|Born||2 August 1904
|Died||4 July 1980
|Buried at||Munich Waldfriedhof
Plot 460—Row 3—Grave 246
|Allegiance|| Weimar Republic (to 1933)
|Years of service||1923–45|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
|Relations||Nikolaus von Falkenhorst (father in law)|
Erich Dethleffsen (2 August 1904 – 4 July 1980) was a German general from Kiel. He was married to a daughter of Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, who planned the German invasion of Norway and Denmark during World War II.
Dethleffsen joined the Reichswehr in 1923, and was promoted to the German General Staff in 1937. He fought as a Captain in the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front in World War II. Dethleffsen was wounded, and awarded with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his service. After his injury, he rose to the rank of Generalmajor, and served on the army General Staff in Adolf Hitler's headquarters. Dethleffsen was arrested on 23 May 1945, and was held until March 1948 in an American Prisoner of War Camp. He was originally held in Luxembourg with Hermann Göring, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and others.
1904 Aug 2: born in Kiel.
1923 Nov 1: entered army.
1925 Nov 1: als Freiwilliger in das Infanterie-Regt 8
1927 Dec 1: Leutnant (2nd Lt.), Infantry-Regt 1
1931 Jan 1: Oberleutnant (1st Lt.)
1931 Oct 1: Adjutant, des I. Bataillons, Inf-Regt 1
1934 Oct 1: Adjutant, II Bataillons, Inf-Regt Konigsberg
1935 May 1: Hauptmann (Captain).
1935 Oct 1: kommandiert zur Kriegsakademie.
1937 Aug 1; transferred to: zum Stab der Kommandantur Glogau versetzt.
1939 Apr 1: transferred to: unter Belassung in dieser Stellung in den Generalstab des Heeres.
1939 Aug 24: transferred to: Generalstab des Hoheren Kommandos z.b.V. XXXV.
1939 Dec 19: Gruppenleiter in der Herres-Ausbildungs-Abteilung des Genealstabs des Heeres.
1940 Oct 1: Major
1941 Feb 15: Ops general-staff officer (Ia) des LVI Armeekorps (motorized).
1942 Jan 10: (Ia) Ops general-staff officer in 330 Infanterie-Division.
1942 Feb 5: wounded in battle.
1942 Feb 6: transferred to Fuhrerreserve OKH.
1942 Apr 1: Oberstleutnant (Lt.Col.)
1942 May 1: awarded German Gold Cross.
1942 Aug 30: Taktiklehrer (tactical instructor) and Horsaalleiter bei den Generalstabs-Lhergangen der Kriegsakademie.
1943 Mar 1: Oberst (Col.)
1943 June 10: Chef des Generalstabs des XXXIX Panzerkorps; awarded Ritterkreuz.
1944 May 5: Chef des Generalstabs der 4 Armee.
1944 Nov 9: Generalmajor (Brigadier General)
1945 Feb 15: Fuhrerreserve OKH.
1945 Feb 18: ins Reserve-Lazarett Detmold eingeliefert.
1945 March 15: kommandiert zur Heeresgruppe Weichsel zur Einarbeitung als Divisions-Kommandeur beim Armeeoberkommano 9
1945 March 15: mit der Fuhrung der Divisionsgruppe "Raegener" beauftraft (Division Dethleffsen).
1945 March 23: Chef der Fuhrungsgruppe im OKW/Wehrmachtfuhrungsstab.
1945 Apr 30: Chef des Generalstabs der Heeresgruppe Weichsel.
1945 May 4: Chef der Heeres-Fuhrungsabteilung im Wehrmachtfuhrungsstab.
1945 May 23: became POW of British.
1948 March 31: retired; left POW camp.
On his release, Dethleffsen became executive secretary of the Wirtschaftspolitische Gesellschaft von 1947 (Society of 1947 for Economic Policy.) The society was used to spread pro-Western feeling in West Germany. He spent much of his time giving speeches on various military subjects, including support for the European Defence Community. During the mid-1950s, he was an important figure in the discussions on German rearmament (see: Searle's Wehrmacht Generals). He was unhappy with Western suggestions regarding the German army, and did not believe they understood the German situation. Dethleffsen was critical of the United States, and is known to have said, "We are good enough for becoming American labor slaves."
Dethleffsen said of the German people after World War II, "The people are confronted with a political system that appears to them as an opaque, intangible, very mysteriously interlocking pluralism of bearers of political influence; puzzled and estranged they let it operate ... The esoteric games of the bearers of influence and power in a strange sphere, in which none of the participants can identify himself with the state or the people, does not induce the people to give up its cool and distant reserve."
Dethleffsen is known to have attended several meetings of the Bilderberg Group.
He was the author of Das Wagnis der Freiheit (Tactical Mobility of Carriages) (1952); Soldatische Existenz morgen (1953); Der Artillerie gewidmet (1975); and Robert Martinek: General der Artillerie, Lebensbild eines Soldaten (1975).
Dethleffsen died in Munich on 4 July 1980.
Decorations and awards
- Iron Cross of 1939, 1st and 2nd class
- German Cross in Gold (1 May 1942)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 23 December 1943 as Oberst im Generalstab and chief of the Generalstab of the XXXIX. Panzerkorps
- Scherzer 2007, p. 270.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 159.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8.
- 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 Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Searle, Alaric (2003). Wehrmacht Generals, West German Society, and the Debate on Rearmament, 1949-1959, Praeger Pub.