman better than Ferdinand Schörner, the last man to carry the rank of Field Marshal in the German Army to this day.

General Schörner and his adjutant

Schörner was a martinet, butcher, and a middling general who rose through the ranks over mountains of corpses. Hitler loved him so much that, in his will at the end of the war, Hitler put Schörner in charge of the army upon his death.

Schörner was born in 1892 in Bavaria. Like many of the leading military figures of WWII, he fought in the First World War.

German assault troops at Caporetto.

He was decorated with the highest German honor for bravery at the time, the Pour Le Mérite (colloquially known as the “Blue Max”) for actions taken during the brutal fighting in the Battle of Caporetto on the Italian Front. His colleague in WWII, Erwin Rommel, was also a recipient of the medal at Caporetto.

There could not have been two more different men.

Lieutenant Schoerner with the Pour le Mérite in WWI, 1918

Rommel, by all accounts, was chivalrous, as humanitarian as possible towards his prisoners during wartime, loved by his men, and willing to talk back to Hitler. Famously, he was forced into taking his own life for his perceived role in the plot against Hitler in July 1944. Schörner was everything that Rommel was not.

During the inter-war years, Schörner was, like many officers in Bavaria, a member of the right-wing paramilitary Freikorps. Unlike many officers in the post-WWI years, who were mustered out as part of the restrictions placed on the German armed forces in the Versailles Treaty, he remained in the army.

Early Nazis who participated in the attempt to seize power during the 1923 Putsch. Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-2007-0003 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

He took part in the suppression of Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch, despite his right-wing leanings.

However, in the highly charged political atmosphere of inter-war Germany, Schörner found himself taking sides against the hated Weimar government, and joined the Nazi Party in the mid-1920s, while still retaining his position in the army.

Munich Marienplatz during the failed Beer Hall Putsch.Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 119-1486 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

A year after Hitler came to power, Schörner was promoted to major and served on the General Staff, which was a significant step on the road to high position for any German officer.

In 1937, he was made Lt. Colonel (“Oberstleutnant”) and commanded the 98th Mountain (“Gebirgs”) Regiment. He commanded the regiment in the Polish Campaign as well as in France and Belgium the next year.

Ferdinand Schörner (centre) March 1941. Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-L22898 / Scheerer / CC-BY-SA 3.0

As a result of his role, he was given command of the 6th Gebirgs Division and was made a General. In the invasion of Greece, the Division played a role in cutting off the important city of Salonika off from the rest of the nation. Schörner then took part in the conquest of Athens and was given the Knight’s Cross by Hitler.

By all accounts, Schörner was an adequate general.

Adolf Hitler presenting Oak Leaves at a ceremony on 15 September 1943.Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1993-136-11A / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Though not from Prussia, Schörner had all the qualities of the typical Prussian martinet: ruthless, unyielding, pitiless, and absolutely “by the book” regarding discipline and appearance.

In the United States, officers and non-coms of this kind are usually referred to as “chicken-s**t.” They are the ones who care more about the rules and their image than common sense.

German troops on the Eastern Front during Operation Barbarossa, 1941. Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-209-0090-29 / Zoll / CC-BY-SA 3.0

In Schörner’s case, this was made even worse by his fanatical belief in Hitler and Nazism. Except for a few of his most hard-core Nazi and sycophantic officers, Schörner was hated by most of his peers and men.

Worse still, despite his aspirations to join the highest ranks of the German Army, Schörner was, like many Nazi bureaucrats, crude and a blowhard.

Nevertheless, he was able enough, and his Nazi views, as well as a toadying attitude toward the Party, brought him continued success. He impressed Hitler all the more because, to his credit and unlike many general officers, he took part in action at the Front.

General Ferdinand Schörner on inspection on the Arctic front.

In Finland, on the Arctic Front against the Soviet Union, he is reputed to have engaged in close fighting to the point of hand-to-hand combat against the Red Army on at least one occasion.

In January 1942, Schörner was promoted to Generalmajor, which is the equivalent to the US rank of Major General – “two stars.” He was then given command of the 40th Panzer Corps taking part in battles in Ukraine.

Finnish soldiers carrying Panzerfäuste on their shoulders pass by the remains of a destroyed Soviet T-34 tank at the Battle of Tali-Ihantala. Photo: SA-Kuva

Schörner’s attitude towards Soviet civilians was harsh in the extreme. Martial law was imposed by the Germans all over their conquered lands, but men like Schörner took this to an extreme in the USSR.

He is even reported to have shot nearby barking dogs because they disturbed him. Ultimately, his cruelty led him to being put on trial by the Soviets for war crimes after the war ended.

In the spring of 1944, he was put in command of Army Group South Ukraine and was promoted to the unique German rank of “Generaloberst,” or “Colonel General.”

With the Reichskommissar to Northern Norway and Finland 10 to 27 July 1942

After the tide of war turned against Germany, Schörner’s career is full of dichotomies.

At times, such as in the Crimea, he seemed to want to obey Hitler’s “to the last man” orders and enforced discipline to the point of execution on officers seen to be “defeatist.” Yet he was later to see reason and defy Hitler’s orders himself when ordering a retreat and evacuation.

Evacuation at Ventspils (Windau), Courland Pocker, 19 October 1944. Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1985-0531-500 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

From July 1944 to January 1945, he was in command of Army Group North (also known as “Army Group Courland”) as it retreated through the Baltics. Some 200,000 German troops were eventually trapped against the Baltic Sea on the Courland Peninsula in Latvia.

For a time, Schörner organized a stout defense against incredible odds. His Army Group was cut off from the rest of the German army by the huge Soviet “Operation Bagration.”

Panther on the Eastern Front, 1944.Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-244-2321-34 / Waidelich / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Again, while initially supporting Hitler’s decision to stand and fight, Schörner eventually saw reason and asked the Führer for permission to break-out. Surprisingly, Hitler granted this request.

However, not all the German troops were able to break-out, and those left in the pocket were ordered to hold out to the last man. They did, almost to the end of the war, but Schörner was long gone.

Abandoned vehicles of the German 9th Army at a road near Bobruisk, Operation Bagration

Schörner assumed command of Army Group Center in January 1945, the most powerful and important command on the Eastern Front. By this time, the Germans were fighting on the home soil of Silesia, an important industrial and coal-mining region. Of course, Hitler gave a “last stand” order.

This time, there was really nowhere else to go, except to fall back to Berlin.

Schörner imposed his brand of discipline not only on the soldiers under his command but also on civilians. This was especially so for those unfortunate boys and elderly men who were called up for duty in the “Volkssturm,” the poorly trained and equipped militia expected to hold back millions of Red Army soldiers seeking revenge.

Those who were caught or, in many cases merely suspected, of shirking their duty or desertion were shot on Schörner’s orders. Others were hanged from streetlights and in other public places, often with a sign around their necks crudely warning others not to commit “crimes of cowardice.”

FVolkssturm marching, November 1944. Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1971-033-15 / CC-BY-SA 3.0.

In the last days of the war, Schörner was supposed to support General Gotthard Heinrici’s defense of the Seelow Heights in front of Berlin, but poor leadership allowed the Soviets to penetrate his positions and threaten to surround the men at Seelow. Soviet victory was, by this time, already assured, despite the hard defense at Seelow and Schörner’s failure.

In the last weeks of the war, Schörner’s reputation as a butcher was cemented. He had always had a group of fanatical thugs around him to carry out his harsh orders, and now both Schörner and these men lost their minds.

Field Marshall Günther von Kluge (left) and Heinrici.Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1977-120-09 / Bergmann, Johannes / CC-BY-SA 3.0

In one instance, they came across a half-track crew awaiting a mechanic – they were shot for “malingering.” The general was present when 22 German soldiers were executed on his orders. Their crime? “Standing around without orders” with the eventual intent of desertion.

Schörner and others justified their actions as part of the last effort to prevent utter catastrophe. Anyone in their right mind knew the war was over, but Schörner and others like him knew that defeat meant trial or worse for them. So the longer the war went on, the better chance they had of arranging an escape for themselves.

Ferdinand Schörner in 1944. Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-2007-0313-500 / Mittelstaedt, Heinz / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Like many people who know deep down that they are doomed, they sought to prolong the inevitable end and enclosed themselves in denial.

Of course, they disguised this by incredibly harsh measures. Schörner sent a wire to troops still in Austria and Czechoslovakia, saying, “In these hard days, we must not lose our nerves or become cowardly. Any attempt to find your own way back to the homeland is a dishonorable betrayal of your comrades and your people, and will be punished.”

In Germany, hundreds of men were hanged, with a placard reading “I am a deserter. I have declined to defend German women and children and therefore I have been hanged” around their necks.

On April 4th, Schörner was made Field Marshal by Hitler. He was the last person to hold that rank. It was eliminated after WWII due to its connotations of Prussian militarism and Nazi conquest.

Members of the Flensburg Government after their arrest. Albert Speer (left), Dönitz (center) and Alfred Jodl (right).

Despite Hitler’s last wishes that Schörner take command of the German Army upon his death, Schörner ordered his troops to surrender upon hearing of the official capitulation ordered by the new leader of Germany, Admiral Dönitz.

However, rather than surrender alongside his troops, Schörner assumed a disguise and attempted to make his way into Austria, which was still unsettled and occupied by both the Red Army and the Americans. From there, he apparently hoped to make some sort of further escape to avoid justice but was apprehended by US troops.

Karl Dönitz (centre, in long, dark coat) followed by Albert Speer (bareheaded) and Alfred Jodl (on Speer’s right) during the arrest of the Flensburg government by British troops

He was held as a prisoner until 1951. Then he was turned over to the Soviets, who put him on trial for war crimes. He was sentenced to 25 years but served only three in Soviet prison.

At that time, the Soviets were trying to organize a new East Germany. Schörner was handed over to the East Germans in the hope that they would see this as a recognition of their authority. They promptly turned him over to the West Germans, who also wanted him for war crimes.

He was found guilty, but given just four and a half years to serve, which he did. He was released in 1963 and died in obscurity ten years later.


[edit] World War II [ edit | edit source ]

Schörner was highly successful during the German campaigns in Poland, commanding the 98th Mountain Regiment. During the Balkans campaign he commanded the German 6th Mountain Division and earned the Knight's Cross for his role in breaching the famous Metaxas Line. He remained with this division for the remainder of the year and took part in Operation Barbarossa. When the German Invasion of the Soviet Union began, the 6th Gebirgs.D ivision was assigned to the Arctic sectors in the Eastern Front. In 1942 as a General der Gebirgstruppe he took command of the XIX Mountain Corps, part of the German Army in Finland. With this command he participated in the failed attack on Murmansk and the stalemate war that resulted from it. His famous statement "Arktis ist nichts" ("the Arctic is nothing") originated here, meaning that Arctic climatic conditions were not bad enough to negatively affect the effectiveness of German soldiers. Schorner's primary job was to keep the Pechenga Nickel Works in German hands. When the Soviets opened an offensive against the Arctic sector, the 6th Gebirgs. Division took part in the Defensive it is said that during these battles, Schorner took part in hand to hand combat with his men. In January 1942, Schorner was promoted to the rank of Generalmajor, commanding the Mounted Corps Norway. While commanding the Mounted Corps Norway, Schorner held off Soviet Offensives.

He later commanded the German XXXX Panzer Corps on the Eastern Front from November 1943 to January 1944. In March 1944 he was made commander of Army Group A, and in May commander of Army Group South Ukraine. After initially stating that the Crimean port of Sevastopol could be held for a long time even if Crimea fell, he changed his mind and managed to persuade Hitler to authorize a retreat from the Black Sea port. This retreat occurred too late, and the German/Romanian 17th Army which was holding Crimea suffered severe losses, with many men killed or captured while waiting on the piers to be evacuated. During the late spring of 1944, Schörner managed in a series of defensive battles to stabilize the crumbling front in the south on the Dniester River in Romania.

Schörner was promoted to the rank of Generaloberst in April 1944. In July he became commander of Army Group North, which was later renamed Army Group Courland, where he stayed until January 1945 when he was made commander of Army Group Centre, defending Czechoslovakia and the upper reaches of the River Oder. He became a favorite of high-level Nazi leaders such as Joseph Goebbels, whose diary entries from March and April 1945 have many words of praise for Schörner and his methods. Finally, on 4 April 1945, Schörner was promoted to Field Marshal and was named as the new Commander-in-Chief of the German Army (Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres) in Hitler's last testament. He nominally served in this post until the surrender of the Third Reich on 8 May 1945. In reality, he continued to command his army group, since no staff was available to him and he did not have any discernible influence in the final days of the Reich.

On 7 May, the day General Alfred Jodl, Chief-of-Staff of German Armed Forces High Command (German acroynym OKW), was negotiating the surrender of all German forces at SHAEF, the last the OKW had heard from Schörner was on 2 May. He had reported he intended to fight his way west and surrender his army group to the Americans. On 8 May an OKW colonel Wilhelm Meyer-Detring was escorted through the American lines to contact Schörner. The colonel reported that Schörner had ordered his operational command to observe the surrender, but he could not guarantee that he would be obeyed everywhere. [Notes 1] In fact, Schörner ordered a continuation of fighting against Red Army and Czech insurgents. Later that day Schörner deserted his command for the Alpine redoubt, the site of a supposed last stand in Bavaria, and flew to Austria where he crashed landed and remained there until he was detained by the Americans on 18 May. [3] Elements of Army Group Centre continued to resist the overwhelming force of the Red Army liberating Czechoslovakia during the final Prague Offensive. Units of Army Group Centre were the last large-size German units to surrender, on 11 May 1945.


Post-war trials and imprisonments

Schörner was arrested in August 1951 by the Soviet authorities on charges that "he occupied positions of command in the former German Army, actively participating in the preparation and carrying on of a criminal war against the USSR in violation of international law and treaties." In February 1952 the Military Board of the USSR Supreme Court sentenced him to 25 years' imprisonment. A decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in April 1952 reduced this sentence to 12 and a half years. A decree of December 1954 allowed him to be handed over to authorities of the German Democratic Republic, who allowed him to leave for West Germany in 1958. There he was arrested and charged with the illegal executions of German Army soldiers accused of desertion. He was found guilty and sentenced to four and a half years' jail, which he served. He was released in 1963 and lived in obscurity in Munich until his death in 1973. In the late 1960s he gave a lengthy interview to Italian historian Mario Silvestri that centered on his role and actions during the Austro-German victory at the battle of Caporetto in World War I rather than on his World War II service. [lower-alpha 2]

At the time of his death he was the last living German field marshal, having outlived Erich von Manstein by 23 days. He is buried in Mittenwald. The last-dying German officer of this equivalent highest flag rank in all military services was Großadmiral Karl Dönitz, who succeeded Hitler as head of government and who died in 1980. No field marshals or grand admirals have been appointed since Dönitz surrendered the German state in 1945.


Schoerner, Ferdinand 1892-1973Officer, Fieldmarshall, GermanyPortrait as Maj.Gen. 1941

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Ferdinand Schörner

Ferdinand Schörner rođen je u Münchenu, u Kraljevini Bavarskoj, saveznoj državi unutar Njemačkog carstva. Kao poručnik Njemačke vojske i veteran Prvog svjetskog rata sudjelovao je u Bitki za Caporetto, u jesen 1917., gdje su snage Austro-Ugarske i Njemačke u zajedničkoj ofenzivi razbile talijansku liniju. Između dva rata radio je kao časnik za osoblje i vojni instruktor. Sudjelovao je i u Münchenskom (Hitlerovom) puču kao zapovjednik Vojnog okruga VII u Münchenu i pomoćnik generala Otta von Lossowa, na strani bavarske vlade protiv nacista. Posebno se istaknuo u Drugom svjetskom ratu, u osvajanju Poljske, u ratu na Balkanu i Grčkoj, gdje je zaslužio Viteški križ. Naime, bio je jedan od 27 ljudi kojima je dodijeljena posebna vrsta Željeznog križa: Viteški križ s hrastovim lišćem, mačevima i dijamantima (njem. Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten), koji se dodjeljivao za izuzetnu hrabrost na bojnom polju ili za izvanredno vojno vođenje. Posebno se istaknuo na Istočnom bojištu, gdje je predvodio mnoge grupe vojske zahvaljujući svemu tome stekao je mnoga unaprijeđenja i postao omiljen među vodećim nacistima, Goebbelsu i Hitleru. [2]

Između ostalog, Schörner je kao uvjereni nacist bio poznat po svojoj brutalnosti. Na kraju Drugoga svjetskoga rata bio je Hitlerov omiljeni zapovjednik, a u travnju 1945. postao je jedan od zapovjednika obrane Berlina te je naslijedio Hitlera na mjestu zapovjednika njemačkih Obrambenih snaga, koje je Hitler osobno držao od 1941. [1] [2]

Sovjetske vlasti uhitile su Schörnera u kolovozu 1951. te ga optužile "da je tijekom okupacije SSSR-a, s položaja zapovjednika u bivšoj njemačkoj vojsci te jednog od tvoraca plana napada na SSSR, aktivno sudjelovao u pripremi i provedbi zločinačkog rata protiv SSSR-a kršeći pritom međunarodna prava i ugovore". U veljači 1952. godine Vojni odbor Vrhovnog suda SSSR osudio ga je na 25 godina zatvora. Uredbom Predsjedništva Vrhovnog sovjeta u travnju 1952. smanjena mu je kazna na 12 i pol godina. Uredbom iz prosinca 1954. godine omogućeno mu je da se preda vlastima Demokratske Republike Njemačke, koje su dozvolile da ode u Zapadnu Njemačku 1958. godine. Tu je uhićen i optužen za ilegalna pogubljenja njemačkih vojnika optuženih za dezerterstva tijekom rata. Proglašen je krivim i osuđen na kaznu zatvora u trajanju od četiri i pol godine, koju je i odslužio. Pušten je 1963. godine i, gotovo zaboravljen, ostatak života proveo u Münchenu, u kojem je umro 1973. Potkraj 1960-ih dao je poduži intervju talijanskom povjesničaru Mariju Silvestriju, gdje je govorio o svom sudjelovanju u Prvom svjetskom ratu, u već spomenutoj Bitki kod Caporetta. [1]

Posljednji je njemački feldmaršal koji je umro: naime, nadživio je i Ericha von Mansteina za 23 dana. Pokopan je u Mittenwaldu. Posljednji preživjeli njemački časnik ekvivalentnog čina sa Schörnerom bio je admiral flote Karl Dönitz, posljednji predsjednik Trećeg Reicha, koji je umro 1980.


Post-war trials and imprisonments

Schörner was arrested in August 1951 by the Soviet authorities on charges that "he occupied positions of command in the former German Army, actively participating in the preparation and carrying on of a criminal war against the USSR in violation of international law and treaties." In February 1952 the Military Board of the USSR Supreme Court sentenced him to 25 years’ imprisonment. A decree of the Praesidium of the Supreme Soviet in April 1952 reduced this sentence to 12 and a half years. A decree of December 1954 allowed him to be handed over to authorities of the German Democratic Republic, who allowed him to leave for West Germany in 1958. There he was arrested and charged with the illegal executions of German Army soldiers accused of desertion. He was found guilty and sentenced to four and a half years’ jail, which he served. He was released in 1963 and lived in obscurity in Munich until his death in 1973. In the late 1960s he gave a lengthy interview to Italian historian Mario Silvestri which centered on his role and actions during the Austro-German victory at the battle of Caporetto in World War I rather than on his World War II service.The quoted material is translated from Soviet documents by the authors

At the time of his death he was the last living German field marshal, having outlived Erich von Manstein by 23 days. No field marshals have been created since. He is buried in Mittenwald.


Post-war trials and convictions [ edit ]

Schörner was arrested in August 1951 by the Soviet authorities on charges of war crimes. In February 1952 the Military Board of the USSR Supreme Court sentenced him to 25 years of imprisonment. A decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in April 1952 reduced this sentence to 12 and a half years. A decree of December 1954 allowed him to be handed over to authorities of the German Democratic Republic, which allowed him to leave for West Germany in 1958. There he was arrested and charged with executions of German Army soldiers accused of desertion, found guilty and sentenced to four and a half years' jail, which he served. He was released in 1963 and lived in obscurity in Munich until his death in 1973. In the late 1960s he gave a lengthy interview to Italian historian Mario Silvestri on his role and actions during the Austro-German victory at the Battle of Caporetto in World War I rather than on his World War II service. [b]


Ferdinand Schörner

Ferdinand Schörner (12 June 1892 – 2 July 1973) was a German general and later field marshal in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He commanded several army groups and was the last Commander-in-chief of the German Army.

Schörner is commonly represented in historical literature as a simple disciplinarian and a slavish devotee of Hitler's defensive orders, after Germany lost the initiative in the second half of World War II in 1942/43. [3] More recent research by American historian Howard Davis Grier and German historian Karl-Heinz Frieser depicts Schörner as a talented commander with "astonishing" organizational ability in managing an army group of 500,000 men during the fighting in late 1944 on the Eastern Front. [3] He was harsh against superiors as well as subordinates and carried out operations on his own authority against Hitler's orders when he considered it necessary, such as the evacuation of the Sõrve Peninsula. [3]

Schörner was a dedicated Nazi and became well known for his ruthlessness. By the end of World War II he was Hitler's favorite commander. Following the war he was convicted of war crimes by courts in the Soviet Union, and West Germany, and was imprisoned in the Soviet Union, East Germany and West Germany. At his death in 1973 he was the last living German field marshal. He is also considered by historians to be one of the main reasons why the German military did away with the rank of field marshal altogether.


Watch the video: Biografia de Ferdinand Schörner (December 2021).