Wilhelm Keitel

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During the Second World War, Wilhelm Keitel held one of the top positions in Hitler’s “Nazi” dictatorship. He was one of the most devoted adherents of Hitler’s ideas and served as a field marshal of the “Armed Forces High Command,” for which he took a lot of heat from his fellow officers. Throughout his military career, Keitel made numerous choices that helped Hitler achieve his objectives of establishing fascism the dominant ideology in as many nations as he could. The “Commissar Order,” one of his most well-known orders, led to the immediate execution of several Soviet commissars. Being one of the important military officers in the government prevented him from receiving any formal designation from the “National Socialist German Workers’ Party” (NSDAP), generally known as the Nazi party, despite his best efforts. Keitel said that he was aware of Hitler’s terrible intentions but was compelled to obey him because of national law after Hitler was overthrown. He was tried by the Nuremberg court despite his defenses and given the death penalty. He was the third senior Nazi military officer to receive the death penalty at Nuremberg when he was put to death in October 1946.

Early Childhood & Life

Wilhelm Keitel was born on September 22, 1882, to landowner Carl Keitel and his wife Apollonia Vissering in Helmscherode, a town in the Duchy of Brunswick, Germany. The oldest of his siblings, he was. His father insisted that he join the family business once he finished his studies at Gottingen, but the young kid had completely other aspirations.

He desired to help his country. He was not academically gifted, but he loved reading, along with farming and hunting. His ancestors had served in the military for many years. He so began training for his acceptance into the national army.

At the age of 19, he enlisted in the German army’s artillery corps in 1901. He participated in combat on the western front in Flanders when the First World War started. He was shot, and the wound on his right arm was really bad. Nevertheless, his valor was recognized, and in 1915 he was swiftly elevated to the rank of captain.

In 1919, Keitel was promoted to join the “Freikorps” after Germany’s defeat in the war. He was appointed a teacher at the “Reichswehr Cavalry School” a year later, a position he kept for the following two years. He exerted more effort to stand out to senior officials since he hoped to one day have a position of authority. He advanced through the ranks quickly during the ensuing years.

A brief history of Hitler

Keitel was appointed as a minister of the Reichswehr in 1925, and in 1929, he received a promotion that brought him up to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He also oversaw the “Army Organization Department” for the following five years.

He met Hitler for the first time in 1931, following his promotion to colonel. Keitel had later admitted throughout his trials that they hadn’t actually met until 1938. His letters to his wife in 1933, however, painted a very different picture. The letters made it quite evident that after his lengthy conversation with Hitler in 1931, he was in awe of him and greatly impressed by him.

In 1934, Keitel received his subsequent promotion, elevating him to the position of major general. He was also tasked with leading the 4th infantry division, which had its headquarters in Bremen, around this time.

Advance in the Ranks

He was awarded another appointment before the end of 1935, and this time it was a significant one. He was appointed the “Wehrmacht Armed Forces for the Ministry of War” commander and given charge of establishing the “Wehrmacht High Command.” He joined Hitler’s inner circle and became one of his closest associates as a result of this award. He received a raise to the position of artillery general.

He received yet another significant elevation in February 1938 when he was named the head of the “Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.” He was never given the same level of power as his predecessor, Werner von Blomberg, and the majority of his duties were administrative. With the exception of these minor obstacles, he enjoyed a smooth transition into one of the important men in Hitler’s office.

Due to his allegiance to Hitler and his adherence to the party’s ideas, he was promoted to the rank of colonel general while serving as the highest-ranking military officer of the “Nazi Party.” He did, however, earn the disgust of the other members of Hitler’s cabinet in the process.

His nick moniker was “Lakaitel,” which is slang for a lackey or a bootlicker. He was public of the opinion that Hitler was the “greatest military commander-in-chief of all time” and was a military genius.

He was informed of every policy and strategy for the “Third Reich’s” future, but he was never granted the power to directly affect its decisions or actions. He was merely a minister at first, but subsequently, he was given responsibility for putting the cabinet’s objectives into action.

Crimes of war

He carried out Hitler’s orders to exterminate sizable portions of the Russian and Polish populations in the late 1930s. He also played a major role in putting into practice the “terror fliers policy,” which allowed commanders to order troops to shoot down US or UK fighter jets and execute the crew.

When the fascist government took over in Germany, it revealed its real colors. Keitel put into effect the “Nacht und Nebel,” an order that granted the military more latitude to kill anyone posing a threat to the national integrity, including POWs and German civilians. The fundamental flaw in Keitel’s case at the Nuremberg trial was the absence of a trial for those “crimes,” which never took place.

He served as Hitler’s right-hand man throughout his visits to Rome, Munich, and Britain prior to the start of World War II. He blindly followed Hitler, which greatly disrupted the cabinet’s internal operations. He is alleged to have influenced many of Hitler’s wartime policies. These choices frequently tipped the scales to Germany’s advantage.

Hitler was so taken with Keitel that he elevated him to the rank of field marshal after Germany invaded France in 1940. He oversaw Germany’s assault on Russia and the Axis-African forces the following year.

War’s end and trial

Hitler’s suicide in May 1945 somehow signaled the end of the war. On May 8, 1945, Wilhelm Keitel was permitted to sign the unconditional German surrender to the allied forces. He was taken into custody and tried five days later.

He confessed during the initial round of questioning that he was a fervent supporter of Hitler and that, to him, the dictator was more of an enigma than a person.

He was brought before the “International Military Tribunal” in Nuremberg to answer for his crimes against humanity and the peace. He argued that he was only acting in accordance with orders in order to defend himself. He asked the court to allow him to be shot as a soldier when his defenses were rejected and he was about to get the death penalty. His request was turned down, nevertheless.

On October 16, 1946, he was finally hanged at the Nuremberg jail. Keitel had written his autobiography while he was incarcerated; it was later made public.

Individual Life of Wilhelm Keitel

In April 1909, Wilhelm Keitel wed Lisa Fontaine, the affluent daughter of a landowner. Six children were born into the marriage, however, one of them passed away at a young age. Karl-Heinz Keitel, his eldest child, followed in his father’s footsteps and enlisted in the military. Karl perished in 1940 during the German invasion of France.

Ernst-Wilhelm Keitel, another of his sons who had served in the military, was detained by the Soviets at the end of the Second World War but eventually freed.

Estimated net worth

Famous Criminal Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel had a pre-death net worth of $1–$5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, IMDb, and other online sources. Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel made a living as a professional felon. German national Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel is from.