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

List, Siegmund Wilhelm Walter (1880–1971)

German army general who led all of Germany's forces in the Balkans before assuming command of Army Group A in the Soviet Union in 1942. Born on 14 May 1880 in Oberkirch, Germany, Siegmund List joined the army in 1898. During World War I, he was a General Staff officer and became an expert on the Balkans. After the war, List served in the Freikorps and afterward joined the Reichswehr; he became a tank specialist in 1923. He was made chief of the Army Organization Department in 1930 and was promoted to Generalmajor (U.S. equiv. brigadier general). In 1932, he became Generalleutnant (U.S. equiv. major general), and in 1934, he took command of the 4th Infantry Division at Dresden. In 1935, he commanded IV Army Corps under Field Marshal Fedor von Bock. Although he was anti-Nazi, List failed to speak out against Adolf Hitler's dishonorable treatment of Generals Werner von Blomberg and Werner von Fritsch. List escaped the generals' purge of 1938 and took command of the 5th Infantry Division in Vienna.

In the September 1939 campaign against Poland, List, now a Generaloberst (U.S. equiv. full general), commanded the Fourteenth Army in General Karl Gerd von Rundstedt's Army Group South and took Kraków. In the 1940 Battle for France, List again served under Rundstedt, commanding Twelfth Army, primarily an infantry force. He impressed his peers by the speed with which he maneuvered his troops and in penetrating the Maginot Line. Hitler promoted him to field marshal in July 1940.

List then returned to the Balkans, concluding a secret agreement with Bulgarian Minister of War General Teodossi Dascaloff to allow German troops safe passage through that country to Greece. List and his forces helped conquer Greece by 23 April 1941, and he then commanded all German forces in the Balkans. Directly subordinate to Hitler, he was responsible for the German-occupied areas of the Balkans as well as liaison with Italian and Bulgarian forces there.

In July 1942, List took command of Army Group A in the Soviet Union, with the task of securing the Black Sea ports of Novorossiysk, Tuapse, Sochi, Sukhumi, and Batum to take the Soviet naval bases and oil fields there. His forces were insufficient for the task and were halted at the Terek River at the end of August. List wanted to fall back and regroup, but Hitler insisted that he continue offensive operations. The Führer demanded that List secure the oil fields of Baku, Tiflis, and Batum, but he was unable to do so. List fell ill and was removed from command on 9 September 1942, and Hitler then took personal command of Army Group A.

In February 1948, List was tried at Nuremberg on war crime charges, found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison. He was released in December 1952. List died in Garmish, Germany, on 17 August 1971.

M. David Yaman


Further Reading
Brett-Smith, Richard. Hitler's Generals. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1977.; Mitcham, Samuel. Hitler's Field Marshals and Their Battles. London: Cooper, 1988.
 

©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