|Born||10 May 1890|
|Died||16 Oct 1946|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseAlfred Josef Ferdinand Baumgärtler was born in Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany. His parents, army officer Alfred Jodl and Therese Baumgärtler, were not married until 1899, hence Jodl did not assume the name Alfred Jodl until that year. he was educated at the Cadet School in Munich, Germany, graduating in 1910, then joined the army as an artillery officer. In Sep 1913, he married Irma Gräfin von Bullion; they had no children. During WW1, he commanded an artillery battery on the Western Front between 1914 and 1916 where he wounded twice (once severely to his thigh), on the Eastern Front briefly in 1917, and then back on the Western Front as a staff officer at the end of the war. After WW1, he considered leaving the military and becoming a doctor, but he ultimately chose to remain in the German Army.
ww2dbaseIn 1923, Jodl met Adolf Hitler. Through the 1920s, they worked together to gain influence for the Nazi Party. By 1935, at the rank of major general, he was named the Chief of the National Defense Section in the High Command of the Army (Abteilung Landesverteidigung im Oberkommando des Heeres, OKH). On 11 Mar 1938, he signed the order given by Hitler to invade Austria, then later that year commanded troops in Czechoslovakia during the annexation of that country. Between Oct 1938 and Aug 1939, he was a senior artillery officer with the 44th Division in Vienna, Austria. In Sep 1939, he led troops during the invasion of Poland. Between Oct 1939 and the end of the war, he was the Chief of Operations with the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW), making him a key deputy to Wilhelm Keitel. In this role, he was among Hitler's top military advisors, personally involved in the planning of the invasions of Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Greece. He was promoted to the rank of colonel general in Jan 1944. On 20 Jul 1944, during the July Plot on Hitler's life, Jodl was present in the meeting room with Hitler where a bomb planted by Claus von Stauffenberg.
ww2dbaseJodl's wife Irma died on 18 Apr 1944. He married his former secretary and mistress Luise Katharina von Benda on 7 Apr 1945.
ww2dbaseAt the end of the war, Colonel General Jodl signed the instruments of unconditional surrender on 7 May 1945 in Reims, France. Upon signing, he was arrested and transferred to the prisoner of war camp at Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. At the Nuremberg Trials, he was accused of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace, waging wars of aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity; some of this charges were brought upon him after his signing of the Commando Order and the Commissar Order which executed certain prisoners of war, and the order to deport Danish citizens to concentration camps. He pleaded not guilty, swearing "before God, before history and my people". He was found guilty on all four charges and was sentenced to death. He requested to be executed by firing squad, but he was ultimately hanged. His last words were reportedly "[m]y greetings to you, my Germany". His remains were cremated at Munich, and the ashes were scattered into the Conwentzbach River. A cenotaph served as a memorial to him at the family plot in the Fraueninsel Cemetery, Chiemsee, Germany.
ww2dbaseOn 28 Feb 1953, a Munich court found Jodl not guilty and posthumously cleared him of all four charges. His property, seized by the Allied powers upon his arrest, were given to his widow.
ww2dbaseSources: Spartacus Educational, Wikipedia.
Last Major Revision: Aug 2007
Alfred Jodl Timeline
|10 May 1890||Alfred Jodl was born.|
|8 Sep 1938||Alfred Jodl's diary entry on this date noted his worries about the weak defenses on Germany's western border with France.|
|30 Jun 1940||Alfred Jodl noted in his diary that the United Kingdom was certain to fall in time, regardless of the fact whether an actual invasion was necessary.|
|16 Oct 1946||Alfred Jodl passed away.|
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939