Werner Freiherr von Fritsch

German general (b.1880, d.1939)


Von Fritsch was appointed Commander of the German Army (Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres) on 1 June 1936. He was a representative of the old Prussian officers class and quickly came into conflict with Hitler, whose war plans and Lebensraum (living space in Eastern Europe) ideas he criticized. To get rid of him, the Nazis accused him of homosexuality and after the scandal which followed, appointed Walther von Brauchitsch to his position (4 February 1938). An investigation cleared him, but he didn't get his old job back. Instead he was appointed commander of Artillery Regiment 12, which he led into battle in Poland. He was killed in action in Praga, a suburb of Warsaw and it's assumed that he wanted to die in battle. Von Fritsch was buried in the Invalidenfriedhof in Berlin, the cemetery of choice for German officers since the 18th century.

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