During the first years of the war, Friedrich Paulus was Chief of Staff of the 10th Army (1 September 1939 - 26 October 1939), of the 6th Army (26 October 1939 - 30 May 1940) and Deputy Chief of the General Staff (30 May 1940 - 1 January 1942). On 1 January 1942 he was promoted to the rank of General der Panzertruppen and made commander of the 6th Army. The army took part in the offensive in the direction of Stalingrad that started in July 1942 and Paulus was decorated with the Knight's Cross on 26 August 1942, shortly after reaching the Volga near Stalingrad. The city proved to be very difficult to capture and events took a disastrous turn for the Germans when the Russians counter-attacked and encircled them in November 1942. The Red Army tightened the noose, attempts by Hermann Hoth's 4th Panzer Army to break the siege failed and the Luftwaffe was unable to sufficiently supply the troops in Stalingrad. Paulus received the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross on 15 January 1943 and was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall on 31 January 1943, the day Paulus surrendered himself and his army to the Soviets.
Tens of thousands of soldiers went into captivity, of which very few returned after the war. Paulus and other high-ranking officers were held at a special prison. Later he made propaganda broadcasts for the Russians. Despite his cooperation, he wasn't released untill 1953. The few remaining years of his life he lived in Dresden, in the German Democratic Republic, where he worked for the military academy.
Friedrich Paulus was buried in the Stadtfriedhof in Baden-Baden.
Photograph: copyright by Gerhard Schnecke, 2001
The Graves of World War II Personalities