Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist
|Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist|
Generaloberst Ewald von Kleist in 1940.
8 August 1881|
Braunfels an der Lahn, Province of Hesse-Nassau, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
|Died||13 November 1954
Vladimir, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Allegiance|| German Empire (to 1918)
Weimar Republic (to 1933)
|Years of service||1900–38; 1939–44|
|Commands held||XXII.Armeekorps, Panzergruppe von Kleist, 1st Panzergruppe, 1st Panzer Army, Army Group A|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords|
Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist (8 August 1881 – 13 November 1954) was a German field marshal during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, which was awarded by Nazi Germany to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Following the war, he was extradited to the Soviet Union and was convicted of war crimes; he died in captivity.
World War II
Ewald von Kleist graduated from a military school in 1900. He served in World War I as a regimental commander, remaining in the Reichswehr after the war. During the invasion of Poland, Kleist commanded the XXII Panzer Corps. In the Battle of France he commanded Panzergruppe von Kleist, consisting of XLI Panzer Corps and XIX Panzer Corps (under Heinz Guderian).
In April 1941, Kleist commanded the 1st Panzer Group, comprising III, XIV and XLVIII Panzer Corps and XXIX Infantry Corps, which spearheaded the invasions of Yugoslavia and Greece. With this formation he also participated in the subsequent Operation Barbarossa as part of Army Group South.
In 1942, Kleist was sent to command troops in the Caucasus in order to capture important oil wells in the area. On 22 November 1942, he was placed in command of Army Group A. He was promoted to field marshal in 1943. He was relieved of his command in March 1944. Kleist was taken prisoner by U.S. forces in 1945, and was sent to Yugoslavia to face war crimes charges in 1946. In 1948 he was extradited to the Soviet Union where he was given a 10-year sentence in 1952 for war crimes. He died in the Vladimir Central Prison in 1954, the highest ranked German officer to die in Soviet captivity. Kleist was charged, among other things, with "alienating, through friendship & generosity, the peoples of the Soviet Union".
- Iron Cross (1914)
- Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Knight's Cross on 15 May 1940 as General der Kavallerie and commanding general of XXII. Armeekorps (Panzergruppe "von Kleist")
- 72nd Oak Leaves on 17 February 1942 as Generaloberst and Commander-in-chief of Panzergruppe 1
- 60th Swords on 30 March 1944 as Generalfeldmarschall and Commander-in-chief Heeresgruppe A
- Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 10 April 1941; 13 April 1941; 26 August 1941; 27 August 1941; 11 October 1941; 12 October 1941; 22 November 1941; 30 May 1942; 19 August 1943 and on 9 October 1943
- Parrish 1996, pp. 127–128.
- "Hitler's Generals" by Samuel W. Mitcham Jr. (2003).
- Thomas 1997, p. 375.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 447.
- Parrish, Michael (1996). The Lesser Terror: Soviet State Security, 1939–1953. Praeger Press. ISBN 978-0-275-95113-9.
- 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.
- Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.