Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Blumentritt, Günther (1892–1967)

German army general and commander of the Fifteenth Army on the Western Front. Born in Munich on 10 February 1892, Günther Blumentritt entered the Germany army in 1911, serving a year as a Fahnenjunker (officer cadet) in the 71st Thüringen Infantry Regiment before matriculating at the Danzig Kriegsakademie (War College) in early 1912. Commissioned in November 1912, Blumentritt served in various regimental staff positions on the Eastern Front during World War I, ending the war as a senior lieutenant. He served briefly in the Thüringen Freikorps in 1919, where he advanced from company commander to corps adjutant. Despite never having held a command in the regular army, his wartime performance was sufficient to gain his entry into the postwar Reichswehr. In November 1919, he took command of a company in the 11th Jäger (light infantry) Regiment.

Blumentritt's postwar career followed a conventional path, with nearly annual rotations between staff and low-level command positions in infantry, cavalry, and artillery units. His star began to rise in the early 1930s, no doubt assisted by his close friendship with two future field marshals—Erich von Manstein and Wilhelm von Leeb. In 1933, Blumentritt became an instructor in tactics at the Officers' Course, Germany's clandestine General Staff or War College (institution forbidden under terms of the Versailles Treaty that ended World War I). He left the War College as an lieutenant colonel and General Staff officer in October 1935.

Most of Blumentritt's subsequent assignments were in staff positions. He was Colonel General (Karl) Gerd von Rundstedt's operations chief for the invasion of Poland and then Colonel General Günther von Kluge's chief of staff for the invasions of France and the Soviet Union. He became chief of staff to Field Marshal von Rundstedt's Army Group D in France in September 1942 but was injured in a railway accident in January 1943 and did not return to service until 10 June 1944, after Allied troops had landed in Normandy.

Blumentritt's association with von Kluge and others involved in efforts to overthrow Adolf Hitler led to his temporary suspension in early September 1944. Later that same month, he was promoted to general of infantry (U.S. equiv. lieutenant general) and given command of XII SS Corps on the Western Front. In January 1945, he took command of Twenty-Fifth Army in Holland, and in March, he assumed command of the First Parachute Army, ending the war in Schleswig-Holstein. He was held until January 1948.

Blumentritt enjoyed a brief postwar career as a commentator on Western Allied strategy, and he wrote extensively. In addition to his memoirs, he wrote a well-received book on von Rundstedt that was translated into English in 1952, and he edited another on the German tactics and operations against the Allies in the fighting in Normandy. Blumentritt died in Munich on 12 October 1967.

Carl O. Schuster


Further Reading
Barnett, Correlli. Hitler's Generals. London: Orion, 1995.; Blumentritt, Guenther. Von Rundstedt: Soldier and the Man. London: Odhams Press, 1952.; Cooper, Mathew. German Army, 1933–1945. New York: Bonanza Books, 1984.
 

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