Halder, Franz, born 30-06-1884 in Würzburg, joined the 3rd
Royal Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment in Munich, in 1902, age 18. He was commissioned a Leutnant two years later, and he soon built a reputation as an able staff officer. Between 1906 and 1907 he attended the Artillery School. 1907 married Gertrude Halder, born Erl, who also came from a military family. The marriage produced three daughters.
In 1914 during World War I, Halder became an Ordnance Officer, serving in the Headquarters of the Bavarian 3rd
Army Corps. He remained in the new Reichswehr
. After being promoted to Generalmajor in October 1934, Halder served as the Commander of the 7th
in Munich. He was called a military snob, believing that no amateur can ever understand the mysteries of war. Quick, shrewd and witty, he was a brilliant specialist in operational and training matters and the son of a distinguished General. He supported Ludwig Beck
resistance to Hitler, but when it came to a crunch was no real help. Flirt as he did, in September, with those opposed to Hitler, he toed the party line when extreme pressure was exerted for the return of the Sudetenland and its German nationals by the Czechs to Germany.
Generalfeldmarschall der Infanterie, Wilhelm Keitel
had asked Halder to become Chief of the General Staff and report to General der Infanterie, Walther von Reichenau
Von Reichenau died age 69, on 17-01-1942, of heart failure. Halder could not work with von Reichenau and Hitler (see Alois Hitler
(did you know
) appointed Generalfeldmarschall der Artillerie, Walther von Brauchitsch
as the new Chief of Staff. Halder presented plans to Hitler
on how to invade Czechoslovakia with a pincer movement by Generalfeldmarschall der Infanterie,Kommandeur Battle of the Bulge
, Gerd von Rundstedt
and Generalfeldmarschall der Artillerie, Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb
. Neither plan was necessary once British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain
brokered the “Munich Agreement”.
For his role in the planning and preparing of the invasion of Poland Halder received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on 27-10-1939.
On September 19 Halder noted in his diary that he had received information from the SS Commander, Reinhard Heydrich
that the SS was beginning its campaign to “clean house” in Poland of Jews, intelligentsia, Catholic Clergy and the aristocracy. Halder knew about the killings of Jews much earlier than he later acknowledged during post-World War II interviews
, and that he failed to object to such killings. Halder noted in his diary his doubts “about the measures intended by Heinrich Himmler
During the summer of 1942 Halder told Adolf Hitler
that he was underestimating the number of Russian military units; Casualties: 22-06-1941 – 10-09-1942 in the East: killed : 336,349 including 12,385 Officers, wounded : 1,226,941 including 34,525 Officers, missing : 75,990 including 1,056 Officers, total : 1,637,280 including 47,966 Officers. Hitler argued that the Russians were nearly broken. Furthermore, Hitler (see Hitler Paula
did not like Halder’s objections to sending Generalfeldmarschall der Infanterie, Erich von Manstein’s
to assist in the attack against Leningrad. The 11th
Army was activated in 1940 to prepare for the forthcoming German attack on the Soviet Union. Hitler decided that the General no longer possessed an aggressive war mentality and therefore retired Halder into the “Fuhrer Reserve” on 24-09-1942. Halder was replaced by Generaloberst Kurt Zeitzler
Halder was arrested by the Gestapo, although he was not involved in the 20-07-1944 assassination attempt and was imprisoned at both the Flossenbürg (see Wilhelm Canaris
) (see Hans Oster
and the Dachau concentration camps. He was imprisoned at Flossenbürg and Dachau concentration camps. In the closing days of the war, a number of prisoners who were of high value to the Nazis, including Halder, French premier Léon Blum
and Austrian chancellor, Kurt Schuschnigg
, were transferred from Dachau to a hotel in the Tirolean Alps, and the group was liberated by Allied troops in May 1945.
On 31-01-1945 Halder was officially dismissed from the army. Halder was liberated by US troops on 04-05-1945 after the SS guards fled.
In 1946 Halder gave evidence against leading members of the Nazi Party at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. His critics have pointed out that Halder’s objections to Hitler were based on military differences rather than a rejection of Nazi philosophy. For example, he became involved in the July Plot because he believed that Hitler no longer had the ability to win the war.
Death and burial ground of Halder, Franz.
Halder spent the next two years in a prison war camp. Throughout his career, Franz Halder kept a diary rich in detail, noting not only the chronology of events but also the observed emotions of the main decision makers in Germany and other trivia that were otherwise not recorded on official documents. After the war, he cooperated with historians in constructing a view of the war through German eyes, acting as an adviser to the US Army Historical Division in the 1950s. US President John Kennedy
would later award him the Medal of Freedom
for his contributions in history. He died at the old age of 87 of heart failure in Aschau im Chiemsee, on 02-04-1972 and is buried
with his wife Gertrud, who died in 1973, on the small cemetery in Oberhausen, near Weilheim. His funeral was also attended by the former secret service General Reinard Gehlen
Cemetery and grave location of Halder, Franz.