Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Marschall, Wilhelm (1886–1976)

German admiral who assumed command of Navy Group West in 1942. Born in Augsburg, Germany, on 30 September 1886, Wilhelm Marschall was a submarine commander during World War I. Between 1937 and 1938, he commanded German naval forces off Spain during the Spanish Civil War. He then was chief of the navy's operations staff just before the start of World War II, with responsibility for wartime planning.

Appointed fleet commander in October 1939, Vice Admiral Marschall sortied with the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau that November. He was relieved from his post by the commander of the navy, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, for not strictly following the operational plan in the German campaign against Norway from April to June 1940. Marschall held that a commander at sea had to have freedom of action.

Given charge of Navy Group West in the summer of 1942, which he considered vindication of his earlier ideas, Marschall was promoted to full admiral in February 1943. Raeder's successor, Admiral Karl Dönitz, preferred others in command positions, and Marschall then held posts ashore. He died in Munich on 20 March 1976.

Spencer C. Tucker


Further Reading
Bekker, Cajus. Hitler's Naval War. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974.; Humble, Richard. Hitler's High Seas Fleet. New York: Ballantine Books, 1971.; Von der Porten, Edward P. The German Navy in World War II. New York: Crowell, 1969.
 

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