Erich von Manstein was a German military officer who commanded the Wehrmacht, Nazi Germany's armed forces, in World War II. Born in Berlin, German Empire, he was the biological son of an artillery general. As a small child, he was adopted by General Georg von Manstein. He eventually joined the army and during World War I, he served on the western and Russian fronts. Due to his skills and experience, he rose through the ranks and was promoted to major general in 1936, and to lieutenant general after two years. At the start of World War II, during the invasion of Poland, he was the chief of staff to Gerd von Rundstedt’s Army Group South. His plan was chosen by Hitler for the invasion of France, though later refined by Franz Halder and other members of the OKH. He was also one of the primary commanders at the Battle of Kursk. However, due to his ongoing disagreements with Hitler over the conduct of the war, he was eventually dismissed in March 1944. The next year, in August, he was taken prisoner by the British. During his trial, he faced seventeen charges and was found guilty of nine. He was sentenced to eighteen years in prison. He breathed his last after a stroke in June 1973, at the age of 85.