Küchler, Georg von, born 30-05-1881 at Schloss Phillipsruhe, Hanau, from a family of Prussian Junker. His father was a Hessisch officer and Georg attended the cadet school. He entered the Imperial Army in 1900 and served in the 25th Field Artillery Regiment. After being promoted to First Leutnant, he spent three years at the Prussian Military Academy , before joining the General Staff in Berlin. During the First World War he commanded an artillery battery on the Western Front and took part in the major offensives at the Somme and Verdun. In 1916 he became Staff Officer of the Infantry Division. In 1919 Küchler joined the Freikorps and fought the Red Army in Poland. After returning to Germany he joined the Staff of the Jüterbog Artillery School. Promoted to Oberst, Küchler became Deputy Commander of the 1st Infantry Division in East Prussia in 1932. Küchler succeeded Generalfeldmarschall der Artillerie, Walther von Brauchitsch as commander of Wehrkreis I in 1937. The following year he supported Adolf Hitler in his removal of Generalfeldmarschall, Werner von Blomberg and Generaloberst der Infanterie, Werner von Fritsch from power. In March 1939 he cooperated with Reichsführer SS, Heinrich Himmler in the successful occupation of the Lithuanian port of Memel. He received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.
On the outbreak of the Second World War Küchler was given command of the 3rd Army . During the invasion of Poland Küchler’s troops captured Danzig. A committed supporter of the Nazi Party, Küchler upset the Schutzstaffel (SS) by punishing soldiers who committed atrocities against civilians. In 1940 he became far more supportive of Nazi racial policy and ordered on 22-02-1940 stop to any criticism of “ethnic struggle being carried out in the General Government, for instance the of the Polish minorities, of the Jews and of the Church matters”. His order explained that the “Final ethnic solution” required unique and harsh measures. In the Western Offensive he fought under Generalfeldmarschall,Fedor von Bock and commanded the Eighteenth Army, which invaded the Netherlands. Von Küchler led the successful German attack on the Netherlands in May 1940. In the Johannes Post School in Rijsoord he drew the capitulation document of the Dutch armed forces together with the Dutch General Henri Winkelman.
He then moved on to Belgium. Here too he achieved success and his 18. Armee then invaded France. His army ended this part of the war in Pas-de-Calais with the encirclement of Dunkirk. General Henri Winkelman died peacefully at his home on 27-12-1952, age 72 in Soesterberg…
Küchler’s was succeeded by Generaloberst der Infanterie, Georg Lindemann In the invasion of neutral Netherlands, (see Jan Ackermans) he was able to defeat the Dutch army at Moerdijk, Rotterdam, and the Hague together with Hermann Goering’s (did you know) Luftwaffe General der Flieger, Kommandeur der 1st Fallschirmjäger Regiment, Kurt Student. Afterwards Küchler’s forces moved into Belgium and occupied Antwerp on 18-05-1940. Then he moved into France, attempting to cut off the British Expeditionary Force under command of Field Marshal John Standish Surtees Prendergast Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort
, from the English Channel at Dunkirk, which ultimately ended in failure. The 18th Army ended this phase of the war at Pas de Calais encircling Dunkirk.
Küchler’s role in this campaign earned him the rank of Generaloberst. He met Hitler in March 1941 to plan for Operation Barbarossa. On 17-01-1942, Küchler became commander of Army Group North after Generalfeldmarschall, Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb was relieved of his command. Küchler, unlike his predecessor Leeb, was seen as politically compliant and was liked by Adolf Hitler, who hoped that von Küchler would succeed where he believed von Leeb had failed. Küchler commanded Army Group North from December 1941 through January 1944 but was unable to achieve any victory at Leningrad. He maintained the siege of Leningrad, launching massive bombardments in an attempt to intimidate the Soviet Red Army into surrender. On 30-06-1942 Adolf Hitler (did you know) promoted Küchler to Field Marshal . In January 1944 Soviet troops were able to break the blockade of Leningrad and Küchler was sacked when he demanded the withdrawal to the Luga River, which was vital to the survival of Army Group North. While in retirement Küchler was approached by Carl Goerdeler, Goerdeler, age 61, was executed by hanging on 02-02-1945 at Plötzensee in Berlin, who tried to persuade him to join the July Plot.
Although sympathetic to the group’s objectives, he refused to participate in the attempt to assassinate Hitler. At the end of World War II Küchler was arrested by American occupation authorities and tried by a military court in 1948 in the High Command Trial. On 27-10-1948 he was sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment for his treatment of partisans in the Soviet Union but only served eight years before he was released in 1953 due to illness and old age. His son Dieter survived the war, but died 25 years ol om 11-10-1951.
Death and burial ground of Küchler, Georg Carl Wilhelm Friedrich von.
. Georg von Küchler died in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on 25-05-1968, old age 86 and is buried with his wife Lisa, born Enckvoort, who died age 76, on 21-07-1967, on the Old Cemeterey of Darmstadt. Close by the graves of General der Flieger, Kommandeur der XXXIV Armee-Korps, Hans Felmy and General der Infanterie, commander of the 697th Infantry Regiment, Hans Roth.