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|Born||23 October 1887|
Wiener Neustadt, Lower Austria, Austria-Hungary now Austria
|Died||17 January 1971 (aged 83)|
Fraham near Eferding, Upper Austria, Austria
|Commands held||2nd Panzer Army|
20th Mountain Army
Army Group Courland
Army Group North
Army Group Ostmark
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Lothar Rendulic (23 October 1887 – 17 January 1971) was an army group commander in the Wehrmacht during World War II. Rendulic was one of three Austrians who rose to the rank of Generaloberst (colonel general) in the German armed forces. The other two were Alexander Löhr and Erhard Raus.
Rendulic was tried at the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials in 1948. Though acquitted of deliberate scorched earth tactics during the Lapland war, he was convicted of killing hostages in Yugoslavia at the Hostages Trial and imprisoned. After his release in 1951 he took up writing.
Early life and career
Rendulic was born in 1887 in Austria into a military family of Croatian origin (Rendulić). He studied law and political science at universities in Vienna and Lausanne; in 1907, he was admitted to the Theresian Military Academy and commissioned as an officer into the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1910. He served during World War I from 1914 to 1918. Returning to the University of Vienna, Rendulic obtained his doctorate in law in 1920. He joined the newly formed Austrian Armed Forces and in 1932 joined the banned Austrian Nazi Party. From 1934, Rendulic served as a military attaché to France and United Kingdom. In 1936 he was put on the "temporary inactive list" because of his early membership in the Nazi Party.
World War II
Rendulic was called to the German Army, the Wehrmacht, in 1938, after the annexation of Austria to Germany. He commanded the 14th Infantry Division (23 June – 10 October 1940); the 52nd Infantry Division (1940–1942); and the XXXV Corps (1942–1943), with which he participated in the Battle of Kursk. From 1943 to 1944, Rendulic commanded the 2nd Panzer Army during World War II in Yugoslavia. Early in 1944, the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler ordered Rendulic to devise a plan to capture Yugoslav partisan leader Josip Broz Tito. In the resultant raid on Drvar on 25 May 1944, German paratroopers stormed partisan headquarters in Drvar (western Bosnia) looking for Tito but ultimately failed to capture him, suffering heavy casualties.
From June 1944, Rendulic commanded the 20th Mountain Army and all German troops stationed in Finland and Norway. Following the war, Rendulic was accused of ordering the destruction of the Finnish town of Rovaniemi in October 1944, allegedly as revenge against the Finns for making a separate peace with the Soviet Union. In 1945, Rendulic served as the commander-in-chief of Army Group Courland cut off in the Courland Pocket on the Eastern Front; Army Group North in Northern Germany; and Army Group Ostmark, in Austria and Czechoslovakia. On 7 May 1945, following the Soviet Prague Offensive, Lothar Rendulic surrendered Army Group Ostmark to the 71st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army in Austria.
War crimes trial
After his surrender, Lothar Rendulic was interned and tried in the Hostages Trial at Nuremberg, because of his involvement in the Wehrmacht's reprisals against civilians in Yugoslavia and the scorched earth policy in Lapland. On 19 February 1948 he was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to twenty years in prison, although he was cleared of charges concerning the scorching of Lapland. Based upon the recommendations of the "Peck Panel", this sentence was later reduced to ten years, and on 1 February 1951 Rendulic was released from the military prison in Landsberg am Lech in Bavaria.
After his release, he worked as an author and was involved in local politics in Seewalchen am Attersee, in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. He died at Fraham near Eferding, Austria, on 17 January 1971.
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Knight's Cross on 6 March 1942 as Generalleutnant and commander of the 52. Infanterie-Division
- 271st Oak Leaves on 15 August 1943 as General der Infanterie and commanding general of the XXXV. Armeekorps
- 122nd Swords on 18 January 1945 as Generaloberst and commander-in-chief of the 20. Gebirgsarmee
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd Class on 20 September 1939 & 1st Class on 10 October 1939
- German Cross in Gold on 26 December 1941 as Generalmajor and commander of the 52. Infanterie-Division
- Golden Party Badge (19 September 1944)
- Gekämpft, gesiegt, geschlagen. (Fought, victorious, vanquished) Welsermühl Verlag, Wels and Heidelberg, 1952. 384 p.
- Glasenbach - Nürnberg - Landsberg. Ein Soldatenschicksal nach dem Krieg (A soldier's fate after the war), Leopold Stocker Verlag, Graz, 1953. 222 p.
- Die unheimlichen Waffen : Atomraketen über uns. Lenkwaffen, Raketengeschosse, Atombomben (Monstrous weapons: atomic rockets over us. Guided weapons, rockets, atom bombs) 1957
- Weder Krieg noch Frieden. Eine Frage an die Macht. (Neither war nor peace. A question to the powers) Welsermühl Verlag, Munich and Wels, 1961. 250 p.
- Soldat in stürzenden Reichen. (Soldier in falling empires) Damm Verlag, Munich 1965. 483 p.
- Grundlagen militärischer Führung, 1967
- Aus dem Abgrund in die Gegenwart. (From the abyss to the present) Verlag Ernst Ploetz, Wolfsberg, 1969. 259 p.
- Lothar Rendulić (1965): Soldat in stürzenden Reichen. Munich: Damm, p. 73 and 292. His birth date is sometimes erroneously mentioned as 23 November 1887.
- Rudolf Neck, Adam Wandruszka, Isabella Ackerl (ed.) (1980): Protokolle des Ministerrates der Ersten Republik, 1918–1938, Abteilung VIII, 20. Mai 1932 bis 25. Juli 1934. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Staatsdruckerei, p. 649.
- Barry M. Lituchy (6 July 2006). Jasenovac and the Holocaust in Yugoslavia: analyses and survivor testimonies. Jasenovac Research Institute. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-9753432-0-3.
- 71st Division Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop find the German Army Group South
- Scherzer 2007, p. 623.
- Thomas 1998, p. 196.
- Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 374.
- Patzwall 2004, p. 13.
- 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.
- Patzwall, Klaus D. (2004). Das Goldene Parteiabzeichen und seine Verleihungen ehrenhalber 1934–1944—Studien der Geschichte der Auszeichnungen. Band 4 [The Golden Party Badge and its Honorary Presentations 1934–1944—Studies of the History of the Awards Volume 4] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-50-2.
- 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.
- 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.
Generalleutnant Peter Weyer
| Commander of 14th Infantry Division
15 June 1940 – 6 October 1940
Generalleutnant Friedrich Fürst
Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen von Arnim
| Commander of 52nd Infantry Division
10 October 1940 – 1 November 1942
Generalleutnant Rudolf Peschel
General der Artillerie Rudolf Kämpfe
| Commander of XXXV Army Corps
1 November 1942 – 15 April 1943
General der Infanterie Friedrich Wiese
Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model
| Commander of 2nd Panzer Army
14 August 1943 – 24 June 1944
General der Infanterie Franz Böhme
Generaloberst Eduard Dietl
| Commander of 20th Mountain Army
25 June 1944 – 15 January 1945
General der Gebirgstruppen Franz Böhme
| Commander of Army Group Courland
15 January 1945 – 27 January 1945
Generaloberst Heinrich von Vietinghoff
Generalfeldmarschall Ferdinand Schörner
| Commander of Army Group North
27 January 1945 – 12 March 1945
Generaloberst Walter Weiß
Generaloberst Heinrich von Vietinghoff
| Commander of Army Group Courland
12 March 1945 – 5 April 1945
General Carl Hilpert
General der Infanterie Otto Wöhler
| Commander of Army Group South
6 April 1945 – 30 April 1945
Command renamed Army Group Ostmark 30 April 1945
| Commander of Army Group Ostmark
30 April 1945 – 7 May 1945
dissolved on 8 May 1945