17.08.

1971: Death of German Field Marshal Wilhelm List

1971: Death of German Field Marshal Wilhelm List
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ "Bundesarchiv Bild 183-S36487, Wilhelm List" by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S36487 / CC-BY-SA. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Commons.

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 17 August 1971
  • List commanded the 12th Army, which crossed the Ardennes during the German invasion of France. Hitler awarded him the rank of field marshal.

German field marshal Wilhelm List died on this day in 1971.

He was born near the city of Ulm in Württemberg, in the immediate vicinity of the Bavarian border. Wilhelm List became a member of the Bavarian army in his youth (Bavaria was once a kingdom within the German Empire). During World War I he was a staff officer.

In 1930 he was promoted to the rank of general. On the eve of the German invasion of Poland in 1939 he received the high rank of colonel general (Generaloberst). During the invasion of Poland, he was in command of the 14th Army, which attacked the southern parts of Poland.

List commanded the 12th Army, which crossed the Ardennes during the German invasion of France. After the invasion, Hitler awarded 12 general the rank of field marshal, and Wilhelm List was among them.

List also participated in the German invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941 (the so-called April War). During the invasion of the USSR, Field Marshal List was given command over Army Group A, whose task was to attack the Caucasus and take the oilfields near Baku in today’s Azerbaijan.

Hitler removed List from his position at the time of the Stalingrad campaign because he was unsatisfied with his strategy (and that of many other commanders). After this, List spent almost the entire war at home (from 1942 until 1945). However, he was put on trial for war crimes after the war ended. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but released after only a few years, allegedly due to poor health. He lived to be 91, dying on this day in 1971 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

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