Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Jodl, Alfred (1890–1946)

German army general who was chief of operations for Adolf Hitler's regime. Born on 10 May 1890 in Würzburg, Germany, Alfred Jodl joined a Bavarian field artillery regiment in 1910 and served on the Western Front for the first two years of World War I. After recuperating from wounds he received there, he was transferred to the Eastern Front and served with a Hungarian artillery regiment before moving back to the west and finishing the war as a general staff officer. His superior performance secured him a position in the postwar Reichswehr (State Armed Forces). Serving primarily in staff positions during the interwar years, Jodl was assigned in 1939 as a Generalmajor (U.S. equiv. brigadier general) to the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW, or Armed Forces High Command) as chief of the Wehrmachtführungsamt (Armed Forces Operations Office, renamed in 1940 to Wehrmachtführungsstab, or Armed Forces Operations Staff). Promoted to General der Artillerie (U.S. equiv. lieutenant general) in 1940, he held this position until the German surrender in May 1945.

Despite his position as Adolf Hitler's chief of operations, Jodl had little direct influence on the planning and execution of Germany's military campaigns, a result of Hitler's unwillingness to delegate authority to OKW. He was an admirer of the Führer's successes in 1939 and 1940, but Jodl was not slavish in his devotion to Hitler. After investigating Army Group A's lack of progress during the Caucasus Campaign of 1942, he returned to endorse the commander's actions, thus contradicting Hitler. In the inevitable tirade that followed, he stood his ground against Hitler, reportedly giving as good as he got. Yet, even though he was disillusioned with his commander in chief and with the conduct of the war, Jodl held true to his belief in obedience and duty and remained at his post for the remainder of the war. He was promoted to Generaloberst (U.S. equiv. full general) in January 1944.

Brought before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg after the war, Jodl was tried as a war criminal for crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Found guilty on all counts, he was condemned to death and hanged on 16 October 1946.

David M. Toczek


Further Reading
Görlitz, Walter. "Keitel, Jodl, and Warlimont." In Correlli Barnett, ed., Hitler's Generals, 139–169. New York: William Morrow, 1989.; Warlimont, Walter. Inside Hitler's Headquarters. Trans. R. H. Barry. New York: Praeger, 1964.
 

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