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Johannes Blaskowitz

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Johannes Blaskowitz(1883-1948) was a Generalobertst in the Second World War German Army, who served in the Austrian, Sudetenland, Polish campaigns on the Western Front. He was indicted in the High Command Case of the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, but committed suicide, possibly under suspicious circumstances, before trial.

Pre-WWII

From 1930 to 1932, he commanded the 14th Regiment, then was Inspector of Weapons Schools for the Ministry of War.[1] In 1935, he was promoted to Lieutenant-General and Commander of Defence District II, Stettin. In 1938 he was appointed Field Commander of Army Group 3 (Dresden).

Early campaigns

In the invasion of Austria and Bohemia, leading the Third Army into the Sudetenland in March 1939.

Polish campaign

He was the chief planner for the operation, commanded the 8th Army in the attack on Poland and then was Military Governor of the occupied country, On September 27, 1939, Blaskowitz received the surrender of Warsaw and on October 22, 1939, he was made Military Governor of the German occupying forces in Poland.

He wrote memos of complaint, between November 1939 and February 1940, to Army Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Walter von Brauchitsch. Blaskowitz documented many instances of raping, horsewhipping, murder and looting of Jewish and Polish shops, by both the Einsatzkommandos and other SS personnel, and warned that the SS “might later turn against their own people in the same way.” Hitler relieved him for his "childish attitude." [2]

Western Front

He led the Case Anton operation in 1940, in which German forces occupied part of Vichy France. Admiral Erich Raeder assured Hitler that the French would protect their fleet, so he did not seize Toulon; the French later scuttled ships to avoid capture.

In 1944, he was given command of Army Group G, reporting to Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt which was preparing to defend against the expected Allied invasion in France. Relieved of his command after the defeat in Lorraine, he was transferred to the Netherlands in early 1945, in command of Fortress Holland, where he surrendered to the British.

High Command Case

"He committed suicide on February 5, 1948, in Nuremberg prison, shortly before his trial as a minor war criminal was due to begin. The charges appear to have been relatively minor, and for which other defendants were acquitted: a violation of the Commando Order of which he was probably unaware.

His death involved breaking away from a group of prisoners and hurling himself down a stairwell, which would have been difficult to arrange. There can be only speculation for his reasoning, but suggestions have included shame at being charged at all, or the conflict between keeping his word under oath and testifying against brother officers. [3]

References

  1. Johannes Blaskowitz, The Generals of WWII
  2. Johannes Blaskowitz, Jewish Virtual Library
  3. Giziowski, Richard. The Enigma of General Blaskowitz. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1997