Gerd von Rundstedt

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Gerd von Rundsted was a senior field marshal of the German Army, who had great contempt for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, but repeatedly took on assignments believing it was his duty to Germany, even if distasteful. While he had great prestige and often moral courage, his record was mixed when it came to recognizing new doctrine and technology, and also in upholding totalitarian acts. Nevertheless, he was never seriously accused of war crimes.

He had become a major and division chief of staff in World War I, and continued into the Reichswehr.


After taking command of the 3rd Infantry Division in 1932, he threatened Chancellor Franz von Papen with his resignation,Franz von Papen declared martial law and ordered his troops to eject members of the Social Democratic Party from government offices. However, Rundstedt eventually agreed to carry out the task.

In February 1934, Rundstedt joined with General Wilhelm von Leeb to block the pro-Nazi Walther von Reichenau in becoming Army Commander-in-Chief. Von Reichenau was the preference of the pro-Nazi Minister of War, General Werner von Blomberg to succeed [[[Kurt Hammerstein-Equord]]. He also tried to protect General Werner von Fitsch when he was ousted after false claims were made about his sexuality.

Rundstedt was unhappy with the growing power of Adolf Hitler over the army and resigned from office on October 31, 1938.

World War II

Although 64 years old, Rundstedt was recalled to the army with the outbreak of the Second World War and, in September 1939, led Army Group South into Poland. He subsequently led army groups in the Battle of France and in Operation Barbarossa, and had been scheduled to do so in Operation Sea Lion.

Hitler named him the overall Commander-in-Chief West, although he would never name a single commander for the Russian Front.