Alfred Jodl

Alfred Jodl

Infobox Military Person
name= Alfred Jodl
lived= 10 May 1890 – 16 October 1946
placeofbirth= Würzburg, Germany
placeofdeath= Nuremberg, Germany

caption= Alfred Jodl
allegiance=flagicon|German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
flagicon|Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
flagicon|Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
serviceyears= 1903 - 1945
rank= Colonel General
branch= Wehrmacht
battles= World War I
World War II
awards=Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Alfred Jodl (10 May 1890 – 16 October 1946) was a German military commander, attaining the position of Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, or OKW) during World War II, acting as deputy to Wilhelm Keitel. At Nuremberg he was tried, sentenced to death and hanged as a war criminal.


Early life

Jodl was born Alfred Josef Ferdinand Baumgärtler in 1890 in Würzburg, Germany, the son of Officer Alfred Jodl and Therese Baumgärtler, becoming "Alfred Jodl" upon his parents' marriage in 1899. He was educated at Cadet School in Munich, from which he graduated in 1910.

After schooling, Jodl joined the army as an artillery officer. During World War I served as a battery officer on the Western Front 1914–1916, twice being wounded. In 1917 Jodl served briefly on the Eastern Front before returning to the west as a staff officer. After the war Jodl remained in the armed forces and joined the Versailles-limited Reichswehr.

Jodl had married Irma Gräfin von Bullion in September 1913. The marriage was unhappy. The couple had no children.

Nazi career

Jodl became acquainted with Adolf Hitler in 1923. As a vocal Nazi sympathizer, he was rapidly promoted and by 1935 headed the "Abteilung Landesverteidigung im Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH)" (Chief of the National Defense Section in the High Command of the Army). In the build-up to the Second World War, Jodl was nominally assigned as a "Artilleriekommandeur" of the 44th Division from October 1938 to August 1939 during the Anschluss, but from then until the end of the war in May 1945 he was "Chef des Wehrmachtsführungsstabes" (Chief of Operation Staff OKW). [ [ Nuremberg Judgment: Jodl] ] Following the Hossbach Memorandum of 5 November the previous year, Jodl changed the military tactics of German forces from a focus on defending against the French threat, to a more aggressive tactic focused on the takeover of Czechoslovakia. Jodl was therefore a key figure in German military operations from 1939, supplying advice and technical information directly to Hitler. He was injured during the July 20 plot. Due to this, Jodl was awarded the wounded cross alongside several other leading Nazi figures. He was also rather vocal about his suspicions that others had not endured wounds as strong as his own, often downplaying the effects of the plot on others.

Jodl's wife Irma died on 18 April 1944. During their last years together Alfred and Irma had been very distant and cold to each other. While Wilhelm Keitel called his wife almost every day, Alfred Jodl didn't seem to seek contact with Irma. On 7 April 1945 he married former secretary and mistress Luise Katharina von Benda (born 1905). She had been a close friend of his first wife.

Jodl signed the Commando Order and the Commissar Order.

At the end of World War II in Europe Colonel General Jodl signed the instruments of unconditional surrender on 7 May 1945 in Reims as the representative of Karl Dönitz.

Trial and execution

Jodl was then arrested and transferred to Flensburg POW camp and later put before the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials. Jodl was accused of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war-crimes; and crimes against humanity. The principal charges against him related to his signature of the Commando Order and the Commissar Order; both of which ordered that certain prisoners were to be summarily executed. Additional charges at his trial included unlawful deportation and abetting execution.Presented as evidence was his signature on an order that transferred Danish citizens, including Jews and other civilians, to concentration camps. Although he denied his role in the crime, the court sustained his complicity based on the given evidence.

His wife Luise Jodl managed to attach herself to her husband's defence team. Subsequently interviewed by Gitta Sereny, researching her biography of Albert Speer, Luise Jodl alleged that in many instances the Allied prosecution made charges against Jodl based on documents that they refused to share with the defense. Jodl nevertheless managed to prove that some of the charges made against him were untrue, such as the charge that he had helped Hitler gain control of Germany in 1933. He was in one instance aided by a GI clerk who chose to give Luise a document showing that the execution of a group of British commandos in Norway had been legitimate. The GI warned Luise that if she didn’t copy it immediately she would never see it again; "…it was being 'filed'." [Gitta Sereny, "Albert Speer His Battle with Truth", p.578. ISBN 0394529154 ] Jodl pleaded 'not guilty' "before God, before history and my people". Found guilty on all four charges, he was hanged, although he had asked the court to be executed by firing squad.

Jodl's Nuremberg verdict was controversial in U.S. military circles and in 28 February 1953, a West German court in Munich posthumously acquitted him of all charges. His property, confiscated in 1946, was returned to his widow. However, yielding to U.S. pressure the Bavarian government recanted the court's judgment: on 3 September 1953 the Bavarian state minister of "political liberation" overturned the earlier revocation of the Nuremberg judgment. [ [ - Alfred Jodl (1890-1946) ] ] [ [ The Holocaust from ] ]

Jodl's last words were reportedly "My greetings to you, my Germany." His remains were cremated at Munich, and his ashes raked out and scattered into the Conwentzbach, a small river flowing into the larger Isar River (effectively an attempt to prevent the establishment of a permanent burial site to those nationalist groups who might seek to congregate there — an example of this being Mussolini's place of rest in Predappio, Italy). Jodl nonetheless possesses a cenotaph in the family plot in the Fraueninsel Cemetery, in Chiemsee, Germany.

External links

* [ Alfred Jodl at Find-A-Grave]
* [ The trial of Alfred Jodl - TRIAL WATCH]
*United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - [ Alfred Jodl]
* [ A Short Historical Consideration of German War Guilt] By Alfred Jodl, 6 September 1946

Portrayal in the media

Alfred Jodl has been portrayed by the following actors in film and television productions.cite web | url = | title = Alfred Jodl (Character)| accessdate = 8 May | accessdaymonth = | accessmonthday = | accessyear = 2008 | author = | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | date = | year = | month = | format = | work = | publisher = | pages = | doi = | archiveurl = | archivedate = | quote = ]
* Erik Hell in the 1943 Swedish film "Det brinner en eld" ("There Burned a Flame").
* Vladimir Pokrovsky in the 1949 Russian drama "Padeniye Berlina" ("The Fall of Berlin").
* V. Svoboda in the 1949 Russian drama "Stalingradskaya bitva" ("The Battle of Stalingrad").
* Jack Baston in the 1951 United States film "".
*Otto Schmöle in the 1955 West German film "Der Letzte Akt" ("Hitler: The Last Ten Days").cite web | url = | title = Letzte Akt, Der (1955) | accessdate = 8 May | accessdaymonth = | accessmonthday = | accessyear = 2008 | author = | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | date = | year = | month = | format = | work = | publisher = | pages = | doi = | archiveurl = | archivedate = | quote = ]
* Walter Kohler in the 1962 United States film "Hitler".
* Wolfgang Lukschy in the 1962 United States film "The Longest Day".
* Hannes Messemer in the 1966 French/U.S. film "Paris brûle-t-il? (Is Paris Burning?)".
* Peter Sturm in the 1969 Russian epic "Osvobozhdenie" ("Liberation").
* Richard Münch in the 1970 United States film "Patton".
* August Kowalczyk in the 1971 Polish film "Epilog norymberski (Epilogue at Nurnberg)".
* Tony Steedman in the 1973 British television production "The Death of Adolf Hitler".
* Philip Stone in the 1973 British film "".
* Wolfgang Preiss in the 1979 United States T.V. mini-series "Ike".
* Tony Steedman in the 1981 United States television production "The Bunker".
* Joachim Hansen in the 1983 United States T.V. series "The Winds of War" and its 1988 sequel "War and Remembrance".
* Bill Corday in the 2000 Canadian/U.S. T.V. production "Nuremberg"
* Christian Redl in the 2004 German film ""Downfall" ("Der Untergang").
*Krasimir Kutzoparov in the 2006 British/U.S. television production "".


* "HITLER and HIS GENERALS. Military Conferences 1942-1945," Edited by Helmut Heiber and David M. Glantz. (Enigma Books: New York, 2004. ISBN 1-929631-28-6)

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