Des Teufels General (play)

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Des Teufels General is a 1946 play written by German author and playwright Carl Zuckmayer, translated as The Devil's General.[1] The title character of the play, General Harras, is based on the ace Ernst Udet. The play is based upon his struggles during the war, simultaneously working under and openly being against the Nazi Party. Despite the serious scenario of it, a comical and satirical tone is often used throughout the play.


Harras, whose character is based upon actual German Luftwaffe General Ernst Udet.
Lüttjohann, Harras' adjutant.
Korrianke, Harras' Chauffeur.
Friedrich Eilers, Colonel & leader of the war front and military.
Hartmann, aviation officer.
Writzky, aviation officer.
Hastenteuffel, aviation officer.
Pfundtmayer, aviation officer.
Sigbert von Mohrungen, President of purchasing for crude metals.
Baron Pflungk, Attaché for the ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Dr. Schmidt-Lausitz, cultural leader.
Der Maler Schlick, the painter Schlick.
Oderbruch, Engineer in the Air-Travel Ministry.
Anne Eilers, wife of Friedrich Eilers.
Waltraut von Mohrungen, who goes by the alias Pützchen. Anne's sister.
Olivia Geiss, diva.
Diddo Geiss, Olivia's niece; love interest of General Harras, despite how much younger than him she is.
Lyra Schoeppke, named "die Tankstelle," which means "The Gas Station."
Otto, restaurant manager.
Francois, French speaking restaurant waiter.
Herr Detlev, restaurant waiter.
Buddy Lawrence, an American journalist.
Zwei Arbeiter, two workers.
Ein Polizeikomissar, a police commissioner.[2]

Screen adaptations[edit]

In 1955, "Des Teufels General" was adapted into a black and white film of the same title. The film features Curd Jürgens as Harras, Marianne Koch as Dorothea 'Diddo' Geiss, Viktor de Kowa as SS-Gruppenführer Schmidt-Lausitz, Eva Ingeborg Scholz as Waltraut 'Pützchen' Mohrungen, and Harry Meyen as Leutnant Hartmann. At the German Film Awards of 1955 Marianne Koch won the Film Award in Silver for Outstanding Individual Achievement: Supporting Actress for her performance in the film.

A BBC adaptation of the play in the Summer Theatre strand was broadcast on 14 August 1960. Translated by Robert Gore Brown, and directed by Rudolph Cartier, it starred Marius Goring as Harrass, Margaretta Scott as Olivia Geiss, Jill Dixon as Diddo Geiss, and Cyril Shaps as Doctor Schmidt-Lausitz. This version no longer exists.


  1. ^ For The German Library in Zuckmeyer's abridgment .
  2. ^ Zuckmayer, Carl. "Des Teufels General." ISBN 978-3-596-27019-4