|Chief of the Operations Staff |
of the Armed Forces High Command
1 September 1939 – 13 May 1945
|Chief of the Armed Forces High Command|
13 May 1945 – 23 May 1945
|Preceded by||Wilhelm Keitel|
|Succeeded by||Office abolished|
Alfred Josef Ferdinand Jodl
10 May 1890
Würzburg, Bavaria, German Empire
|Died||16 October 1946 (aged 56)|
Nuremberg Prison, Nuremberg, Bavaria, Allied-occupied Germany
|Cause of death||Execution by hanging|
Irma Gräfin von Bullion
(m. 1913; died 1944)
Luise von Benda
|Relations||Ferdinand Jodl (brother)|
|Allegiance|| German Empire|
|Branch/service|| Imperial German Army|
|Years of service||1910–1945|
|Battles/wars||World War I
World War II
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
|Conviction(s)||Conspiracy to commit crimes against peace|
Crimes of aggression
Crimes against humanity
Alfred Josef Ferdinand Jodl (German: [ˈjoːdl̩] (listen); 10 May 1890 – 16 October 1946) was a German Generaloberst who served as the chief of the Operations Staff of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht – the German Armed Forces High Command – throughout World War II.
After the war, Jodl was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace, planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Allied-organised Nuremberg trials. The principal charges against him related to his signature of the criminal Commando and Commissar Orders. Found guilty on all charges, he was sentenced to death and executed in Nuremberg in 1946.
Early life and career
Alfred Jodl was educated at a military cadet school in Munich, from which he graduated in 1910. Ferdinand Jodl, who would also become an army general, was his younger brother. The philosopher and psychologist Friedrich Jodl at the University of Vienna, was his uncle. Jodl was raised Roman Catholic but rejected the faith later in life.
From 1914 to 1916 he served with a battery unit on the Western Front, being awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class for gallantry in November 1914, and for being wounded in action. In 1917 he served briefly on the Eastern Front before returning to the West as a staff officer. In 1918, he won the Iron Cross 1st class for gallantry in action. After the defeat of the German Empire in 1918, he continued his career as a professional soldier with the much-reduced German Army (Reichswehr). Jodl married twice: in 1913 and (after becoming a widower) in 1944.
World War II
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2020)
Jodl's appointment as a major in the operations branch of the Truppenamt in the Army High Command in the last years of the Weimar Republic put him under command of General Ludwig Beck. In September 1939, Jodl first met Adolf Hitler. During the build-up to the Second World War, Jodl was nominally assigned as a commander of the 44th Division from October 1938 to August 1939 after the Anschluss.
He was chosen by Hitler to be Chief of Operation Staff of the newly formed Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) on 23 August 1939, just prior to the German invasion of Poland. Jodl acted as a chief of staff during the invasion of Denmark and Norway. Following the Fall of France, Jodl was optimistic of Germany's success over Britain, writing on 30 June 1940 that "The final German victory over England is now only a question of time."
Jodl signed the Commissar Order of 6 June 1941 (in which Soviet political commissars were to be shot) and the Commando Order of 28 October 1942 (in which Allied commandos, including properly uniformed soldiers as well as combatants wearing civilian clothes, such as Maquis and partisans, were to be executed immediately without trial if captured behind German lines).
Jodl spent most of the war at the Wolf's Lair, Hitler's forward command post in East Prussia. On 1 February 1944, he was promoted to the rank of Generaloberst (colonel general). He was among those slightly injured during the 20 July plot of 1944 against Hitler, during which, and from the explosion, he suffered a concussion.[better source needed]
Following regional surrenders of German forces in Europe, Jodl was sent by Dönitz to respond to the demand for "immediate, simultaneous and unconditional surrender on all fronts." Jodl signed the German Instrument of Surrender on 7 May 1945 in Reims on behalf of the OKW. The surrender to all the Allies was concluded on 8 May in Berlin. On 13 May, on the arrest of Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel, Jodl succeeded him as chief of OKW.
Trial and conviction
Jodl was arrested, along with the rest of the Flensburg government of Dönitz, by British troops on 23 May 1945 and transferred to Camp Ashcan POW camp and later put before the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg trials. He 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 classes of prisoners of war were to be summarily executed upon capture. When confronted with the 1941 mass shootings of Soviet POWs, Jodl claimed the only prisoners shot were "not those that could not, but those that did not want to walk".
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, to Nazi concentration camps. Although he denied his role in this activity of the regime, the court sustained his complicity based on the evidence it had examined, with the French judge, Henri Donnedieu de Vabres, dissenting.
His wife Luise attached herself to her husband's defence team.[better source needed] Subsequently, interviewed by Gitta Sereny, researching her biography of Albert Speer, Luise alleged that in many instances the Allied prosecution made charges against Jodl based on documents that they refused to share with the defence. Jodl nevertheless proved 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.
Jodl pleaded not guilty "before God, before history and my people". Found guilty on all four charges, he was hanged at Nuremberg Prison on 16 October 1946.[better source needed] Jodl's last words were reportedly "Ich grüße Dich, mein ewiges Deutschland" – "I salute you, my eternal Germany."
His remains, like those of the other nine executed men and Hermann Göring (who had taken his own life prior to his scheduled execution), were cremated at Ostfriedhof and the ashes were scattered in the Wenzbach, a small tributary of the River Isar to prevent the establishment of a permanent burial site which might be enshrined by nationalist groups. A cross, commemorating him, was later added to the family grave on the Frauenchiemsee in Bavaria. In 2018, the local council ordered the cross to be removed; however, in March 2019, a Munich Court upheld Jodl's relatives' right to maintain the family grave, while noting the family's willingness to remove his name.
Posthumous legal action
On 28 February 1953, after his widow Luise sued to reclaim her pension and his estate, a West German denazification court declared the now-deceased Jodl not guilty of breaking international law, based on Henri Donnedieu de Vabres's 1949 disapproval of Jodl's conviction.
This not guilty declaration was revoked by the Minister of Political Liberation for Bavaria on 3 September 1953, following objections from the United States; the consequences of this acquittal on Jodl's estate were, however, maintained.
- Iron Cross (1914) 2nd Class (20 November 1914) and 1st Class (3 May 1918)
- Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939) 2nd Class (30 September 1939) & 1st Class (23 December 1939)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Tofahrn 2008, pp. 129–130.
- O'Keeffe 2013, p. 172.
- Jodl 1946, p. 663.
- Railton, Nicholas M. "Henry Gerecke and the Saints of Nuremberg." Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte, vol. 13, no. 1, 2000, pp. 112–137. JSTOR 43750887. Accessed 8 Feb. 2021.
- Görlitz 1989, p. 155.
- Görlitz 1989, p. 161.
- Encyclopedia Britannica.
- Shirer 1990, p. 758.
- Spartacus Educational.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 146.
- Kershaw, Ian (2012). The End; Germany 1944–45. Penguin. p. 370
- Shepherd 2016, p. 519.
- "After the Battle: The Flensburg Government" (PDF). Battle of Britain International Ltd. 2005. p. 11. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
- Crowe 2013, p. 87.
- tercer-reich.com 2011.
- Sereny 1995, p. 578.
- Maser 2005, pp. 349–350.
- Darnstädt 2005, p. 128.
- Manvell & Fraenkel 2011, p. 393.
- Overy 2001, p. 205.
- Passauer Neue Pressee 2018.
- Der Spiegel 2019.
- Bayerische Staatkanzlei 2019, § 40.
- Buchheim & Futselaar 2014, p. 53.
- Davidson 1997, p. 363.
- Scheurig 1997, p. 428.
- Thomas 1997, p. 328.
- "Defendants in the Major War Figures Trial". University of Missouri-Kansas City: School of Law. Archived from the original on 20 May 2009.
- "Alfred Jodl | German general". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
- "Alfred Jodl". Alfred Jodl Second World War. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "VG München, Urteil vom 26. März 2019 – M 12 K 18.1936" [Administrative court Munich, judgment of 26 March 2019] (in German). Bayerische Staatkanzlei. Archived from the original on 16 April 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- "Los argumentos de la defensa de ALFRED JODL en los juicios de Nuremberg". tercer-reich.com (in Spanish). 23 March 2011. Archived from the original on 30 November 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
- "Streit über Gedenkstein: Familie von NS-Kriegsverbrecher darf Scheingrab behalten" [Disputed memorial stone: family of war criminal allowed to keep gravestone] (in German). Der Spiegel, (newspaper). 8 April 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- "Das Jodl-Kreuz auf der Fraueninsel kommt weg - Grab bleibt bestehen" [Jodl's cross on the Fraueninsel to be removed, grave will remain] (in German). Passauer Neue Pressee, (newspaper). 23 February 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
- Buchheim, Eveline; Futselaar, Ralf (2014). Under Fire: Women and World War II: Yearbook of Women's History/Jaarboek voor Vrouwengeschiedenis 34. Uitgeverij Verloren. ISBN 978-90-8704-475-6.
- Crowe, David M. (2013). Crimes of State Past and Present: Government-Sponsored Atrocities and International Legal Responses. Routledge. ISBN 978-1317986829.
- Davidson, Eugene (1997). The Trial of the Germans: An Account of the Twenty-two Defendants Before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0-8262-1139-9.
- Darnstädt, Thomas (13 September 2005). "Ein Glücksfall der Geschichte". Der Spiegel. No. 14.
- Görlitz, Walter (1989). "Keitel, Jodl and Warlimont". In Barnett, Correlli (ed.). Hitler's Generals. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 978-0802139948.
- Heiber, Helmut; Glantz, David M., eds. (2004). Hitler and his generals. Military Conferences 1942–1945. New York: Enigma Books. ISBN 1-929631-28-6.
- Jodl, Alfred (1946). "A Short Historical Consideration of German War Guilt". In Office of United States Chief of Counsel For Prosecution of Axis Criminality (ed.). Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume VIII (PDF). Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.
- Manvell, Roger; Fraenkel, Heinrich (2011) . Goering: The Rise and Fall of the Notorious Nazi Leader. London: Skyhorse. ISBN 978-1-61608-109-6.
- Maser, Werner (2005). Nürnberg: Tribunal der Sieger [Nuremberg: Trial of Victors] (in German). Verlag Antaios. ISBN 978-3-935063-37-1.
- O'Keeffe, William J. (2013). A Literary Occupation: Responses of German writers in service in occupied Europe. Amsterdam: Rodopi. ISBN 978-9042037700. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
- Overy, Richard J. (2001). Interrogations: The Nazi Elite in Allied Hands, 1945. New York: Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-03008-8.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Scheurig, Bodo (1997). Alfred Jodl. Gehorsam und Verhängnis. Berlin: Propyläen. ISBN 3-549-07228-7.
- Sereny, Gitta (1995). Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-394-52915-4.
- Shepherd, Ben (2016). Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300179033.
- Shirer, William (1990). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-72868-7.
- Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
- Tofahrn, Klaus W. (2008). Das Dritte Reich und der Holocaust (in German). Peter Lang GmbH. ISBN 978-3631577028. Retrieved 8 October 2019.