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Reinhardt (right) with Heinz Guderian, 1938
|Born||1 March 1887|
Bautzen, Kingdom of Saxony, German Empire
|Died||22 November 1963 (aged 76)|
Tegernsee, Bavaria, West Germany
|Years of service||1907-45|
|Commands held||4th Panzer Division|
XLI Panzer Corps
3rd Panzer Army
Army Group Centre
|Battles/wars||World War I|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords|
|Conviction(s)||War crimes |
Crimes against humanity
|Trial||High Command Trial|
|Criminal penalty||15 years (released in 1952)|
|Victims||Soviet prisoners of war|
Soviet civilians (Jews and Slavs)
Georg-Hans Reinhardt (1 March 1887 – 23 November 1963) was a German general and war criminal during World War II. He commanded the 3rd Panzer Army from 1941 to 1944, and Army Group Centre in 1944 and 1945, reaching the rank of colonel general (Generaloberst).
Following the war, Reinhardt was tried in the High Command Trial, as part of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials. He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to 15 years. He was released in 1952.
World War II
Born in 1887, Reinhardt fought during World War I. He commanded the 4th Panzer Division during the Invasion of Poland in September 1939. In the 1940 Battle of France, Reinhardt commanded the XXXXI Panzer Corps.
In 1941, Reinhardt and XLI Panzer Corps were deployed on the Eastern Front for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union in June. In late June Reinhardt's Corps defeated the Soviet 3rd Mechanised & 12th Mechanised Corps in the Battle of Raseiniai and destroyed over 700 Soviet tanks. His force led the advance of Army Group North to the outskirts of Leningrad in October. As all German corps on the Eastern Front, Reinhardt's corps implemented the criminal Commissar Order. According to reports from subordinate units, the order was carried out on a widespread basis.
On October 5 Reinhardt was given command of the 3rd Panzer Army in Army Group Centre and took part in Operation Typhoon, the advance towards Moscow. After the German defeat in the Battle of Moscow, his army was driven back by Soviet counter-attack during the winter of 1941−42. Troops under Reinhardt's command implemented the OKH policy of "liquidating" mentally infirm; in December 1941 they murdered ten mental patients in the Russian city of Kalinin, on the pretext that they posed a security threat.
From early 1942 until June 1944, the 3rd Panzer Army operated around Vitebsk and Smolensk. In the course of rear-security operations in the area, troops under Reinhardt command destroyed entire communities. A report of February 1943 stated:
In order to keep bands from resettling in this territory, the population of villages and farms in this area were killed without exception to the last baby. All homes were burned down.
The army engaged in deportations of civilians to concentration camps. Between September and December 1943, nearly 4,000 civilians were deported from Vitebsk and surrounding areas, because they were suspected of helping "bands" (quotation marks in the original). The action was conducted in cooperation with units of the SD; civilians, including women and children, were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp, where they died from starvation and maltreatment or were later gassed.
In June 1944, during Operation Bagration, the Third Panzer and the rest of Army Group Centre were shattered by the Red Army and driven back into Poland and East Prussia. On 16 August 1944, Reinhardt was given command of Army Group Centre. In December, renewed Soviet attacks drove Army Group Centre out of Poland into northern Prussia. Reinhardt was retired from active duty in January 1945.
Trial and conviction
In June 1945, Reinhardt was arrested by the United States Army. In 1948, he was tried in the High Command Trial, as part of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials. Reinhardt was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder and mis-treatment of Soviet prisoners of war, and of murder, deportation, and hostage-taking of civilians in occupied countries. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, and served time in the Landsberg Prison. His sentence was reviewed in January 1951, with no changes. Reinhardt was released in 1952 on compassionate grounds.
From 1954. Reinhardt served as president of the Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde (Society for Military Science), present-day Gesellschaft für Sicherheitspolitik (Society for Security Policy). He was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1962.
- Iron Cross (1914) 2nd Class (14 September 1914) & 1st Class (8 August 1915)
- Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939) 2nd Class (21 September 1939) & 1st Class (2 October 1939)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Great Cross of Merit (24 November 1962)
- Hebert, Valerie (2010). Hitler's Generals on Trial: The Last War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1698-5.
- 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.
- Stahel, David (2015). The Battle for Moscow. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-08760-6.
- Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9.
- Ziemke, Earl F. (1968). Stalingrad to Berlin: The German Defeat in the East. Washington D.C.: Center of Military History, US Army. ISBN 0-16-001962-1.
- Glantz, David M. (2002). The Battle for Leningrad 1941–1944. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1208-4.
- US Military Tribunal Nuremberg (1948). "High Command Trial, Judgment of 27 October 1948" (PDF). Retrieved 30 May 2016.
| Commander of 4th Panzer Division
1 September 1939 – 5 February 1940
Generalleutnant Ludwig Ritter von Radlmeier
| Commander of XXXXI Armeekorps (mot)
5 February 1940 – 4 October 1941
Generalleutnant Otto-Ernst Ottenbacher
| Commander of Third Panzer Army
5 October 1941 – 15 August 1944
Generaloberst Erhard Raus
Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model
| Commander of Army Group Centre
16 August 1944 – 17 January 1945
Generalfeldmarschall Ferdinand Schörner