Oberkommando des Heeres
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The Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) was the Supreme High Command of the German Army. It was founded in 1935 as a part of Adolf Hitler's re-militarisation of the Third Reich. Its commander held the title Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres, Supreme High Commander of the Army. From 1938 OKH was together with OKL Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, Supreme High Command of the Air Force and OKM Oberkommando der Marine, Supreme High Command of the Navy, formally subordinated to the OKW Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, Supreme High Command of all Armed Forces (with exception of the Waffen-SS). During the war OKH had the responsibility of strategic planning of Armies and Army Groups, while the General Staff of the OKH managed operational matters. Each German Army also had an Armeeoberkommando, Army Command, or AOK. Until the German defeat at Moscow in December 1941, OKH and its staff was de facto the most important unit within the German war planning. OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, Supreme High Command of the Armed Forces) then took over this function for theaters other than the Russian front.
OKH vs OKW
Hitler had been the head of OKW since January 1938, using it to pass orders to the navy (OKM), air force (OKL), and army (OKH). After a major crisis developed in the Battle of Moscow, Walther von Brauchitsch was dismissed (partly because of his failing health), and Hitler appointed himself as head of the OKH while still retaining his position at the OKW. At the same time, he limited the OKH's authority to the Russian front, giving OKW direct authority over army units elsewhere. This enabled Hitler to declare that only he had complete awareness of Germany's strategic situation, should any general request a transfer of resources between the Russian front and another theater of operations.
Chiefs of OKH and Supreme Commander of the Army
The Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres (Commander of the Army) in the Wehrmacht was
- General Colonel Werner von Fritsch, 1935 to 4 February 1938
- Field Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch, 4 February 1938 to 19 December 1941
- Führer and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler, 19 December 1941 to 30 April 1945, Hitler assumed personal command of the OKH following Brauchitsch's dismissal in order to supervise Operation Barbarossa, the German-led invasion of the Soviet Union.
- Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner, 30 April 1945 to 8 May 1945
Schorner, one of Hitler's favorite military commanders was named in Hitler's last will and testament, which the latter issued prior to his suicide on April 30, 1945 as the new commander of the OKH. Meanwhile, the OKH was subordinated to the OKW of the Wehrmacht, under Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel.
Chiefs of the OKH General Staff
- General Colonel Ludwig Beck, 1935 to 31 October 1938
- General Colonel Franz Halder, 31 October 1938 to 24 September 1942
- General Colonel Kurt Zeitzler, 24 September 1942 to 10 July 1944
- General Lieutenant Adolf Heusinger, 10 July 1944 to 20 July 1944
- General Colonel Heinz Guderian, 21 July 1944 to 28 March 1945- the inventor of the Blitzkrieg warfare
- General of the Infantry Hans Krebs, 29 March 1945 to 1 May 1945
- Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, 1 May 1945 to 13 May 1945
- General Colonel Alfred Jodl, 13 May 1945 to 23 May 1945
 (military rank presented as rank the person in question held when he left his assignment at OKH)
Although both OKW and OKH were headquartered in Zossen during the Third Reich, the functional and operational independence of both establishments were not lost on the respective staff during their tenure. Personnel at the sprawling Zossen compound remarked that even if Maybach 2 (the OKW complex) was completely destroyed, the OKH staff in Maybach 1 would scarcely notice. These camouflaged facilities, separated physically by a fence, also maintained structurally different mindsets towards their objectives.
- German general staff
- Glossary of World War II German military terms
- Maybach I and II
- Oberste Heeresleitung, the German Empire's highest army command during World War I
- "Not the Stuff of Legend: The German High Command in World War II" – lecture by Dr. Geoffrey Megargee, author of Inside Hitler's High Command, available at the official YouTube channel of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center