Halder, Franz, born 30-06-1884 in Würzburg,
the son of officer Oberst Maximilian Halder, His mother’s name was Mathilde Steinheil. Franz 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 the First World War, Halder fought on both the western and eastern fronts. On 14-09-1914 he received the Iron Cross 1914, 2nd Class
for a dangerous reconnaissance assignment. On 06-01-1915 he became quartermaster of the 6. Königlich Bayerische Division. He was promoted to Hauptmann on 09-08-1915. On 15-12-1914 he received the Order of Military Merit of Bavaria 4th class with swords. On 22-12-1915 he received the Iron Cross 1st class. On 04-04-1917 the Knights Cross of the 1st Class of the Albrecht Order with Swords. On 06-02-1918 he received the Cross for Military Merit of Austria-Hungary 3rd Class with War Decoration for personal prowess and excellent performance. On 02-10-1918 he received the House Order of Hohenzollern.In 1919 he became a tactical teacher for the Ministry of National Defense. In 1922 he was promoted to Major and in 1931 to Oberst. He remained in the new Reichswehr
. In 1933 the Nazis came to power and Halder was
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.
Von Reichenau died age 69, on 17-01-1942, of heart failure. Halder could not work with von Reichenau and Hitler (see Alois 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”.
, 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. Halder’s wife and his eldest daughter were also arrested and imprisoned in the Flossenbürg concentration camp 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 “The Mother of God’s General”.
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 was engaged in the historiography of World War II. Franz Halder also wrote books. In 1949, for example, ‘Hitler als Feldherr’ (Hitler as general)
appeared. Franz Halder 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
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