Fritsch, Werner, born 04-08-1880 in Benrath,
son of Generalleutnant Georg Freiherr von Fritsch, the first proffesional soldier in the family and his wife Adelheid (born von Bodelschwingh), joined the Army on 21-09-1998, as a Fahnenjunker, age 18. He came to Field Artillery Regiment No. 25. On 27-01-1900 he was promoted to leutnant in this regiment. In 1902 he was commanded to the artillery and engineering school for one year. In 1903 he was appointed Adjutant of the 1st Division of Field Artillery Regiment No. 25. From 1907 to 1910 he attended the war academy in Berlin, where he was promoted to Oberleutnant on 18-10-1909. In 1913 he was transferred to the High General Staff and promoted to Hauptmann there on 22-03-1913. During the First World War he held various staff positions: General Staff of the 1st Guard Infantry Division, General Staff of the 4th Army, General Staff of the Commanding General of the Air Force and Ia on the General Staff of the VI. Reserve Corps. On 16-09-1917 he was promoted to major i.G. During the war he was awarded swords and two iron crosses
and the Knight’s Cross of the Royal Prussian House Order of Hohenzollern.
and the wounded badge
for a head wound he received while visiting the front lines. Fritz remained in the Reichswehr
and was commander in Chief of the Army to 28-01-1938. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, von Fritsch was appalled by their lawlessness and suppression of civil liberties. Unlike most of his brother Generals, von Fritsch made no effort to hide his hostility to the Nazis, especially the SS. He was also worried that Adolf Hitler
(did you know
) (see Hitler parents
(see William Hitler
) would cause a war with the Soviet Union, like most of his fellow officers, he had supported the Weimar liaison with Moscow. Despite his hostility to the Nazis, von Fritsch was promoted to the Army High Command, in 1934.
He was named Commander in Chief of the Army the next year. He, alongside Werner Freiherr von Blomberg
set about rearming Germany. Fritz was very critical of this demand, as he knew the army was not ready. Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Goering
(did you know
) (see Goering Peter
) (see Carin Fock
) (see Goering-Sonnemann
inspired by the resignation of Werner von Blomberg, accused the unmarried von Fritsch of engaging in homosexual activity. Von Fritsch had never been a womanizer and had preferred to concentrate on his army career, he was forced to resign on 04-02-1938. His replacement was, Generalfeldmarschall der Artillerie, Walter von Brauchitsch
The successful annexation of Austria into Greater Germany of 12-03-1938 silenced all critics of Hitler, Goering, Goebbels
(did you know
Death and burial ground of Fritsch, Werner Freiherr von.
Fritsch was acquitted on 18 March, but the damage to his name had been done. Fritz volunteered in the fields of World War II, as the commander of the 12th
Artillery Regiment. The Nazi regime’s disgraceful behavior toward General von Fritsch turned many like-minded officers such as Ludwig Beck
into sworn enemies. Other officers whose loathing for Hitler and the regime now boiled over include Abwehr Chief Admiral Wilhelm Canaris
his second in command Colonel-General Hans Paul Oster
, Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben
, and General Carl Heinrich von Stülpnagel
– all of whom would play leading roles in the six-year conspiracy to overthrow Hitler. Von Witzleben was put to death on 08-08-1944 at Plötzensee Prison in Berlin. By Hitler’s direct orders, he was hanged with a thin hemp rope (which people who were not from the prison staff called a piano wire) wound around a meat hook
, and the execution was filmed. The footage has since been lost.
During the invasion of Poland, on a reconnaissance expedition in Praga near Warsaw, the still frustrated von Fritz was hit by a bullet, MG fire or a sniper shot and tore an artery in his leg, during a raiding patrol along the wall of the slaughterhouse between Zacisze and Zabki. He refused medical help, is the story, and bled to death. It is said by some that he deliberately sought death, walking towards the Polish fire.
Freiherr von Fritsch died at the age of 59, on 22-09-1939, On 25.09. in the evening the coffin with the corpse is arriving at the Stettin railway station in Berlin. He will be transferred by solemnizing military teariness-escort of the OKW
at the Tirpitzufer-street. Hermann Goering lays a laurel-wreath at the coffin, the commemorative address was orated by General Field Marshall von Brauchitsch.
General Wilhelm Keitel
arrived at the ceremony only just in time to lay a wreath on behalf of Hitler and Fritsch was buried with full honour on the Invaliden Cemetery in Berlin, later Fritz Todt
head of the RSHA
became his neighbours.
There is a monument in honor of Werner von Fritsch in Bergen-Hohne