German army general. Born at Unna in Westphalia on 21 November 1894, Friedrich Hossbach joined the German army in 1913 and served on the Eastern Front during World War I. He remained in the Reichswehr after the war and, as a captain, was assigned to the General Staff in 1927. As a major, he became adjutant to Adolf Hitler in August 1934, while continuing his position as chief of the Central Section of the General Staff. Promoted to colonel in March 1937, he is chiefly remembered for his notes—what became known as the "Hossbach Memorandum"—during a key meeting between Hitler and his military chiefs in Berlin on 5 November 1937, in which the Führer spelled out his plans for an aggressive foreign policy leading to war. This became important evidence at the postwar Nuremberg trials. Immune to intimidation, Hossbach also warned commander of the armed forces General Werner von Fritsch of charges of homosexuality impending against him. Refusing to go along with the plot against Fritsch, Hossbach was dismissed from his adjutant post in February 1938, although he retained his staff position.
Hossbach commanded the 82nd Regiment of the 31st Infantry Division in the invasion of France and the Low Countries in May 1940. Promoted to Generalmajor (U.S. equiv. brigadier general) in March 1942, Hossbach commanded the next month the 82nd Division, then briefly in May 1943 the 31st Division on the Eastern Front. That August, he took over LVI Panzer Corps as a Generalleutnant (U.S. equiv. major general). Promoted to general of infantry (lieutenant general) in November 1943, he then commanded XVI Fourth Army in July 1944. Hitler relieved him from command on 30 January 1945 when, in East Prussia and under Russian pressure but without authority, Hossbach withdrew his forces. Hossbach published his memoirs in 1949. He died in Göttingen on 10 September 1980.
Spencer C. Tucker
Hossbach, Friedrich. Zwischen Wehrmacht und Hitler, 1934–1938. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1965.; Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960.