Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
Teaser Image

Adam, Wilhelm (1877–1949)

German army general. Born in Ansbach in Bavaria on 15 September 1877, Wilhelm Adam joined the German army in 1897. He began his military career in a communications unit but then transferred to the engineers. In 1899 he was commissioned a lieutenant. He won promotion to captain in 1911 and at the end of World War I served as a staff officer in a Bavarian reserve division. Adam won promotion to major in 1919 and to colonel in 1927.

During the interwar period Adam served in staff positions, including chief of staff of the 7th Infantry Division. In 1930 he headed the Truppenamt, the secret German General Staff. That same year he was promoted to Generalmajor (U.S. equiv. brigadier general) and in 1931 he was advanced to Generalleutnant (U.S. equiv. major general). In late 1933, after Adolf Hitler came to power, Adam was assigned to Bavaria as commander of its military district. In 1935, he was promoted to General der Infanterie (U.S. equiv. lieutenant general) and named to command the newly created Wehrmachtakademie (War Academy) in Berlin. He served there until March 1938, when he became commander of Army Group 2, which had headquarters at Kassel and was responsible for the defense of western Germany. Adam expressed concern that German fortifications along the western border were inadequate to protect against a combined British-French attack, a view that brought him into conflict with Hitler.

That summer, at Hitler's insistence, German military planners began preparing an invasion of Czechoslovakia, which necessitated pulling troops from the Rhineland. Adam and others including army Chief of Staff General Ludwig Beck argued strongly against the invasion, fearing it would provoke French and British action. In July, Adam went so far as to characterize the planned attack on Czechoslovakia as a "war of desperation."

Hitler was well aware of these sentiments. Beck was relieved of his command in August 1938 and replaced by General Franz Halder. In November, Adam was also sacked, replaced by General Erwin von Witzleben. Adam retired in December 1938. His removal was part of Hitler's effort to secure complete control of the army. Portions of Adam's unpublished memoirs were used after the war as background information at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Adam died in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on 8 April 1949.

Laura J. Hilton


Further Reading
Deutsch, Harold C. Hitler and His Generals: The Hidden Crisis, January–June 1938. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1974.; O'Neill, Robert. The German Army and the Nazi Party, 1933–1939. New York: Heinemann, 1966.; Wheeler-Bennett, John. The Nemesis of Power. London: Macmillan, 1954.
 

©2011 ABC-CLIO. All rights reserved.

  About the Author/Editor
  Introduction
  Essays
  A
  B
  C
  D
  E
  F
  G
  H
  I
  J
  K
  L
  M
  N
  O
  P
  Q
  R
  S
  T
  U
  V
  W
  X
  Y
  Z
  Documents Prior to 1938
  1939 Documents
  1940 Documents
  1941 Documents
  1942 Documents
  1943 Documents
  1944 Documents
  1945 Documents
  Images
ABC-cLIO Footer