Brauchitsch, Walther Heinrich Alfred Hermann von, born 01-10-1881 in Berlin , Josef Goebbels (did you know) was Hitler’s Gauleiter of Berlin, was a German Field Marshal and the Commander in Chief of the Wehrmacht, in the early years of World war II. Brauchitsch was a brother in law of Werner Karl von Haeften who was participated in Oberst der Kavallerie, Graf Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg the Wolfschanze bomb attack, 20-07-1944. He was born as the sixth child of General der Kavallerie Bernhard von Brauchitsch, Heinrich Alfred Hermann Walther von Brauchitsch and Charlotte, born von Gordon was raised in and around the Imperial Court. The Brauchitsch family had a long tradition of military service, and like his forefathers, Brauchitsch was raised in the tradition of the Prussian officer corps. His family moved in the leading social circles of Berlin’s high society, and his family name and father’s military rank put him on equal footing with any officer or official. In his teens, Brauchitsch was interested in politics, and was fascinated by art. To help him pursue these interests, his father enrolled him at Französisches Gymnasium Berlin rather than a military academy. His military career began as a Fahnenjunker in 1895 with the Königin Elisabeth Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Nr.3 . He was commissioned into the Prussian Guard Corps in March 1900. From December 1900 he was with the 3rd Garde-Feldartillerie-Regiment, as a Lieutenant, Promoted to Oberleutnant on 18-10-1909 and Hauptmann on 18-12-1913. By the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Brauchitsch had reached the rank of Hauptmann, and was appointed staff officer to the XVI Army Corps stationed near Metz. During World War I, he served with the 34th Infantry Division and Guards Reserve Corps. Between 1914 and 1916, he took part in the Battle of Verdun and Battle of the Argonne Forest. In the remaining two years of the conflict, Brauchitsch took part in the Third Battle of the Aisne, the Aisne-Marne offensive, the Second Battle of the Aisne, the Battle of Armentières, and the Battle of Flanders. Brauchitsch was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class and the House Order of Hohenzollern, and ended the war with the rank of major. After Adolf Hitler (did you know)
(see William Hitler) came to power the 100.000 men German Army was rapidly expanded and as a result and he was promoted to Oberstleutnant on 01-04-1925, Oberst on 01-04-1928 and Generalmajor on 01-10-1931. Von Brauchitsch became Chief of the East Prussian Military District Commanding Group Command 4 at Leipzig. In 1938, von Brauchitsch, who married on 29-12-1910, divorced his wife Elizabeth von Karstedt, she was reported as both unattractive and emotionally cool, but she hailed from a noble family, and perhaps Walter saw this union as one which might advance his Army career. He on 30-09-1938 married the daughter of a Silesian judge, and ardent Hitler admirer, Charlotte Rüffer , who was a fanatical supporter of the Nazis too. Hitler described her as “a 200 percent rabid Nazi”. Hitler set aside his usual anti-divorce sentiments and encouraged Brauchitsch to divorce and remarry. Hitler even lent him 80,000 Reichsmarks, which he needed since the family wealth was all his wife’s. Charlotte Rüffer, who von Brauchitsch already knew from 1925, went on to marry a bank director named Schmidt, but he had drowned in his bath during a visit to Berlin, so when Walter returned from East Prussia in 1937, the pair resumed their affair. In 1938, Hitler promoted him to General Oberst and named him Commander-in-Chief of the Army, he succeeded Generalfeldmarschall der Infanterie, Werner Freiherr von Blomberg.
Von Blomberg was removed after his marriage with a lady with a easy virtue, Erna Gruhn. Adolf was his best man. The C-in-C of the Army, Generaloberst Baron Werner Freiherr von Fritsch was touted as a likely candidate, but he was a known anti Nazi, and disliked by Hitler. Hermann Goering also had his eye on this plum job, but needed to shunt Fritsch, so teaming up with Heinrich Himmler, and the head of the Security Service Reinhard Heydrich, they conspired to frame Fritsch on homosexual activity charges. Almost as soon as von Brauchitsch was appointed to this post, he became aware of the conspiracy of army officers against Hitler, Generaloberst der Artillerie, Ludwig Beck and Generaloberst der Infanterie, Head of the Army General Staff from 1938 until September 1942, Franz Halder. Despite the fact that von Brauchitsch disapproved of many of Hitler’s plans, he refused to become involved in the conspiracy because he felt bound by the oath of loyalty he, like all other officers of the army, made to Hitler. Von Brauchitsch, here with von Reichenau right,
a weak and docile personality , was instrumental in the planning and carrying out of attacks on Poland, the Netherlands (see Jan Ackermans) (see About), Belgium, France, Yugoslavia, Greece and the Soviet Union. In the swift invasion and occupation of Yugoslavia and Greece in early April 1941, the Germans committed some 337,000 men, 2,000 mortars, 1,500 artillery pieces, 1,100 anti-tank guns, 875 tanks and 740 other armoured fighting vehicles, all of which were under the overall command of Brauchitsch. By the end of the month, all of Yugoslavia and Greece were in German hands. As the Battle of Moscow got under way, his health was starting to fail. Even so, he continued his work, as he was determined to take Moscow before the start of winter. The army’s failure to take Moscow earned Hitler’s enmity, and things worsened for him, as he suffered a heart attack in November. He was also informed that he had a malignant cardiac disease, most likely incurable.
After the early successes of the war, he became more and more subservient to Hitler, complying with the Führer’s orders even against his own better judgment. He had failed to take Moscow in the war against Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union, earning Hitler’s enmity. In 1941, things went further downhill for von Brauchitsch, as he endured a serious heart attack and Hitler (see Hitler Paula) relieved him on the 19-12-1941, age 60. Hitler himself assumed the role of Commander-in-Chief of the Army. From then on, von Brauchitsch lived with a cloud over his name. At the end of the war, von Brauchitsch was arrested on his estate in Schleswig-Holstein, charged with war crimes, together with Generalfeldmarschall der Infanterie, Oberbefehlhaber Heeresgruppe Sud, Erich von Manstein and Generalfeldmarschall der Panzertruppe, Kommandeur Battle of the Bulge, Gerd von Rundstedt, Later taken to Great Britain, being imprisoned at Island Farm. Generalfeldmarschall von Brauchitsch was to have been tried by a British Military Court in 1949.
Death and burial ground of Brauchitsch, Walther Heinrich Alfred Hermann von.
The practically blind Field Marshal died of heart failure/thrombosis in the British military hospital in Hamburg on 18-10-1948, before he could be prosecuted. The German Army was his life, but he allowed personal advancement and his love of Charlotte to sell out his principles, and his fellow officers to Hitler to achieve his own ends. Generalfeldmarschall Walther von Brauchitsch was the younger brother of Adolf von Brauchitsch who retired from the German Army on 31-01-1929 with the rank of Charakter als Generalmajor. Born on 07-11-1876 in Berlin, Adolf von Brauchitsch died on 21-01-1935, age 58 in Chemnitz. Walther’s son Oberst Bernd von Brauchitsch surrendered to the Americans with the group
of Hermann Goering, Ritter von Epp General der Flieger Karl Koller and and Waldemar “Axel” Fegelein. Walther von Brauchitsch is buried on the small cemetery of Salzgitter Hohenrode.