Heinz Wilhelm Guderian

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Guderian, Heinz Wilhelm


Born June 17, 1888, in Kulm, now Chehnno, Poland; died May 15, 1954, in Schwangau, Bavaria. Colonel general in the fascist German Army (1940) and military theorist.

Guderian graduated from a military school in 1907 and a military academy in 1914. During World War I (1914–18) he was a staff officer. After the war he was in the Reichswehr and from 1922, in the motorized troops. Between 1935 and 1938 he was commander of a panzer division and an army corps. In 1938–39 he was chief of mobile troops. In his books, Achtung! Panzer! (1937) and Die Panzertruppen und ihr Zusammenwirken mit den anderen Waffen (Panzer Troops and Their Coordination With Other Combat Arms, 1937; Russian translation, 1940), he allotted the chief role in the outcome of modern warfare to the massive use of tanks. At the beginning of World War II in 1939–40, he commanded a panzer corps, and in June 1940 became commander of the Second Panzer Group (from October 1941, the Second Panzer Army). In December 1941 he was removed from his post for the defeat near Moscow and was relegated to the reserves. In March 1943 he became inspector general of panzer troops. From July 1944 through March 1945 he was chief of the General Staff of Infantry. He was taken prisoner by the Americans and soon released. In the 1950’s he advocated the restoration of the prewar borders and of the military power of Germany as a bulwark in the struggle against Communism. He is the author of memoirs (Russian translation, Tanki-vpered!, 1957).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.