Hermann Foertsch

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Hermann Foertsch
Hermann Foertsch.jpg
Born 4 April 1895
Drahnow, Deutsch-Krone
Died 27 December 1961(1961-12-27) (aged 66)
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1913–45
Rank General der Infanterie
Commands held 21. Infanterie-Division
X. Armeekorps
19. Armee
1. Armee

World War I

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Relations Friedrich Foertsch (brother)

Hermann Foertsch (4 April 1895 – 27 December 1961) was a highly decorated General der Infanterie in the Wehrmacht during World War II who held commands at the divisional, corps and army levels. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Hermann Foertsch surrendered to American forces under the command of General Jacob Devers, commanding general of the U.S. Sixth Army Group, in 1945 and was later tried at the Hostages Trial in 1947; the trial resulted in Foertsch's acquittal.

Hostages trial[edit]

Main article: Hostages trial

As a chief of staff for several generals commanding Wehrmacht forces in Greece and Yugoslavia, Foertsch passed on orders to subordinate units to take hostages or conduct reprisals. These orders were deemed criminal in by the Tribunal, but staff officers were not considered culpable unless they drafted such criminal orders or made a special effort to distribute them to the troops that carried them out. Citing a lack of evidence of a commission of an unlawful act, the Tribunal acquitted Foertsch of war crimes.[1]

After WWII[edit]

After his acquittal, Foertsch collaborated with Hans Speidel in the development of concepts for Germany's rearmament many years before the official foundation of the Bundeswehr, the German army, in 1955.[2] In 1950, Foertsch was the leading member of the select group of former Wehrmacht high-ranking officers invited by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to take part in the conference to discuss West Germany's rearmament. The conference resulted in the Himmerod memorandum that contributed to the myth of the "clean Wehrmacht".[3]


Foertsch was involved in the establishment of the European anti-communist organisation Interdoc.[4]

Awards and decorations[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Heberer & Matthäus 2008, p. 99.
  2. ^ Critchfield, James H. Partners at the Creation: The Men Behind Postwar Germany's Defense and Intelligence Establishments. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2003. p.220.
  3. ^ Wette 2007, pp. 236–238.
  4. ^ Scott-Smith p.357.
  5. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 154.


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. 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. 
  • Heberer, Patricia; Matthäus, Jürgen (2008). Atrocities on Trial: Historical Perspectives on the Politics of Prosecuting War Crimes. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-1084-4. 
  • 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 Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Scott-Smith, Giles. Interdoc and West European Psychological Warfare: The American Connection. Intelligence and National Security Vol. 26, Nos. 2–3, 355–376, April–June 2011.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 3, 1 January 1944 to 9 May 1945] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 
  • Wette, Wolfram (2007). The Wehrmacht: History, Myth, Reality. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674025776. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Chief of General Staff of Heeresgruppe F
12 August 1943 - 15 March 1944
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant August Winter
Preceded by
Generalmajor Franz Sensfuß
Commander of 21. Infanterie-Division
28 March 1944 - 22 August 1944
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Heinrich Götz
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Friedrich Köchling
Commander of X. Armeekorps
21 September 1944 - 21 December 1944
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Dr. Ing. Dr. Johannes Mayer
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Siegfried Rasp
Commander of 19. Armee
15 February 1945 - 28 February 1945
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Hans von Obstfelder
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Hans von Obstfelder
Commander of 1. Armee
28 February 1945 - 6 May 1945
Succeeded by
General der Kavallerie Rudolf Koch-Erpach