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Standard from 1941 to 1945 (left side)
Collar insignia
Shoulder boards
Country Nazi Germany
Service branch Wehrmacht
Formation12th century (historical)
19 July 1940
Next lower rankGeneralfeldmarschall

Reichsmarschall (German: Reichsmarschall des Großdeutschen Reiches; lit.'Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich') was a rank and the highest military office in the Wehrmacht specially created for Hermann Göring during World War II. It was senior to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall, which was previously the highest rank in the Wehrmacht.[1] In other states, the approximate equivalent would be the rank of generalissimo.


Until 1940, the highest rank in the German military was Generalfeldmarschall (transl.field marshal). At the beginning of World War II, the only active holder of that rank was Hermann Göring, Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe. In a ceremony on 19 July 1940, after winning the Battle of France, Adolf Hitler promoted twelve generals to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. During the same ceremony, Göring was promoted to the newly created rank of Reichsmarschall to placate his thirst for prestige[a][3] and to highlight his position as senior to the other Wehrmacht commanders, without giving him any actual authority over them. This was done in order to ensure that the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), the High Command of the German Armed Forces, which was headed by Hitler, would retain overall control and authority over the German military.

Earlier, on the day Germany invaded Poland, Hitler designated Göring as his successor, a status underscored by a 1941 decree that empowered Göring to act as Hitler's deputy with full freedom of action in the event Hitler was incapacitated. Nevertheless, on 23 April 1945, when Göring suggested to Hitler that he assume leadership of the crumbling remains of Nazi Germany, Hitler relieved Göring of his duties and named a new successor in his last will and testament, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz. Dönitz's appointment was made on or before the day of Hitler's suicide.[4]




  1. ^ Göring also held many other prestigious titles, such as Reichsjägermeister (Reich Master of the Hunt)[2] and Commissioner Plenipotentiary of the Four Year Plan.


  1. ^ Haskew 2011, p. 46.
  2. ^ Knopf, Volker; Martens, Stefan (2012). Görings Reich: Der Reichsjägermeister in der Schorfheide. Neumann-Neudamm GmbH. ISBN 9783788815134. OCLC 809373538.
  3. ^ Haskew 2011, pp. 25, 46, 119.
  4. ^ O'Donnell 1979, p. 217.


  • Haskew, Michael (2011). The Wehrmacht. Amber Books. ISBN 978-1-907446-95-5.
  • O'Donnell, James P. (1979). The History of the Reich Chancellery Group. London, UK: J. M. Dent. OCLC 638799214.
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