Alfred Jodl was born May 10th , 1890 in Würzburg as the son of a soldier. At the age of 13, he attended the School of Cadets in Munich, graduating in 1910. After having completed his military training, he served in an artilleryregiment.
From the beginning of the First World War, Jodl served as an officer in an artillerybattery on the Western Front until 1916 but was seriously wounded. After having recuperated from his injuries, he was posted to an Hungarian artilleryregiment on the Eastern Front. Subsequently he returned to the Western Front in 1918 as staff officer.
Following the armistice after the First World War, Jodl was incorporated in the strongly decimated German Army, the Reichswehr. In 1923 he met Hitler and in the same year he commenced training as a staff officer in Berlin and on graduation, he was incorporated in the General Staff of the Bavarian Division in Berlin.
In 1932, Jodl was transferred to Berlin to coordinate the army, serving under General Beck. Among other things, he was involved in the expansion of the German Army and the general rearmament. These were mainly administrative tasks, subordinate to the War Ministry.
At the end of 1938, to his surprise, Jodl was transferred to Linz in Austria to take charge of an artilleryregiment but was recalled in the summer of 1939 to become chief of the army command which was a part of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (O.K.W. or Supreme Command of the Armed Forces). As such he advised Hitler on the way the war was to be conducted. This mainly involved planning the various operations. After the war had broken out, Jodl rose directly to General, skipping the rank of Lieutenant general.
1942 saw Jodl being put in charge of joint operations against the Western Allies with responsibility over the area stretching from North-Africa to the northernmost tip of Norway. Jodl frequently criticized Hitler about the way the war was conducted but Hitler ignored his advice. This criticism led to a cooling of the relationship between Hitler and Jodl but he remained loyal to the Führer and carried out whatever he ordered. In 1944, Jodl was promoted to Colonel general. His wife passed away that year.
Jodl remained responsible for the planning of operations on the western front up to the end of the war. Due to the strategic situation, Jodl and his staff moved to northern Germany as the Soviets stood before the gates of Berlin. After Hitler had committed suicide, Dönitz became the new leader of Nazi-Germany. Under his direction, Jodl was responsible for the postponement of the capitulation in order to evacuate civilians and military personnel from the eastern territories to prevent them from falling into Soviet hands. In order not to hand those people over to the Red Army, Jodl negotiated with the Americans in Reims, northern France to enable Germany to surrender to the Western Allies.
On May 7th, 1945, as representative of Dönitz, Jodl officially signed the unconditional capitulation of the Wehrmacht, ending the war in Europe. After signing the capitulation, Jodl was taken prisoner of war by the British in Flensburg. In November 1945, he was indicted by the Nuremberg Tribunal.
Jodl was charged with conspiracy to wage a war of aggression or crimes against peace, waging of a war of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was found guilty on all counts of the indictment and sentenced to death. Meanwhile, he had started to write his memoirs but got no further than the 20s. Jodl was hanged October 16th, 1946 in Nuremberg.
In 1956, Jodl was acquitted of all four charges by a German arbitrary committee because, according to the committee, he had only done his duty as a soldier.