Fedor von Bock was born December 3rd, 1880 in Kustrin, Germany as son of an army officier. He completed officer's training in 1898 and became a Lieutenant (Leutnant). In 1910, he started schooling to join the General Staff and was admitted in 1912 in the rank of Captain. A year after, he joined the General Staff of the Guards Corps (Garde Korps) in which he entered WW 1. in 1914. During this war he saw action on the Eastern, as well as on the Western front. In April 1918, he was awarded Germany's highest decoration, the Pour le Mérite.
When Hitler had risen to power, he took a neutral stand concerning the Nazis. In 1936, he was married to Wilhelmine von der Osten and in 1938, he was promoted to Colonel-general (? Generaloberst ?). Following the German take-over of the Sudetenland, he was named its 'Verwalter' i.e. the highest authority. November 1st, 1938, he was put in command of Heeresgruppe 1 (Armygroup) in Berlin. He was involved in the invasion of Poland and at the end of the Polish campaign was awarded the Ritterkreuz (Knight's Cross). During the invasion of France and the Low Countries in May and June 1940, Von Bock was Commander in Chief of Heeresgruppe B. June 22nd, 1941, saw the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union and Von Bock was put in command of Heeresgruppe Mitte (Armygroup Centre). Hitler and von Bock were soon in disagreement over military strategy in the Soviet Union. October 1941, he was ordered to capture Moscow but Operation Typhoon failed dramatically. Because of the horrendous losses in this operation, Von Bock suggested a retreat and in doing so suffered the same fate as nearly 40 other generals, sacked by Hitler for defeatism. A few weeks later however, after the unexpected death of Fieldmarshall Walter von Reichenau, commander of Heeresgruppe Süd, Von Bock was back in favor and named his successor. Summer 1942, he clashed with Hitler again and this time was relegated to the Reserves. He spent the last years of the war quietly in Bavaria. After Hitler's death, he offered his services to the new government, led by Dönitz in Flensburg. May 3rd, 1945, on his way to Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, his car was attacked by RAF fighterbombers. Fedor von Bock was mortally wounded and died the next day.
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