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Blaskowitz, Johannes

    Date of birth:
    July 10th, 1883 (Peterswalde/East Prussia, Germany)
    Date of death:
    February 5th, 1948 (Nuremberg/Bavaria, Germany)
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, German Reich)

    Biography

    Johannes Blaskowitz was born July 10th, 1883 in Peterswalde. In 1901 he enlisted in the Prussian army as a foot soldier. In 1909 he started an education in officer's school, he graduated in 1911. During WW 1, he and his regiment saw action at the Eastern front. After the war, Blaskowitz joined the Reichswehr. He was involved in extending the infantry when Hitler came to power. He had already been an army commander when WW 2 broke out; in October 1938 during the occupation of the Sudetenland and in the spring of 1939 during the occupation of the remainder of Czecho-Slowakia. He was in command of 8. Armee during the invasion of Poland. After having been involved in the surrender of Warsaw, he was awarded one of the first Knight's Crosses. Following the capture of Poland, he was named governor of the occupied territory. He was one of the few who protested against the methods of the SS. Hitler fired him, as he fired almost any officer who dared stand up against him and he was replaced by Hans Frank. After the Germans had succesfully captured the West, he was put in command of the army of occupation in France, fighting the resistance. He continued doing this until the invasion of June 6th, 1944. Then he was put in command of Heeresgruppe G (Armygroup) to prevent the Allies from staging an invasion in the south of France but in this he failed. January 1945, he was ordered to launch an offensive, comparable to the Ardennes offensive but he failed again. Subsequently, Hitler put him in command of 'Festung Holland' and he participated in the negotiations concerning the dropping of food, Operation Manna, to relieve the starving population in those parts of the Netherlands that had not yet been liberated by the Allies.
    Ultimately, on May 5th, 1945 he capitulated to Canadian general Foulkes in hotel 'De Wereld' in Wageningen. After the war, he was indicted for war crimes. It was too much for Blaskowitz. In February 1948, he committed suicide by jumping off a balcony in Neurenberg prison.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generalleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    Inspekteur RWM
    Awarded on:
    November 10th, 1934
    Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generallleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    Kommandierenden General im Wehrbereich II (Bevelhebbend Generaal in Militair district II)
    Awarded on:
    October 2nd, 1936
    Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht 4.Klasse, 4 Jahre
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generalleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    Kommandierenden General im Wehrbereich II (Bevelhebbend Generaal in Militair district II)
    Awarded on:
    October 2nd, 1936
    Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht  3.Klasse, 12 Jahre
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generalleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    Kommandierenden General im Wehrbereich II (Bevelhebbend Generaal in Militair district II)
    Awarded on:
    October 2nd, 1936
    Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht  2. Klasse, 18 Jahre
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generallleutnant (Major-general)
    Unit:
    Kommandierenden General im Wehrbereich II (Bevelhebbend Generaal in Militair district II)
    Awarded on:
    October 2nd, 1936
    Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht  1.Klasse, 25 Jahre
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    General (Lieutenant-general)
    Unit:
    Oberbefehlshaber 8.Armee (Opperbevelhebber 8e Leger)
    Awarded on:
    September 11th, 1939
    1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 2er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    General (Lieutenant-general)
    Unit:
    Oberbefehlshaber 8.Armee (Opperbevelhebber 8e Leger)
    Awarded on:
    September 21st, 1939
    1939 Spange zum Eisernen Kreuzes 1er Klasse 1914
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    General (Lieutenant-general)
    Unit:
    Oberbefehlshaber 8.Armee (Opperbevelhebber 8e Leger)
    Awarded on:
    September 27th, 1939
    Wehrmachtbericht
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    General der Infanterie
    Unit:
    Oberbefehlshaber 8.Armee (Opperbevelhebber 8e Leger)
    Awarded on:
    September 30th, 1939
    Details:
    1st Award.
    Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generaloberst (General)
    Unit:
    Oberbefehlshaber 1.Armee (Opperbevelhebber 1e Leger)
    Awarded on:
    January 28th, 1941
    Ordine della Corona d'Italia - Cavaliere della Croce Grande
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generaloberst (General)
    Unit:
    Oberbefehlshaber 1.Armee (Opperbevelhebber 1e Leger)
    Awarded on:
    October 30th, 1943
    Deutsches Kreuz in Silber
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generaloberst (General)
    Unit:
    Oberbefehlshaber Heeresgruppe G (Opperbevelhebber Legergroep G)
    Awarded on:
    October 29th, 1944
    Details:
    640th Award.
    Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Generaloberst (General)
    Unit:
    Oberbefehlshaber Niederlande (Opperbevelhebber Nederland)
    Awarded on:
    April 25th, 1945
    Details:
    146th Award.
    Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Action:
    further details unknown
    Kriegsverdienstkreuz 1.Klasse mit Schwertern
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Action:
    further details unknown
    Kriegsverdienstkreuz 2.Klasse mit Schwertern
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Action:
    further details unknown
    Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 1. Oktober 1938

    Sources

    • Photo: Wilco Vermeer
    • - Die Ordensträger der Deutschen Wehrmacht (CD), VMD-Verlag GmbH, Osnabrück, 2002
      - Fellgiebel W.P., Elite of the Third Reich, The recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939-1945: A Reference, Helion & Company Limited, Solihull, 2003, ISBN 1-874622-46-9
      - Patzwall K., Scherzer V., Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941-1945, Geschichte und Inhaber Band II, Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall, Norderstedt, 2001, ISBN 3-931533-45-X
      - Kursietis A.J., The wehrmacht at war 1939-1945 the units and commanders
      - Axis Biographical Research

    Photo