Birthday: May 10, 1890
Died At Age: 56
Sun Sign: Taurus
Also Known As: Alfred Josef Ferdinand Jodl
Born Country: Germany
Born in: Würzburg, Germany
Notorious As: Chief of the Operations Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command (1939-1945)
Spouse/Ex-: Irma Gräfin von Bullion, Luise von Benda
father: Alfred Jodl
mother: Therese Baumgärtler
siblings: Ferdinand Jodl
Died on: October 16, 1946
place of death: Nuremberg, Germany
Who was Alfred Jodl?
Alfred Jodl was a top German military commander during the World War II and one of the leading spearheads of the Nazi movement. He was a war criminal, who was convicted and sentenced to death for conspiring, with Hitler, to start a war which took millions of lives. It was alleged that his actions resulted in death of millions of innocent jews. After the German forces lost to the Allied forces in the World War II, he was arrested along with his other colleagues. He was held responsible for murdering innocent people, when he issued an order of Hitler's that German military units in Russia could act with heedless brutality. He was convicted of making a plan of action regarding the destruction of the United States and Britain and also for many other accusations which were supported by documented evidence. He pleaded ‘not guilty’ and claimed to have known nothing of the death camps at which nearly six million European Jews met their death but the court sentenced him to death for his brutality and he was hanged.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born on May 10, 1890 in Wurzburg, Germany to Alfred Jodl, an Officer, and Therese Baumgartler before their marriage. His parents married after 9 years of his birth, in 1899.
He had a younger brother, Ferdinand Jodl, also born out of wedlock, in 1896. His uncle, Friedrich Jodl, was a philosopher and psychologist at the University of Vienna.
He received his education from the Cadet School in Munich and graduated in 1910. After school graduation, he joined the field military regiment in the German army as an artillery officer.
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He served as a battery officer during the World War I from 1914–1916 on the Western Front. He suffered a severe thigh wound and also fought on the Eastern Front, in 1917, for a short time. Later, he returned to Western Front as a staff officer.
Germany faced defeat and the ‘Treaty of Versailles’ was imposed upon it. The treaty dictated that German’s armed forces would be limited to 100,000 men and prohibited their use of any heavy artillery, tanks, submarines and air missiles. He remained in the services of the military and joined a newly formed military organization, Reichswehr.
He served in the newly created Weimar Republic in Germany’s Ministry of War and the intelligence service during the 1920s and was appointed as the major in the operations branch of the Truppenamt in the Army High Command during the last days of Weimar Republic. He was advanced to the rank of colonel and to the post of the head of the National Defense Section in the High Command of the Armed Forces in 1936.
Meanwhile, Germany’s degrading economy gave rise to a new fascist political movement, National Socialism, led by another World War I veteran, Adolf Hitler. Hitler became the German chancellor and took some extreme measures that restricted the civil rights of German Jews. He also violated the Treaty of Versailles by acquiring arms and ammunitions.
From 1938 to 1939, Jodl served as the Artillery Commander of the 44th Division and was posted in Austria and Czechoslovakia. He met Hitler in September 1939 and was appointed as the ‘Chief of Operation Staff’ of the newly formed OKW, a part of the command structure of the armed forces of Nazi Germany.
In 1939, Germany launched an attack on Poland which eventually led to World War II. German troops also launched air attacks on Britain and successfully invaded France, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Yugoslavia, and Greece. He became the communicating medium between the armed forces and the Nazi Cabinet under Hitler’s supervision.
Subsequently, Germany attacked Russia but was unable to win the battle, as the Soviet Union was a fierce rival. Furthermore, Hitler was having problems with his top advisors who launched an assassination attempt on his life in July 1944 in which Jodl was also wounded. The war ended when the Allied forces led by America, Russia, Britain and France defeated the German forces, which also led Hitler to commit suicide.
Soon after the surrender of Germans to the Allied forces, Jodl was accused of war crimes and although he pleaded himself as innocent, he was convicted of many accusations and was sentenced to death at the Nuremberg Trials.
Awards & Achievements
In 1934, he received a First World War Service Medal titled ‘Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918’.
He was also the recipient of ‘Anschluss Medal’ and the ‘Sudetenland Medal’, both of them being a decoration of Nazi Germany awarded in the interwar period.
On March 25, 1942, he was honored with the ‘Order of the Cross of Liberty 1st Class with Swords’, one of the three official orders of Finland.
He was also honored with Romania’s highest military decoration, ‘Order of Michael the Brave’, both 2nd Class and 3rd Class, on December 23, 1943.
Personal Life & Legacy
In September 1913, he married Irma Gr�fin von Bullion, a lady five years his senior, from an aristocratic Swabian family. She died after contracting pneumonia in 1944, in Konigsberg.
He married Luise Von Benda, a family friend, in November 1944.
He was found guilty of war crimes and was hanged on October 16, 1946. His remains were cremated at Munich and his ashes were scattered into the Isar River.