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|Formation||12th century (historical)|
19 July 1940
|Next lower rank||Generalfeldmarschall|
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.
Until 1940, the highest rank in the German military was Generalfeldmarschall (transl. general 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, 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] 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 newly created 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.
Göring was also designated as the Hitler's successor. 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.
The original uniform shown in the Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr in Berlin.
- Göring also held many other prestigious titles, such as Reichsjägermeister (Reich Master of the Hunt) and Commissioner Plenipotentiary of the Four-Year Plan.
- 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.
(Army and Luftwaffe)