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Portrait of Wilhelm Keitel.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 09854

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    Portrait of Wilhelm Keitel.
    Portrait of Wilhelm Keitel.


    Portrait of Wilhelm Keitel.
    Heinrich Hoffmann/Studio of H. Hoffmann
    Circa 1938
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Richard A. Ruppert

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Richard A. Ruppert
    Source Record ID: Collections:

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Wilhelm Keitel (1882-1946) was the Chief of Staff of the High Command of the Armed Forces. After aiding Hitler with his rearmament plans, Keitel was named head of the Wehrmacht office in the Armed Forces Ministry on October 1, 1935. After the fall of Generals von Blomberg and von Fritsch, Hitler assumed command of the armed forces on February 4, 1938, and made Keitel the Chief of Staff of the High Command, or OKW. He became Hitler's closest military adviser, though he lacked command authority and could not directly affect operations. Nevertheless, in 1939 he received the Golden Party Badge, and received a promotion to field marshal after accepting the French surrender in Compiegne in July 1940. Keitel became increasingly submissive, never questioning Hitler's plans, and even keeping silent when he disagreed. For his blind faith, other officers nicknamed him, "Lakeitel," or "lackey." Furthermore, because of his willingness to support Hitler, he lent his signature to orders to kill Polish intelligentsia in 1939, the Commissar Order, the Bullet Decree, and the Night and Fog Decree. Keitel also gave Heinrich Himmler unquestioned authority to carry out the "Final Solution" in the Eastern territories. On May 8, 1945, he signed the unconditional capitulation of German forces in Berlin. He was brought before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg on charges of participating in a conspiracy, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity. Convicted on all charges, he was hanged on October 16, 1946. His request to be shot as a soldier was denied.

    Sources: Encyc. of Thrd Reich (Snyder), pp. 192-193; Who's Who in Nazi Germnay (Wistrich), pp. 168-169; Encyc. of Thrd Reich (Zentner) 1:493
    Record last modified:
    2005-07-13 00:00:00
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