In 1935, Hoth took command of the 18th Division and was promoted to major general. Promoted to lieutenant general, in November 1938 he commanded the XV Motorized Corps and distinguished himself in the invasion of Poland in September 1939. With his panzer group, Hoth also distinguished himself in the invasion of France and Benelux in May 1940. In this campaign, he pushed through the Ardennes Forest to the English Channel and then into Normandy and Brittany. Hoth won promotion to full general in July. His formation was redesignated 3rd Panzer Group in November. He led it in the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Hoth commanded the Seventeenth Army in Ukraine from October 1941 to June 1942, when he took command of Fourth Panzer Army. Hoth's task was to encircle Voronezh and then drive south to the lower Don River. He led this army across the Don and toward the Caucasus and lower Volga.
Although Hoth subsequently failed to break through Soviet defenses to Stalingrad, he subsequently carried out a successful counteroffensive that helped open an escape route around Rostov for Army Group A. The Fourth Army helped restore the German lines and participated in the Battle of Kursk in July 1943. That November, Adolf Hitler dismissed the capable and well-liked Hoth for his "defeatist attitude."
Tried by a U.S. military court after the war for "crimes against humanity" committed by subordinates, Hoth was found guilty and sentenced at Nuremberg in October 1948 to 15 years in prison. He was released in 1954 and then wrote on armored warfare. His memoir, Panzer-Operationen, was published in 1956. Hoth died at Goslar/Harz on 25 January 1971.
Spencer C. Tucker
Brett-Smith, Richard. Hitler's Generals. San Rafael, CA: Presidio Press, 1976.; Hoth, Hermann. Panzer-Operationen: die Panzer-gruppe 3 und der operative Gedanke der deutschen Führung Sommer 1941. Heidelberg: K. Vowinckel, 1956.; Mellenthin, F. W. von. Panzer Battles: A Study of the Employment of Armor in the Second World War. Trans. H. Betzler. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1956.