Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist

Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist (August 8, 1881 in Braunfels an der Lahn, † 13 or November 16, 1954 in the POW Vladimirovka) was a German army officer n (since 1943 Field Marshal) and during the Second World War commander of various Army and Army Group.


Empire and the First World War

Kleist Ewald von Kleist was a member of the noble family, his father was the Secret teacher Christof Hugo von Kleist. Ewald von Kleist met on 9 March 1900 as a cadet in the Field Artillery Regiment “General Feldzeugmeister” No. 3, where at 18 he August 1901 was promoted to lieutenant. On 22 March 1914 he was assigned as Captain to the body of Hussars No. 1.

After the beginning of World War Ewald von Kleist took part in the battle of Tannenberg. From 1915 to 1918 he was employed as staff and troop officer on the western front.

Weimar Republic

Kleist entered 1919 in a Freikorps. In the Baltics, he led the attack group of the Iron Division during the Battle of Cesis. In 1920 he was transferred to the Army. From 1924 he worked as a tactics instructor at the Cavalry School in Hanover before 1928 as Chief of Staff of the 2nd Cavalry Division was moved to Wroclaw. He had the same position then from 1929 to 1931 at the 3rd Division held in Berlin. Kleist, who had been promoted to colonel in 1931 commander of the 9th (Prussian) Infantry Regiment s in Potsdam and at the beginning of 1932, commander of the 2nd Cavalry Division. In October 1932, was in this position was promoted to Major General.

Period of National Socialism


After the first December 1933 had been promoted to lieutenant general in October 1934 Kleist was commander of the “Army service Wroclaw”, from which the subsequent VIII Army Corps emerged. Since the unmasking of Associations 1935, he held the title of the commander of the newly formed Military District VIII and Commanding General of the Eighth Army Corps. On 1 August 1936 he was promoted to General of Cavalry as such. In February 1938, adopted by Kleist in connection with the transactions during the Blomberg-Fritsch crisis from the service, which he permitted to wear the uniform of the 8th Cavalry Regiment received. To secure his retirement, he then purchased a farm near Breslau.

World War II

At the beginning of World War II Kleist was reactivated and took over as commander of the XXII motorized corps part in the attack on Poland. There, his corps breakthrough through the south wing of the Polish Army. In May 1940, formed the “Panzer Group Kleist,” which only included five armored division s, the tip of the western campaign there. Kleist was born on 19 July 1940 promoted to Colonel and was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. In April 1941, he took part of Panzer Group 1 as the 12th Part of the army under the leadership of Field Marshal Wilhelm List in the Balkans campaign. In June of the same year he led the Russian campaign, the Panzer Group 1, which was responsible for the breakthrough of the “Stalin Line” responsible. Panzer Group 1 captured in the battles of encirclement of Uman and Kiev together with the Panzer Group 2 of General Heinz Guderian over 800 Soviet tanks and took approximately 650,000 prisoners of war. In recognition of its contributions Guderian’s Panzer Group Kleist and early October 1941, converted into tank armies, which meant an equality of their commander with other army commanders. On 18 February 1942 Kleist was also awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross. In the summer of 1942, he led the insinuation by the 17th Army formed “Army Group Kleist” until later in the fall Blue Field Marshal Wilhelm List took over the command of the educated for the operations in the Caucasus Army Group A. In the same year he received property worth 567,000 Reichsmark as endowment.

Kleist was born on 22 November 1942 new commander of Army Group A, which had led to the dismissal of temporary personal selection Hitler in September and on 1 February 1943 promoted to Field Marshal. After repeated disagreements with Hitler about the war in the East Kleist was released in March 1944 and replaced by that of Ferdinand Schörner. Due to the 20 July 1944 he was arrested by the Gestapo, but unlike its relative Ewald von Kleist Schmenzin, who had already been involved in the conspiracy of September and had maintained close contacts with Goerdeler-circuit, later released.


Kleist was arrested by the Americans in 1945 in Bavaria and extradited to Yugoslavia, where he was convicted in 1946 of war crimes in Yugoslavia to 15 years in prison. In 1948, he was extradited to the Soviet Union and sentenced there again for war crimes to life imprisonment. On 13 or 16 November 1954 he died in the prison camp Vladimirovka, were among the prisoners, among other Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, the last Berlin Wehrmacht city commandant general of artillery Helmut Weidling, the last commander of the army Ferdinand Schörner and the chief of Hitler’s bodyguard SS-group leader Johann Rattenhuber.


•Iron Cross (1914) Class II and I.

•Bavarian Military Merit

•Hanseatic Cross of Hamburg

•Austrian Military Merit Cross III. Class

•Wehrmacht Long Service Award IV to First Class

•Clasp to the Iron Cross II and First Class

•Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

◦Knight’s Cross on 15 May 1940

◦Oak Leaves on 17 February 1942 (72 awards)

◦Swords on 30 March 1944 (60 awards)

•Medal winter battle in the East 1941/42,

•Grand Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit with Swords

•Military Order of Michael the Brave II and First Class

•Military Order of Savoy Commander’s Cross

•Mention in the Wehrmacht report on 10 April 1941, 13 April 1941, 26 August 1941, 27 August 1941, 11 October 1941, 12 October 1941, 22 November 1941, 30 May 1942, 19 August 1943 and on 9 October 1943


•Gold son Leon: The Nuremberg Interviews. Interviews with defendants and witnesses. (Original: The Nuremberg Interviews. New York, 2004). Edited and introduced by Robert Gellately. Dusseldorf, Zurich, 2005.

Notes on conversations the author (American prison psychiatrist) with Ewald von Kleist in Nuremberg (as a witness at the Nuremberg Trials) 12 June and 25 June 1946, pp. 363-386.

•Friedrich Christian Stahl: Field Marshal Ewald von Kleist. Ueberschär Gerd R. (ed.): Hitler’s military elite.From the beginning of the war until the end of World War II. Volume 2 Primus, Darmstadt 1998, ISBN 3-89678-089-1, pp. 100-106.

•John Hurter: Hitler’s generals.The German commander in the war against the Soviet Union in 1941 / 42nd R. Oldenbourg, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-486-57982-6, pp. 636f. (Short biography)

Person (St. John)

Freikorps member

Military person (Wehrmacht Heer)

Winner of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross

Holder of the Bavarian Military Merit

Kleist (noble)



Born 1881

Died in 1954


Carriers of the Hanseatic Cross (Hamburg)

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