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Reichsmarschall

Reichsmarschall
Luftwaffe Reichsmarschall.svg
Shoulder boards
Country Nazi Germany
RankSix-star (unofficial)
NATO rank codeOF-11
Non-NATO rankO-12
Formation12th century (historical)
19 July 1940
Abolished1945
Next higher rankNone
Next lower rankGeneralfeldmarschall
Großadmiral

Reichsmarschall of the Greater German Empire (German: Reichsmarschall des Großdeutschen Reiches) was the highest military rank (comparable to Generalisimo) in the Wehrmacht (Heer, Luftwaffe, and Kriegsmarine) of Nazi Germany during World War II.[1]

History

The original baton of Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring shown in the West Point Museum

Until 1940 the highest rank in the German military was Generalfeldmarschall (General field marshal). At the beginning of World War II, the only active holder of that rank was Hermann Göring, Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe. On 19 July 1940, after winning the Battle of France, Hitler promoted twelve generals to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. During the same ceremony, Göring was promoted to the newly-created rank of Reichsmarschall to placate his thirst for prestige[2][3] and to highlight his position as senior to the other Wehrmacht commanders, without giving him any actual authority over them.

Göring was also designated as Hitler's successor. Nevertheless, on 23 April 1945, when Göring suggested to Hitler that he assume leadership of the crumbling Third Reich, Hitler relieved Göring of his duties and named a new successor in his last will and testament, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz. Dönitz' appointment was made on or before the day of Hitler's suicide (30 April 1945), but notification by Martin Bormann and Joseph Goebbels was delayed until 1 May 1945.[4]

Official standards

The original uniform of Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring shown in the Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr in Berlin

Rank insignia


                     junior rank
 Nazi Germany
(rank Wehrmacht)
Reichsmarschall

senior rank
Führer des Großdeutschen Reiches
und Oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht

Citations

  1. ^ Haskew 2011, p. 46.
  2. ^ Göring also held many other prestigious titles, such as Reich Master Hunter and Commissioner Plenipotentiary of the Four-Year Plan
  3. ^ Haskew 2011, pp. 25, 46, 119.
  4. ^ O'Donnell 1979, p. 217.

General sources

  • Haskew, Michael (2011). The Wehrmacht. Amber Books. ISBN 978-1-907446-95-5.
  • O'Donnell, James P (1979). The History of the Reich Chancellery Group. London, UK: J.M. Dent. OCLC 638799214.

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