Kleist, Ewald Von

Kleist, Ewald Von

 

Born Aug. 8,1881, in Braunfels am Lahn; died October 1954. Fascist German field marshal (1943).

Kleist began his army service in 1900 and graduated from a military academy in 1913. He fought in World War I and then served in the cavalry arm of the Reichswehr. In 1938 he was dismissed for holding monarchical convictions but in 1939 was reinstated. He commanded a tank corps during fascist Germany’s attack on Poland in 1939 and France in 1940. In November 1940 he became commander of the First Panzer Group (called the First Panzer Army beginning Oct. 6, 1941), which took part in the fascist aggression against Yugoslavia and Greece in 1941 and in the attack on the USSR in 1941–42. Between Nov. 22, 1942, and Mar. 31, 1944, he was commander of Army Group A in the Northern Caucasus and southern Ukraine. In 1944 he was forced into retirement because of his record of defeats and his disagreement with Hitler’s strategy. At the end of the war he was taken prisoner by the British and, in 1946, handed over as a war criminal to Yugoslavia and then to the USSR. Convicted, he died in confinement.

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