General Jodl: biography, participation in World War II, trial in Nuremberg, date and cause of death

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General Jodl: biography, participation in World War II, trial in Nuremberg, date and cause of death
General Jodl: biography, participation in World War II, trial in Nuremberg, date and cause of death

This general was almost the only one among the entire German elite who behaved with dignity during interrogations and aroused involuntary respect from the winners. With a military bearing, he gave clear and precise answers without succumbing to emotions. Considering himself a true soldier and officer, he continued to serve the Fuhrer even after he realized that the war had already been lost - this is how Alfred Jodl felt the concept of honor and loy alty. The biography and intentions of this officer have always raised many questions.

War with Russia is a war where you know how to start, but you don't know how it will end. Russia is not Yugoslavia, not France, where the war can be quickly brought to an end. The spaces of Russia are immeasurable, and it was impossible to assume that we could go as far as Vladivostok. (From the interrogation of General Alfred Jodl)

Did he understand the essence of the fascist army? During the process one ofThe accuser, Soviet Colonel Pokrovsky, asks the general if he knew about the atrocities of the German military, in particular, such as hanging upside down, quartering, and torturing captured enemies with fire. Jodl replied: "I not only did not know about it, but I do not believe in it."

Fascist line


Alfred Jodl was born on May 10, 1890 in the family of a retired military man and a peasant woman. His father, a captain and battery commander of the Imperial Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment, later a retired colonel, grew up in a large civil servant family, sharing bread with five brothers and sisters. Mother, born into a peasant family, was from the banks of the Danube. Marrying a simple peasant woman, the daughter of a miller, put an end to Alfred's father's career and forced him to resign. Those dreams that he did not have time to realize in the service were to be realized by his sons.

Parents dreamed of a big family, but their dreams were not destined to come true. Alfred had three sisters and a brother. The sisters died at an early age, but the brother survived.

The youngest member of the Jodl family, Ferdinand, was born in November 1896. He also chose military service, but did not achieve his brother's success. His maximum is the rank of General of the Mountain Infantry during World War II.

Alfred studied well, of all subjects he achieved the greatest progress in the spiritual sciences and sports. Loved mountains, skiing.

The question of where to go and what path to choose was not even asked by a boy named Alfred Jodl. The family had manyofficers, and therefore the young Jodl had to choose a military profession.


Yodel in youth

The photo above is Alfred Jodl. In the autumn of 1903, the future general entered the Bavarian Cadet Corps in Munich. 7 years later, on July 10, 1910, a twenty-year-old youth begins his military career as an officer candidate in the 4th Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment. Two years later, in 1912, he was promoted to lieutenant.

During World War I

When the First World War began, Alfred did not hesitate for a minute. He fought both the Russians on the Eastern Front and the French on the Western Front with the rank of artillery officer. He was not without injuries - in the first month of the war he was wounded by fragments of a grenade, but, having healed a little in the hospital, he immediately returned to the front. And, despite the fact that he did not advance much in the rank - he ended the war as a chief lieutenant (translated into our ranks as a senior lieutenant), his courage and perseverance were noticed by his superiors. The yodel has been nominated for several awards. So, during the war, he was awarded the Austrian imperial cross, iron crosses 1 and 2 class for courage.

German Iron Cross Award

Post-war - between the two world wars

Return to civilian life was not easy. In his memoirs, General Alfred Jodl wrote about the feeling of chaos and the loss of all orientation. He liked the military profession, it seemed exactly what he was created for, and finding himself "in civilian life" wascomplicated. As Jodl wrote, he became attached to the military profession with all his heart.

At one time he was attracted by the idea of ​​going into medicine. But, seeing the conditions in which the country found itself after the defeat, Jodl feels obliged to help his homeland precisely as a soldier. Soon such a chance is given - in 1920, a young officer begins secret training at the General Staff. This German General Staff was created contrary to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, and, of course, was considered illegal. Just like that, "from the street", it was impossible to get there, but already during the First World War, Jodl established himself in the eyes of the commanders as a man who thinks, is cautious and completely devoted to his country.

At this point, the future General Jodl is leading a double life. If during the day he commands batteries, then at night he studies military science at secret courses that train loyal soldiers for the future Reich.

Alfred is getting more and more promotions. In 1921 he was already a captain, in 1927 a major, in 1929 a lieutenant colonel, and in August 1931 he was already promoted to colonel.

Yodl and Hitler

Yodel at Hitler's Headquarters

Hitler, leader of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers' Party), came to power on January 30, 1933. Initially, Jodl, as, indeed, most of the military leaders of that time, treated the new Reich Chancellor with caution. But only at the beginning. For Jodl, military to the marrow of his bones, devotion and loy alty to the head of state were considered direct duties. Already on January 31, Jodl demands from hiscolleagues to stop criticizing the personality of the Reich Chancellor. He believes that they, as officers, have an obligation to serve their new leader faithfully, doing their duty.

In general, this total obedience and devotion to Hitler further created a gulf between Jodl and other officers. Knowing Alfred as a smart man, many of his former colleagues did not understand such canine loy alty. But here one must understand the very personality of Jodl: he believed that officers were obliged to serve the head of government without question or doubt. It was in this that he saw his duty as a soldier. To faithfully be faithful and protect - only such a model could get along in the head of Yodl, who from childhood absorbed the principles and morals of an ideal officer.

In the early years of Hitler's reign, Jodl was not alone in his views - most of the German people praised the new head for his domestic political successes. Hitler unites the German lands, defends the working class, narrows the gap between rich and poor. He raises the national spirit of Germany crushed by the loss, he demonstrates patriotism and devotion to the country. His popularity is growing rapidly, with the majority seeing him as their leader.

Hitler in front of soldiers

On August 2, 1934, the President of Germany, Field Marshal von Hindenburg, dies. The Cabinet of Ministers merge the office of President of Germany and Reich Chancellor into one. Adolf Hitler becomes both head of state of Germany and supreme commander of the Wehrmacht. The officers, according to the protocol, swear allegiance to him. And Yodelfinally becomes a devoted dog of the new owner. So and only so did Alfred understand the honor of an officer. At the same time, by that time they had not yet met in person.

The first time Adolf Hitler and Alfred Jodl met was in September 1939, three days after the start of the offensive against Poland. Initially, Hitler treated the colonel, like most officers of that time, with caution. But Jodl's fanatical devotion to the Wehrmacht and his military talent could not go unnoticed. Hitler begins to draw him closer, and, as history shows, he was not mistaken in his decision.

Yodl's devotion knows no bounds. So, he sharply criticizes General Ludwig Beck when he declares that Germany is not ready for war. Yodel does not even allow the possibility of condemnation of the commander-in-chief by his old comrades.

World War II

Soldiers in the trenches: battle

In 1939, Yodl was promoted to the rank of major general. He is involved in the development and planning of the largest Nazi operations, such as the attack on Norway (Operation Weserübung) and the invasion of Poland (Operation Weiss). The Fuhrer highly appreciated his military genius and listened to his devoted commander. Of all the entourage close to Hitler, only the German General Jodl could afford to actively prove his point of view on any operation if he considered that his position on this issue was more advantageous than that of the Fuhrer.

But sometimes he went too far - yet Yodl was more military thandiplomat. One of the first disagreements with Hitler came in the summer of 1941. Being a talented strategist, Jodl insisted on the transfer of all forces to capture Moscow. The Fuhrer, on the other hand, believed that it was important to capture Leningrad during this period in order to demoralize Soviet citizens. As a result, part of the troops from Moscow was "pulled" to another direction. Time has shown that Jodl was right - the attack on Moscow launched on October 2 failed, Leningrad also did not fall.

The second serious disagreement concerned the situation in the Caucasus. Yodl considered the attack on the Caucasian region initially a failure and urged the Fuhrer to devote all his strength to the capture of Leningrad. But Hitler did not hear anyone - he demanded to immediately take the Caucasus

Another well-known case is when Alfred made an active attempt to intercede with Hitler for the disgraced General Franz Halder and Field Marshal Wilhelm List. This attempt "out of rank", which coincided with a series of failures on the Eastern Front, noticeably cooled the relationship between the Fuhrer and his "faithful dog". There is evidence confirming that Hitler even planned to replace Jodl with General Friedrich Paulus, but with a small caveat - when Paulus takes Stalingrad. As history shows, this was not destined to come true, and Yodl remained in his place.

At the same time, despite the coolness in relations, Jodl's military strategic genius is still highly valued. Confirmation of this is another promotion and a new rank: since January 1944, Jodl has been a colonel-general.

July 20, 1944, an unsuccessful attempt was made on the Fuhrer. Fourone person died and seventeen were injured. Jodl himself was also wounded. It was this event that brought the Fuhrer and his faithful servant back together

Although for Jodl after Stalingrad it was clear that they could not win this war, he still remained with the Fuhrer to the end. Being a far-sighted military man, he understood that it was only a matter of time, but he did not renounce Hitler. Alfred Jodl, a general in the Wehrmacht, understood loy alty in this way.

Private life

Alfred Jodl was married twice. His first wife was Countess Irma von Bullion, a representative of a noble Swabian family. Her father, Oberst Count von Bullion, was sharply against it - at that time it was a terrible misalliance. But, despite the objections of relatives, they were married on September 23, 1913. He was 23, the Countess was 5 years older. According to eyewitnesses, Irma was a cheerful, cheerful woman. No wonder Alfred was delighted with her.

But, unfortunately, Irma's life was short. In the spring of 1943, the woman left for Koenigsberg, the current city of Kaliningrad. She had a complicated spinal surgery. The Allied troops constantly bombed the city, most of the bomb shelters were not favorable for a long stay. Dampness, cold did their job - Irma became seriously ill. Bilateral pneumonia, even under ideal conditions in those years, was difficult to treat, not to mention the treatment in a military environment. It was pneumonia with complications that caused the death of Yodl's beloved woman.

The General remarried. His new life partner was Louise von Benda. Femaleshe had long favored him, was always there as a reliable, faithful, devoted comrade. They did not have much time together, but Louise was with him to the end. Throughout the Nuremberg trials, she supported her husband as best she could. Already after the death of Alfred, she was able to achieve the rehabilitation of her husband's name in Munich in 1953.

German unconditional surrender treaty

The last time Jodl spoke on the phone with Hitler was on the evening of 28 April. The Fuhrer's suicide was reported on May 1, 1945. From that time on, all his actions consisted in "pulling time." This time was necessary for the Wehrmacht soldiers - so that as many of them as possible had time to surrender on their own to the mercy of the winner. As Jodl wrote in his letters at the end of the war: "If the war is lost, there is no point in fighting to the last soldier."

It was Alfred Jodl who had the task of signing the act of unconditional surrender of the German troops. For him, a 100% military man, this was a real personal tragedy. Tears rolled down the face of the hardened old warrior as he signed.

Jodl signs the act of surrender of Germany

One story is connected with the name of Jodl and the signing of the act of surrender. Representatives of the three victorious powers - the USSR, France and the United States - came to accept the surrender. Jodl signed for the German side. And so, handing over the signed papers to the representative of the Soviet Union, Marshal Zhukov, the general, nodding at the French and American representatives, mockingly asked Zhukov: “And these are also uswon?”.

When discussing the reliability or, conversely, the improbability of this fact, we must remember what kind of person Alfred Jodl was. "Were we defeated too?" - this is a question of a person who knew exactly the situation at the front and understood who really was a strong opponent. This question betrays a person with a heightened sense of justice; a man who wanted to kneel before a truly stronger opponent. The fact that France and the United States also considered themselves "winners" Jodl considered an insult.

Nuremberg Trial

23 May 1945 Alfred Jodl, general of the Wehrmacht, was arrested. He did not resist arrest and soon appeared before the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Yodl's defense was built on the basis that the soldier is not responsible for the actions of the head of state. According to his testimony, he was simply following orders, doing his duty as a soldier, and repeatedly repeated that a soldier cannot be held responsible for the actions and decisions of politicians.

According to eyewitnesses, seeing how Yodl behaves, Nuremberg could not fail to note his endurance, fortitude and some kind of painful decency. He was tried as a Nazi, but Jodl refused to recognize himself as a fascist. Jodl, whose Wehrmacht was defeated, carried himself with dignity, defended himself accurately and with restraint. He took the position that he was doing his duty by serving the Fuehrer. He considered it the duty of an officer, not admitting personal guilt.

Yodl has been charged with four counts:

  • Active participation in planning the Nazi attack on Czechoslovakia.
  • Participation in the militaryactions against Yugoslavia and Greece.
  • Participation in the development of the Barbarossa plan.
  • Order for mass burning of houses in Northern Norway, so that local residents could not help the Soviet army.

It is not known whether Alfred Jodl hoped for a different court decision. Nuremberg, represented by an international tribunal, found the former general guilty on all four counts and sentenced him to death by hanging.

Last hours of life

According to the recollections of eyewitnesses, Yodl behaved with dignity until the last seconds of his life.

Like the rest of the condemned, at the hour of death, the general was dressed in a uniform without insignia; hands are handcuffed. 13 steps separating him from the scaffold, Jodl overcame with a military bearing, looking straight ahead.

At 2 am on October 16, 1946, General Alfred Jodl was hanged. The last words of this devoted soldier of the Wehrmacht were the words "Greetings to you, Germany." He has no grave, his body was cremated and his ashes scattered somewhere over a nameless stream in the countryside.

Wife Louise fought for his life to the last, but could not do anything. But the woman, even after the death of her husband, did not stop hoping to save at least his honest name. So, it was thanks to her efforts that in February 1953 in Munich, Jodl was fully justified. But the public pressure was stronger, and a few months later, in September, this decision was reversed.

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