Günther von Kluge


Günther von Kluge

Infobox Military Person
name= Günther "Hans" von Kluge
born=birth date|1882|10|30|df=y
died=death date and age|1944|8|19|1882|10|30|df=y
placeofbirth= Posen, Province of Posen, German Empire
placeofdeath= Metz, France


caption= "Generalfeldmarshall Günther von Kluge"
nickname=
allegiance=flagicon|German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
flagicon|Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
flagicon|Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
serviceyears= 1901 – 1944
rank= Field Marshal
commands= German Fourth Army
unit= Wehrmacht 1930 - 1944
Reichswehr 1916 - 1930
battles=World War I
"Battle of Verdun"
World War II
"German invasion of Poland
Battle of France
Operation Barbarossa
Falaise Gap"
awards=House Order of Hohenzollern
Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
laterwork=
portrayedby=
Günther “Hans” von Kluge (October 30, 1882August 19, 1944) was a German military leader. He was born in Posen into a Prussian military family. Kluge rose to the rank of field marshal in the Wehrmacht.

During World War I he was a staff officer and in 1916 was at the Battle of Verdun.

By 1936 he was a lieutenant-general and in 1937 took command of the Sixth Army Group, which became the German Fourth Army that he led in Poland in 1939. Though he opposed the plan to attack westward, he led the Fourth Army in its attack through the Ardennes that culminated in the fall of France. Promoted to field marshal in July 1940, he continued to command the Fourth Army in Operation Barbarossa, where he also developed a strained relationship with Heinz Guderian over tactical issues in the advance and accused him of frequent disobedience of Kluge’s orders.

After Fedor von Bock was relieved of his command of Army Group Center in late 1941, Kluge was promoted and led that army group until he was injured in October 1943. Kluge frequently rode in an airplane to inspect the divisions under his command and sometimes relieved his boredom during the flights by hunting foxes from the air ["The History of the German Resistance, 1939–1945", p. 276] —a decidedly non-traditional method.

On October 27 1943, Kluge was badly injured when his car overturned on the MinskSmolensk road. He was unable to return to duty until July 1944. After his recovery he became commander of the German forces in the West (Oberbefehlshaber West) as Gerd von Rundstedt’s replacement.

The head of the German military resistance, Henning von Tresckow, served as his Chief of Staff of Army Group Center. Kluge was somewhat involved in the military resistance. He knew about Tresckow’s plan to shoot Hitler during a visit to Army Group Center, having been informed by his former subordinate, Georg von Boeselager, who was now serving under Tresckow. At the last moment, Kluge aborted Tresckow's plan. Boeselager later speculated that because Himmler had decided not to accompany Hitler. Kluge feared that without eliminating Himmler too, it could lead to a civil war between the SS and the Wehrmacht. ["Die Wehrmacht: Eine Bilanz", p. 226.]

When Stauffenberg attempted to assassinate Hitler as part of the July 20 plot, Kluge was serving as Oberbefehlshaber West in his headquarters in La Roche-Guyon. The commander of the occupation troops of France, General Karl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel, and his colleague Oberst Cäsar von Hofacker — a cousin of Stauffenberg — came to visit Kluge. Stülpnagel had just ordered the arrest of the SS units in Paris. Kluge had already learned that Hitler had survived the assassination attempt and refused to provide any support. "Ja — wenn das Schwein tot wäre!", "Well — If the pig were dead!", he said. ["Die Wehrmacht: Eine Bilanz", p. 251.] He was recalled to Berlin for a meeting with Hitler after Stauffenberg’s failed coup; thinking that Hitler would punish him as a conspirator, he committed suicide by taking cyanide near the First World War battlefield at Verdun. He left Hitler a letter in which he advised Hitler to make peace and “put an end to a hopeless struggle when necessary...” Hitler reportedly handed the letter to Alfred Jodl and commented that “There are strong reasons to suspect that had not Kluge committed suicide he would have been arrested anyway.” ["Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", pp. 1076–77]

Günther von Kluge’s nickname among the troops and his fellow officers was "der kluge Hans"—“Clever Hans.” "Hans" was not part of his given name, but a nickname acquired early in his career in admiration of his cleverness ("klug" is German for "clever") and is derived from a curious reference to a celebrated horse Clever Hans reputed to have been able to do arithmetic and remember calendar dates.Fact|date=May 2007

Awards

* Iron Cross (1914) 2nd and 1st class
* House Order of Hohenzollern Knight's Cross with Swords
* Bavarian Military Merit Order 4th class with Swords
* Mecklenburg-Schwerin Military Merit Cross 2nd class
* "Verdienstmedaille für Rettung aus Gefahr"
* Order of the Iron Crown 3rd class with War Decoration
* Austrian Military Merit Cross 3rd class with War Decoration
* Wound Badge (1918) in Black
* Cross of Honor
* "Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 13. März 1938"
* "Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 1. Oktober 1938"
* Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st class
* Eastern Front Medal
* Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
** Knight's Cross (30 September 1939)
** Oak Leaves (18 January 1943)
** Swords (29 October 1943)
* Mentioned four times in the Wehrmachtbericht (7 August 1941, 18 October 1941, 19 October 1941, 3 September 1943)

References


* Berger, Florian, "Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges". Selbstverlag Florian Berger, 2006. ISBN 3-9501307-0-5.
* Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. "Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945". Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas, 2000. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
* Hoffman, Peter, (tr. Richard Barry) "The History of the German Resistance, 1939–1945", Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1977. ISBN 0773515313
* Shirer, William L. "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990. ISBN 0671728687
* Knopp, Guido "Die Wehrmacht: Eine Bilanz", C. Bertelsmann Verlag, München, 2007. ISBN 978-3-570-00975-8

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  • Günther von Kluge — um 1939/40 Günther Adolf Ferdinand von Kluge (* 30. Oktober 1882 in Posen; † 19. August 1944 bei Metz; auch bekannt als Hans Günther von Kluge) war ein deutscher Heeresoffizier (seit 1940 Ge …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Hans Günther von Kluge — Günther von Kluge um 1939/40 Günther von Kluge (* 30. Oktober 1882 in Posen; † 19. August 1944 bei einer Autofahrt nach Berlin bei Metz, auch bekannt als Hans Günther von Kluge) war ein deutscher Heeresoffizier (seit 1940 Generalfeldmarschall)… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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