Army Group South
Army Group South was the name of two German Army Groups during World War II. It was first used in the 1939 September Campaign. In the invasion of Poland Army Group South was led by Gerd von Rundstedt and his chief of staff Erich von Manstein. Two years Army Group South became one of three army groups into which Germany organised their forces for Operation Barbarossa. Army Group South's principal objective was to capture its capital Kiev. Ukraine was a major center of Soviet industry and mining and had the good farmland required for Hitler's plans for the Lebensraum. Army Group South was to advance up to the Volga River, engaging a part of the Red Army and thus clearing the way for the Army Group North and the Army Group Center on their approach to Leningrad and Moscow respectively. To carry out these initial tasks its battle order included the First Panzer Group and the German Sixth and Eleventh Armies, Luftlotte 1 and the Romanian Third and Fourth Armies. In preparation for Operation Blue, the 1942 campaign in southern Russia and the Caucasus, Army Group South was split into two army groups: Army Group A and Army Group B.
In February 1943, Army Group Don and the existing Army Group B were combined and re-designated Army Group South. A new Army Group B became a major formation elsewhere; the German Sixth Army, destroyed in the destructive Battle of Stalingrad, was re-constituted and made part of Army Group South in March 1943. On 4 April 1944, Army Group South was re-designated Army Group North Ukraine. Army Group North Ukraine existed from 4 April to 28 September. In September 1944, Army Group South Ukraine was again re-designated Army Group South. At the end of World War II in Europe, Army Group South was again renamed. Army Group Ostmark was one of the last major German military formations to surrender to the Allies
The German Cross was instituted by Adolf Hitler on 28 September 1941. It was awarded in two divisions: gold for repeated acts of achievement in combat; the German Cross in Gold ranked higher than the Iron Cross First Class but below the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, while the German Cross in Silver ranked higher than the War Merit Cross First Class with Swords but below the Knight's Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords. The German Cross was issued in two versions: gold and silver, the former being an award for repeated acts of bravery or repeated outstanding achievements in combat, the latter being for multiple distinguished services in war efforts and was considered a continuation of the War Merit Cross with swords. Article three of the law governing the German Cross states that a prerequisite for the presentation of the German Cross in Gold or Silver is the ownership of the Iron Cross 1st Class or Clasp to the Iron Cross 1st Class, or the War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords; the order consists of a star badge.
It was worn on the right-hand side of the tunic. If a recipient had been awarded both the silver and gold divisions, the gold division should be worn only. Only the gold version of the award was available in cloth form, made for easier wear on the combat uniform. Far more awards in gold were presented than in silver. Specimen copies of a special grade, the German Cross in Gold with Diamonds, was manufactured in 1942 but this grade was never instituted or bestowed. In 1957 alternative de-nazified replacement versions of the German Cross were authorized for wear by the Federal Republic of Germany; this replaced the swastika with a representation of the Iron Cross for the gold division, the War Merit Cross with Swords for the silver division. Wearing Nazi-era decorations was banned in Germany after the war, as was any display of the swastika; the 1957 replacement of the World War II decorations enabled recipients to wear the German Cross again but only in the new version of the insignia. Select recipients of both grades included: SS-Gruppenführer and Lieutenant General of the Police Odilo Globocnik GCiG 07.02.1945 & GCiS 20.01.1945, SS-Gruppenführer Bruno Streckenbach GCiG 15.12.1943 Major General Ernst Merk GCiG 11.02.1944 & GCiS 06.07.1942, SS-Standartenführer and Colonel of the Police Walther Rauff GCiG 07.02.1945 & GCiS 20.05.1943, General Felix Schwalbe GCiG 07.12.1944 & GCiS 30.10.1943, Lieutenant General Bodo Zimmermann GCiG 25.09.1944 & GCiS 15.02.1943.
SS-Hauptsturmführer Alfred-Ingemar Berndt GCiG 17 July 1943 SS-Sturmbannführer Wilhelm Mohnke GCiG 26 December 1941 SS-Obersturmbannführer Fritz Knoechlein GCiG 15 Nov 1942 Generalleutnant Walter Krupinski GCiG 27 Aug 1942 Select foreign recipients of the German Cross in Gold included: BelgiumStandartenführer Léon DegrelleCroatiaLieutenant Cvitan Galić 1st Lieutenant Mato DukovacEstoniaSenior Lieutenant Hando Ruus 30.12.1944FinlandGeneral Erik Heinrichs 17.08.1943 Lieutenant General Jarl Lundqvist 09.11.1943 Lieutenant General Karl Lennart Oesch 05.08.1944,ItalyVice Admiral Luigi Sansonetti 18.01.1942 Marshal Ettore Bastico 05.12.1942 Colonel General Rino Corso Fougier 18.01.1943LatviaUntersturmführer Kārlis Mūsiņš Standartenführer Vilis JanumsRomaniaGeneral Gheorghe Avramescu 25.10.1942 Major General Leonard Mociulschi 25.10.1942 Major General Ermil Gheorghiu 11.02.1943 Captain Nicolae Dabija 10.02.1944SpainMajor General Emilio Estéban Infantes y Martín 09.04.1943Some 26 non-German volunteers of the Waffen-SS from Belgium, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Norway received the German Cross in Gold.
Colonel Hans von Luck called it "Hitler's fried egg", in response to its gaudiness. Citations Bibliography
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
The German Empire known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918. It was founded in 1871 when the south German states, except for Austria, joined the North German Confederation. On 1 January 1871, the new constitution came into force that changed the name of the federal state and introduced the title of emperor for Wilhelm I, King of Prussia from the House of Hohenzollern. Berlin remained its capital, Otto von Bismarck remained Chancellor, the head of government; as these events occurred, the Prussian-led North German Confederation and its southern German allies were still engaged in the Franco-Prussian War. The German Empire consisted of 26 states, most of them ruled by royal families, they included four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies, seven principalities, three free Hanseatic cities, one imperial territory. Although Prussia was one of several kingdoms in the realm, it contained about two thirds of Germany's population and territory.
Prussian dominance was established constitutionally. After 1850, the states of Germany had become industrialized, with particular strengths in coal, iron and railways. In 1871, Germany had a population of 41 million people. A rural collection of states in 1815, the now united Germany became predominantly urban. During its 47 years of existence, the German Empire was an industrial and scientific giant, gaining more Nobel Prizes in science than any other country. By 1900, Germany was the largest economy in Europe, surpassing the United Kingdom, as well as the second-largest in the world, behind only the United States. From 1867 to 1878/9, Otto von Bismarck's tenure as the first and to this day longest reigning Chancellor was marked by relative liberalism, but it became more conservative afterwards. Broad reforms and the Kulturkampf marked his period in the office. Late in Bismarck's chancellorship and in spite of his personal opposition, Germany became involved in colonialism. Claiming much of the leftover territory, yet unclaimed in the Scramble for Africa, it managed to build the third-largest colonial empire after the British and the French ones.
As a colonial state, it sometimes clashed with other European powers the British Empire. Germany became a great power, boasting a developing rail network, the world's strongest army, a fast-growing industrial base. In less than a decade, its navy became second only to Britain's Royal Navy. After the removal of Otto von Bismarck by Wilhelm II in 1890, the Empire embarked on Weltpolitik – a bellicose new course that contributed to the outbreak of World War I. In addition, Bismarck's successors were incapable of maintaining their predecessor's complex and overlapping alliances which had kept Germany from being diplomatically isolated; this period was marked by various factors influencing the Emperor's decisions, which were perceived as contradictory or unpredictable by the public. In 1879, the German Empire consolidated the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, followed by the Triple Alliance with Italy in 1882, it retained strong diplomatic ties to the Ottoman Empire. When the great crisis of 1914 arrived, Italy left the alliance and the Ottoman Empire formally allied with Germany.
In the First World War, German plans to capture Paris in the autumn of 1914 failed. The war on the Western Front became a stalemate; the Allied naval blockade caused severe shortages of food. However, Imperial Germany had success on the Eastern Front; the German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917, contributed to bringing the United States into the war. The high command under Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff controlled the country, but in October after the failed offensive in spring 1918, the German armies were in retreat, allies Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire had collapsed, Bulgaria had surrendered; the Empire collapsed in the November 1918 Revolution with the abdications of its monarchs. This left a postwar federal republic and a devastated and unsatisfied populace, which led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism; the German Confederation had been created by an act of the Congress of Vienna on 8 June 1815 as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, after being alluded to in Article 6 of the 1814 Treaty of Paris.
German nationalism shifted from its liberal and democratic character in 1848, called Pan-Germanism, to Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck's pragmatic Realpolitik. Bismarck sought to extend Hohenzollern hegemony throughout the German states, he envisioned a Prussian-dominated Germany. Three wars led to military successes and helped to persuade German people to do this: the Second Schleswig War against Denmark in 1864, the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, the Franco-Prussian War against France in 1870–71; the German Confederation ended as a result of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 between the constituent Confederation entities of the Austrian Empire and its allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia and its allies on the other. The war resulted in the partial replacement of the Confederation in 1867 by a North German Confederation, comprising the 22 states north of the Main; the patriotic fervour generated by the Franco-Prussian War overwhelmed the remaining opposition to a unified Germany in the four stat
Integrated Authority File
The Integrated Authority File or GND is an international authority file for the organisation of personal names, subject headings and corporate bodies from catalogues. It is used for documentation in libraries and also by archives and museums; the GND is managed by the German National Library in cooperation with various regional library networks in German-speaking Europe and other partners. The GND falls under the Creative Commons Zero licence; the GND specification provides a hierarchy of high-level entities and sub-classes, useful in library classification, an approach to unambiguous identification of single elements. It comprises an ontology intended for knowledge representation in the semantic web, available in the RDF format; the Integrated Authority File became operational in April 2012 and integrates the content of the following authority files, which have since been discontinued: Name Authority File Corporate Bodies Authority File Subject Headings Authority File Uniform Title File of the Deutsches Musikarchiv At the time of its introduction on 5 April 2012, the GND held 9,493,860 files, including 2,650,000 personalised names.
There are seven main types of GND entities: LIBRIS Virtual International Authority File Information pages about the GND from the German National Library Search via OGND Bereitstellung des ersten GND-Grundbestandes DNB, 19 April 2012 From Authority Control to Linked Authority Data Presentation given by Reinhold Heuvelmann to the ALA MARC Formats Interest Group, June 2012
German Army (1935–1945)
The German Army was the land forces component of the Wehrmacht, the regular German Armed Forces, from 1935 until it was demobilized and dissolved in August 1946. During World War II, a total of about 13 million soldiers served in the German Army. Germany's army personnel were made up of conscripts. Only 17 months after Adolf Hitler announced publicly the rearmament program, the Army reached its projected goal of 36 divisions. During the autumn of 1937 two more corps were formed. In 1938 four additional corps were formed with the inclusion of the five divisions of the Austrian Army after the Anschluss in March. During the period of its expansion under Hitler, the German Army continued to develop concepts pioneered during World War I, combining ground and air assets into combined arms forces. Coupled with operational and tactical methods such as encirclements and the "battle of annihilation", the German military managed quick victories in the two initial years of World War II, a new style of warfare described as Blitzkrieg for its speed and destructive power.
The infantry remained foot soldiers throughout the war. The motorized formations received much attention in the world press in the opening years of the war, were cited as the main reason for the success of the German invasions of Poland and Denmark, Belgium and Netherlands, Yugoslavia and the initial stages of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union; however their motorized and tank formations accounted for only 20% of the Heer's capacity at their peak strength. The army's lack of trucks limited infantry movement during and after the Normandy invasion when Allied air-power devastated the French rail network north of the Loire. Panzer movements depended on rail, since driving a tank long distances wore out its tracks; the Oberkommando des Heeres was Germany's Army High Command from 1936 to 1945. In theory the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht served as the military General Staff for the German Reich's armed forces, coordinating the Wehrmacht operations. In practice OKW acted in a subordinate role as Hitler's personal military staff, translating his ideas into military plans and orders, issuing them to the three services.
However, as the war progressed the OKW found itself exercising increasing amounts of direct command authority over military units in the west. This created a situation where by 1943 the OKW was the de facto command of Western Theatre forces while the Army High Command was the same on the Eastern Front; the Abwehr was the Army intelligence organization from 1921 to 1944. The term Abwehr had been created just after World War I as an ostensible concession to Allied demands that Germany's intelligence activities be for defensive purposes only. After 4 February 1938, the Abwehr's name was changed to the Overseas Department/Office in Defence of the Armed Forces High Command. Nazi Germany used the system of military districts to relieve field commanders of as much administrative work as possible, to provide a regular flow of trained recruits and supplies to the field forces; the method OKW adopted was to separate the Field Army from the Home Command, to entrust the responsibilities of training, conscription and equipment to Home Command.
The German Army was structured in Army groups consisting of several armies that were relocated, restructured or renamed in the course of the war. Forces or allied states as well as units made up of non-Germans were assigned to German units. For Operation Barbarossa in 1941, the Army forces were assigned to three strategic campaign groupings: Army Group North with Leningrad as its campaign objective Army Group Centre with Smolensk as its campaign objective Army Group South with Kiev as its campaign objectiveBelow the army group level forces included Field armies –, panzer groups, which became army level formations themselves and divisions; the army used the German term Kampfgruppe which equates to the English'combat group' or battle group. These provisional combat groupings ranged from an Army Corps size such as Army Detachment Kempf to commands composed of several companies and platoons, they were named for their commanding officers. German operational doctrine emphasized sweeping pincer and lateral movements meant to destroy the enemy forces as as possible.
This approach, referred to as Blitzkrieg, was an operational doctrine instrumental in the success of the offensives in Poland and France. Blitzkrieg has been considered by many historians as having its roots in precepts developed by Fuller, Liddel-Hart and von Seeckt, having ancient prototypes practiced by Alexander, Genghis Khan and Napoleon. Recent studies of the Battle of France suggest that the actions of either Rommel or Guderian or both of them, ignoring orders of superiors who had never foreseen such spectacular successes and thus prepared much more prudent plans, were conflated into a purposeful doctrine and created the first archetype of blitzkrieg, which gained a fearsome reputati
Kreuth is a municipality in the district of Miesbach in Bavaria in Germany. The castle Ringberg was owned by the dukes of Bavaria and was donated to the Max Planck Society in 1973; the springs were first mentioned in 1490. The first bath house was built in 1511 by Abbot Henry V. of Tegernsee. The buildings, still owned by the Duke in Bavaria, are let to the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation and used for political gatherings of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria. Official website Media related to Kreuth at Wikimedia Commons