Robert Ritter von Greim, the last man who received the rank of German field marshal, died on this day in 1945 (Ritter is a noble title, which means knight in German). Greim received this title in 1918, when he was awarded the Bavarian Military Order of Max Joseph (German: Militär-Max-Joseph-Orden). He shot down 28 aircraft in World War II.
Between the two world wars, the Chinese wanted Greim to come to China, and assist them during the establishment of the Chinese Air Force. The family really went there, and Greim opened a flight school in China. However, he had already returned to Germany when Hitler came to power.
Hermann Göring also wanted Greim to help rebuild the strength of the German Air Force (which was completely abolished by the Allies after World War II). Greim became a member of the Luftwaffe, and head of the first official fighter-pilot school.
During World War II, Robert Ritter von Greim was given command of Luftflotte 6, and he even reached the rank of colonel general (Generaloberst). Shortly before the end of the war, Hitler invited him to Berlin (where his bunker was located), and appointed him the Supreme Commander of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe). It was the position previously held by Hermann Göring, but he was suspected of betrayal.
Hitler promoted Greim to the rank of Field Marshal, and he became the last man who received this rank. In post-war Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) there was no rank of field marshal (just like in the reunified Germany). Theoretically, there existed the rank of Marschall der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik in East Germany, but nobody held this rank.