Warlimont, Walter

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Warlimont, Walter
germanyGeneralWehrmacht
Warlimont, Walter, born 03-10-1894 in Osnabrück, the son of Louis Warlimont (1857-1923) und Anna Rinck (1860-1931). His parents came from Eupen, today part of the German speaking Community of Belgium, and migrated to Osnabrück. His father was a book man and antiquarian. An artillery cadet he was commissioned into the German Army in June 1914. He was commissioned as a second leutnant in the 10th Prussian Foot Artillery Regiment based in Alsace. During the first war, he served as an artillery officer and battery commander in France and later in Italy. He was promoted several times and progressed to become an brigade adjutant and battery commander. In late 1918, he served in General Ludwig Maercker’s  Freikorps Jäger rifle corps . Maercker died age 59 on 31-12-1924 in Dresden. Warlimont remained in the army and in 1922 was selected for General Staff training. This included spending time in England (1926) and the United States (1929). Walter Warlimont married 1927 Anita von Kleydorff (1899–1987), daughter of Franz Egenieff  or Marian Eberhard Franz Emil von Kleydorff, a German opera singer and actor and a son of Prince Emil zu Sayn-Wittgenstein- Berleburg and US-born Paula Busch, a niece of Adolphus Busch. His wife lived during World War I in the USA. Promoted to major Warlimont sent to Spain in September 1936 where Warlimont worked as a military adviser to General Bahamond Franco  during the early stages of the Spanish Civil War . In 1937, he wrote the Warlimont Memorandum calling for the reorganisation of the German armed forces under one staff unit and one supreme commander. The plan was to limit the power of the high officer caste in favour of Adolf Hitler. On the basis of this memorandum, Hitler developed the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (High command of the armed forces) , with Hitler as supreme commander. Warlimont was rewarded in 1939 with a post as deputy to General Alfred Jodl. In 1938 he was promoted toOberst and became commander of the 26th Artillery Regiment.
   While serving on this military operations planning staff, in early 1939 he assisted in developing some of the German military invasion plans of Poland. On 01-09-1939, German military forces invaded Poland, thereby starting World War II. 1940 saw his promotion to Generalmajor, and he assisted in developing the invasion plans of France. During the Battle of France, on 14-06-1940, Warlimont, in an audacious move, asked the pilot of his personal Fieseler Storch to land on the Place de la Concorde in central Paris. In 1941, he continued to assist in developing invasion operations into Russia. This earned his promotion to Generalleutnant in 1942. His meteoric advancement in rank almost sputtered out on 03-11-1942 when he was relieved of his job after a junior officer failed to process a message from Field Marshal Erwin Rommel sufficiently promptly. However, only five days later he was recalled to duty to visit the French Vichy Government in France to coordinate the defense of their colonial territories from possible occupation by the Allies. In February 1943, Warlimont here with Wilhelm Keitel  on the Berghof terrace traveled to Tunis to confer with Rommel as to whether or not the Germans should abandon North Africa.
The following year he worked under Generaloberst, Alfred Jodl as deputy head of the operations office in Berlin. On D-Day, when the Allies invaded Normandy, France, Warlimont telephoned General Jodl to request that the German tanks in Normandy should be released to attack the Allied invaders. Jodl responded that he did not want to make that decision; they would have to wait until Hitler awoke. Once Hitler awoke and authorised the release of the tanks for a counter-attack, it was too late to blunt the successful Allied invasion. The following day, Hitler sent Warlimont to inspect the German defences in Italy. In this role he attended Hitler’s military conferences and drafted most of Germany’s major operational plans and directives. Warlimont was seriously injured by the bomb placed by Oberst der Panzertruppe, Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg
    on 20-07-1944.  He also suffered a mild head concussion. Later in the day he telephoned Field Marshal Günther von Kluge  and convinced him that Hitler was alive; this prompted von Kluge not to continue in the anti-Hitler coup. Even though Warlimont was wounded alongside Hitler, nonetheless, he was wrongly viewed as possibly having been involved in the anti-Hitler conspiracy. In spite of this, he belatedly received the special 20th July Wound Badge , which was awarded only to those few wounded or killed in the 20 July explosion.
Even though Hitler (in the Wolfschanze) ordered Warlimont to travel to Paris on 1 August to study the German military situation there with Field Marshal von Kluge, Hitler thought that Warlimont might have been involved in the conspiracy to have him assassinated (an action which Warlimont denied). On 2 August, Warlimont met outside Paris with General Günther Blummentritt  and advised him that Hitler wanted the Germans to regain the attack initiative against the Allies through Operation Lüttich /Liege. Later, Warlimont urged General Heinrich Eberbach  to continue his attacks in the Falaise pocket region. Although all the German Generals informed Warlimont that they believed the attack would fail, he cabled Hitler that the Generals were “confident of success”. General Blumentritt died age 75 on 12-10-1967 in Munich and his gravestone on the Waldfriedhof in Munich is removed long ago.
Even Warlimont’s boss, General Jodl, believed similarly of Warlimont’s possible untrustworthy. But Warlimont was not involved with the anti-Hitler movement. Warlimont still carried out Hitler’s directives, but he was becoming disillusioned with Hitler and realised that Germany would be defeated.
Despite his doubts about Warlimont’s trustworthiness, during September 1944 General Jodl considered making Warlimont his Chief of Staff. However, at Warlimont’s request, due to his dizzy spells resulting from the 20 July assassination bombing against Hitler, he was transferred and retired to the OKH Command Pool (the Führer Reserve) , and was not further employed during the war. Throughout the war, Warlimont and his boss, General Jodl, had a very strained working relationship.
In October 1948, Warlimont was tried as a war criminal before a United States military tribunalin the High Command Trial because he passed on Hitler’s directive that Allied commandos should be executed instead of being held as prisoners-of-war, the so-called Commando Order. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment as a minor war criminal. However, in 1951 his sentence was reduced to 18 years. In 1957 there was an amnesty for certain prisoners, and he was finally released from Landsberg prison .

Death and burial ground of Warlimont, Walter.

    After the war he engaged in writing various war-historical studies. His book Inside Adolf Hitler’s Headquarters, 1939-45
 was published in 1964. Walter Warlimont died in Kreuth in Upper Bavaria on 09-10-1976, age 82 and is buried on the Stadtfriedhof of Gmund in Bavaria.
  

Cemetery and cross location of Warlimont, Walter.

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           Warlimont behind Goering (see Peter).                                              With (Keitel) on the Berghof.

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