Talk:Dietrich von Choltitz

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"is said to have"[edit]

The beginning of this article states, "He is said to have disobeyed Hitler's order to leave Paris in rubble during this last stage of the war." That implies uncertainty about whether Hitler actually gave such an order (maybe it's true, maybe it's a myth). But then later on in the article it is stated as fact: "he disobeyed several direct orders from Adolf Hitler to destroy the city". I don't know myself (haven't even seen the movie) but if historians generally accept this as accurate, then the phrase "is said to have" should be removed from the intro. On the other hand, if historians are unsure, then that has to be stated expressly in the article.--Mathew5000 23:37, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

The orders are reported as fact in other wikipedia articles like Eiffel_Tower, and Britannica also reports the Hitler orders as fact
The question is not over if the orders exist but if he disobeyed them out of choice or due to lack of men and material.-- 17:36, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

"Raoul Nordling"[edit]

The article on Raoul Nordling suggests that he played some role in helping (or persuading) von Choltitz to make his decision. A cross reference would seem appropriate.


He died 'from a longstanding war illness'. Slightly odd wording. Was this a wound or an infection? Valetude (talk) 15:01, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

An interesting question, and one that I've been wondering about for some time. Every online reference but one that mentions his COD at all uses that same vague, odd phrase. (Whether it was copied from the WP article or vice versa is not clear.) The one exception describes it as simply "a long illness". I've looked at numerous print sources with no better luck. Granted, it's a small point -- but when & if I come across a definitive, reliably-sourced answer (unless someone else finds it first), I will certainly add it. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 16:11, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

Légion d'honneur[edit]

Is there a source for him receiving the Légion d'honneur as his name is not on and the French wiki page for him does not list this award. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:29, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia has verification on this page Catégorie:Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur.
(There are two hundred recipients on this page and who are only a partial part of the entire alphabetical sequence.)
Its principal Wikipedia source being Recipients of the Légion d’honneur, the catégorie : Chevalier. --Laurencebeck (talk) 10:20, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
His German WP page cites Dermot Bradley (Hrsg.): Die Generale des Heeres 1921-1945. Band 2: v. Blanckensee-v. Czettritz und Neuhauß. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück 1993, ISBN 3-7648-2424-7, S. 432. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 14:42, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

How to pronounce "Choltitz" in German?[edit]

Does the name sound like "Show-tiz" or "Core-tiz" in English? I don't know whether the German pronunciation is same as the French pronunciation or not.--Howard61313 (talk) 16:43, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Neither, it's more like coal-tiz. --15:44, 14 March 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
More like Coal-Tits.Historian932 (talk) 20:05, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

"unexplained changes"[edit]

DrJoeE, I didn't realize that citing sources warranted a revert, or making major improvements to the article without explaining it. If you want an explanation, all you have to do is read the sources cited. Since we're talking about sources, I'm removing the sentences that are sourced from movie reviews, one of which isn't even on this topic, as it doesn't meet wikipedia's reliable source requirements. While von Choltitz did admit that Jews were killed under his command in Russia, we would need a reliable source to back up the quantitative claims made by a film critic.

I also think we should sort out the article, as half the section on his governorship of Paris is about movies or plays, we should sort that into it's own section. Also, while working on the Paris section, I feel it should be totally rewritten, as it's full of weasel words.

Also, I have removed "war criminal" from the opening paragraph. In order to be a war criminal, he would have needed to be convicted of a war crime, which he was not. It's fine to say he secretly admitted that he obeyed orders to kill Jews, but you can't brand him a war criminal without an actual source that says he was held responsible in a trial.

-- (talk) 20:27, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

First, you added the above only after my revert, not before, as implied in your edit summary on the article. Second, you removed everything from the other side of the argument (including the cited sources), leaving only the information supporting Choltitz's side of the argument, which is a violation of WP:NPOV. What is your agenda here? What is your evidence that he was not convicted of war crimes? Please elaborate. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 03:35, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Addendum: I also noticed that you did not cite any sources for the information you added re: his career. I left that material alone, but you will need to cite sources for it if you want it to stay. I am collecting other source material for the information you deleted, although the existing sourcing does not violate WP:RS and will be restored as well. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 16:22, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

I added this here because there wasn't enough room to explain all my edits in the description area, but if you had actually read my edits, you would have seen what I added was factual and sourced.

I don't have to prove that he wasn't convicted of war crimes, as it's impossible to prove something that didn't happen, that's like asking me to prove that the earth isn't made of cake. As per wikipedia guidelines of Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources, a movie review (opinion piece from an unqualified source) isn't a reliable source on a historical person, surely you could find an authoritative source that would say it if it were true. If I were trying to be POV and delete anything not supporting him, I would have removed the quotes from his time as a POW, but I didn't, because I'm not trying to do that.

I have no agenda, please assume good faith, you're already accusing me of things and we've just started. It's not a violation of NPOV if I'm removing claims not backed up by reliable sources and adding things that are. Yes, the article now has more information supporting his claims, but that's because it's backed up by reliable sources.

-- (talk) 16:32, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Addendum: I did cite that stuff I added about his career in the first paragraph of that section. That source was already on this page before I expanded that information. I only cited it once because I didn't want the whole section cluttered with numbers at the end of every sentence. If you feel it needs it, feel free to add more of the ref tags on the section.

That source does not meet reliable sources criteria, you have to be kidding me if you think it does. for one, that source isn't even about von Choltitz, and for two, it's an opinion piece by someone who doesn't cite any sources and has no qualifications to make the claims. For all we know he got his information from here.

-- (talk) 16:38, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

this source [1] says he was never charged with war crimes, there's a source for you.

-- (talk) 16:40, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes, it does say that, to my great surprise. But it also affirms the opinion that Choltitz's claims lack a historical basis, which you removed for purported lack of sourcing! So surely you won't now object to my restoring that material, with the cited source, along with others that I've been gathering over the last couple of days. Thanks for finding that one, which I somehow missed. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 17:16, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Addendum: As I think more about it, the claim that he was never charged is puzzling. If that is true, on what basis did the allies keep him imprisoned for almost 2 years? This merits some further digging. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 17:23, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

A lot of German POWs were kept prisoner for many years after the war. All the Allies had to do was write up some paperwork saying he was a devout nazi and hold them indefinitely until they were "denazified". Then they'd use them as forced labourers, to quote the chief US prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials, the Allies "have done or are doing some of the very things we are prosecuting the Germans for. The French are so violating the Geneva Convention in the treatment of prisoners of war that our command is taking back prisoners sent to them. We are prosecuting plunder and our Allies are practicing it."[2]

That was mainly lower ranks though, officers were being held for years without being put on trial. Erich von Manstein was not brought up on trial until after four years of captivity, for example. That's just the Western Allies, the Soviets held prisoners for over a decade after the war.

That is all a side note though to the topic at hand, and I will get back to it now.

Also, that "historian" in the article I linked isn't a historian, but an assistant curator at a museum, the article trumped up his credentials. His statements have to be taken with a grain of salt. There seems to be two widely disparate ideas about what happened in Paris. French revisionists like to pretend that the resistance single-handedly seized Paris from a blood thirsty monster, and von Choltitz's supporters believe he worked magic and single-handedly saved the city from destruction. Of course neither are true, but we can take aspects from both sides and try and find out what claims can be verified and which ones should be relegated to historical fiction.

This book [3] seems to go into far greater detail than any other source available online on von Choltitz's role in the final days of Paris's occupation, specifically Chapter 8 (page 84). I suggest we use more information from it, as it seems to settle in a middle ground between the two opposing views. The author's credentials are ridiculously good, and his book is thoroughly researched and cited throughout.

Do you have access to the Neitzel book quoted in the article? I found it on google books but was unable to read the pages about von Choltitz. Also, I would also like to read those sources you've been finding if you could send the link.

-- (talk) 22:54, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Sonke Neitzel's book came and went rather quickly, but there is a Kindle edition, which I just downloaded, and I'll take a look as time permits. I have a copy of the Hansen book, which I found too dry to plow through, but I'll give it another shot if you feel it is worth sourcing. Other relevant books include Cobb: Eleven Days in August: The Liberation of Paris in 1944 and Guehenno: Diary of the Dark Years, 1940-1944: Collaboration, Resistance, and Daily Life in Occupied Paris -- neither of which is available electronically AFAIK, unfortunately. More to follow. Thanks for shifting to a more collegial tone, BTW. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 00:32, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

I have Neitzel's other book, Soldaten. based on the same source material, but the only reference to von Choltitz is in the picture from Trent Park already in the article.

-- (talk) 05:40, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

And I've just downloaded Rothbottom's book, When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944. Unfortunately I'm whelmed over with several imminent deadlines and other real-world work right now, but will share any relevant content as I find it. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 13:43, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
And a copy of Mitchell's book just arrived (Nazi Paris: The History of an Occupation, 1940-1944) -- an academic tome, with a correspondingly extortionate price tag -- but hey, c'est la vie, it's only money. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 14:22, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

I must point out that Neitzel's books are solely based on transcripts of listened in on conversations with no research into the veracity of the claims, he is more interested in looking into the psychology of those POWs. He mentions a few times in the Soldaten book that he believes the quotes he is providing were lies constructed by POWs trying to impress fellow soldiers they just met. To quote from Soldaten, page 72: "Games of verbal one-upsmanship are common in the surveillance protocols. That's partly because bragging is a frequent element of everyday conversations, in which the person talking tries to outdo his interlocutor with a better story or superior achievement." Throughout the book, he seems to not question quotes that back the points he is trying to make, no matter how incredible. He also provides no context for many of the quotes, a lot of them are one-liners with no explanation. Also, he makes no attempt to get into the mindset of a soldier, there are numerous times in the book when he misconstrues statements by soldiers to be tacit approval or complicity in crimes. His "juiciest" stories in the book all come from less than a dozen men, and then uses that to claim it was near universal across the whole Wehrmacht. He offers anecdotes that wouldn't fill a travel brochure, out of more than 150,000 pages of transcripts, and of those that made the book, a large percentage of them are staged by stoolpigeons hired by the Allies. Not to mention it is all transcripts and not recordings, how is Neitzel to know if the speaker wasn't being sarcastic?

That's all a little off-topic of course.

-- (talk) 02:14, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

The book Defenders of Fortress Europe by Samuel W. Mitcham has three pages (pg 113-6, 120-2, 208) on his pre-Paris days, including more biographical background and the actual cause of death currently missing from the article. Mungo Melvin's book on Manstein (pg 247-8, 266,) has information on him in the Crimea. Do you have any qualms about me adding this information into the career section or adding an early life section? Also of interest in the first book is Model demanding he be court martialed after Paris, should that not also be added to article?

[4] here is German wikipedia information about his ancestry and birthplace. perhaps we can add this image of his former Schloss nowadays [5]

Also, this article [6] has a quote from him where he admits to know about the murder of jews in Sevastopol, but not that he played an active role in it. That was done by Einsatzgruppe D. It's interesting to note that this seems to be pure conjecture on his part, it would be nice to see the whole quote from Neitzel's book in order to gain more information.

This article[7] states he told Eisenhower to get to Paris quickly to avoid its destruction. Interesting as well.

[8] has some good general information on the liberation of Paris and Choltitz's role.

[9] Liberation of Paris 1944: Patton's race for the Seine by Steven Zaloga has more information about his statements on war crimes (pg 75) but unfortunately the google books preview cuts it off before I can read the whole section. There is also more information about Choltitz telling Eisenhower to advance on Paris quickly (pg 63).

A biography of LeClerc [10] has some information on Choltitz's actions in Paris. page 278 has some info on his actions in Rotterdam, although simplified. pg 303 is also rather interesting.

Upon reading all this information my opinion is that there has been rather recent revisionism by some Frenchmen to try and take all the credit for the Liberation of Paris and not share it with some Boche Junker, how else could one explain high ranking French officers attending his funeral, but more recent French sources attempt to denigrate him as a genocidal monster who didn't destroy Paris only because he didn't have time or resources? We must wade through all this information carefully, and select that which is more accurate.

-- (talk) 22:23, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Well, as always, our opinions don't matter here -- sources matter. Different sources often take different paradigms, and it's not our job to decide who's right and who's wrong; if there are different credible versions we need to state them, and maintain WP:NPOV. I think Lionel Dardenne is correct in saying that von Choltitz did not have the means to destroy the city completely (he is a historian, by the way -- museum curators often are), and there is source material to support that view. On the other hand, there is no doubt that von Choltitz could have done substantial damage to the city had he so chosen, and there is source material to support that as well. Both of those statements were in the article, and need to go back in (with better sourcing).
I've been digging through the books I have, and awaiting the arrival of a couple more -- I have some deadlines to meet in the real world over the next week, so my progress will be slow. Meanwhile, yes, feel free to add the "early life" info and anything else you've found. I'll supplement and add as time permits. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 01:42, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

I was just stating my opinion in regards to the general topic, so that you understand what viewpoint I am coming from, I am not asking for it to be placed in the article. I have questions about Dardenne's accuracy though, as the reliable sources criteria demands peer review, however, an attention grabbing soundbite from an "expert" in a web tabloid is unlikely to have been vetted by his peers.

I just received a copy of Disobeying Hitler and will be reading it over. Unfortunately I am getting rather busy as well, headed across the country next week on a house hunting trip and then two months of military exercises in the middle of nowhere will not allow me to contribute very much, if anything at all. Just giving you a heads up so you don't think I've just abandoned our little project here.

-- (talk) 22:52, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

Hey, this isn't a full-time job for any of us. All in good time. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 01:43, 20 March 2015 (UTC)


If he surrendered to the Free French, why was he imprisoned in England? Valetude (talk) 14:17, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

This page is for discussing improvements to the article; but briefly, the allies sent all the captured high-ranking officers to Trent Park, and then eavesdropped on their conversations, hoping they would reveal useful information - and apparently they did. After the war, Choltitz served his time (not very long) in the USA. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 20:53, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for that, doctor. I suggest that this would actually represent an improvement to the article, enlightening many of us about the movement of important prisoners. Valetude (talk) 23:29, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Already there; but I do plan on expanding that point (and others) when I can find the time. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 23:44, 11 January 2016 (UTC)


One of the sources used in the article -- General 'spared Paris by disobeying Fuhrer' --states:

  • Many historians are sceptical about film and book portrayals of Gen Dietrich von Choltitz, the Germans' Greater Paris commander during the final days of enemy occupation, as the "saviour of Paris".

I'm going to adjust the article to reflect this; please let me know if there are any objections. K.e.coffman (talk) 01:12, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

Good. I've added that view more than once, only to have it removed each time. I'll expand on it, with sources I've accumulated, as time permits. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 04:17, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
Here's a(nother) critical source/article: Historian932 (talk) 20:06, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
You are all quite right gentlemen. The picture this article paints about Choltitz as the "savior of Paris" is really wrong. Choltitz had expecting a siege, and had placed his forces on the exterior of Paris. The uprising that broke out in Paris took him by surprise, which he why he initially asked Nordling to pass on a request for a truce. Anyhow, Choltitz did not tell his men of his plans to surrender, which did lead to fighting that destroyed the Foreign Ministry building on the Quai d'Orsay, Ecole Militaire, Les Invalides and the Tuileries Gardens, so the picture this article of Choltitz as the good guy who heroically saved Paris is quite erroneous.--A.S. Brown (talk) 01:37, 12 December 2017 (UTC)