(1895 - 1963)
Kurt Zeitzler, the son of a pastor, was born in Cossmar-Luckau, Germany on June 9, 1895.
He joined the German Army and during the First World War commanded an
Zeitzler remained in the army and became one of the
early supporters of Adolf
Hitler and the Nazi
Party. In 1934, he joined the first panzer forces and, by 1938,
had reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.
On the outbreak of the Second World War Zeitzler was
in the 14th Army and served under General Siegmund List during the invasion
of Poland. In 1940,
he was appointed as chief of staff to General Paul
von Kleist and saw action in France in 1940. He held this position
with Kleist in Greece and in the Soviet Union.
In January 1942, Zeitzler became chief of staff to General Gerd von Rundstedt and played an important role in defeating the Allies at Dieppe on August
19. Hitler heard good
reports of Zeitzler and considered appointing him to a senior post at
GHQ. Despite objections from Wilhelm
Keitel and Alfred Jodl,
Hitler decided in September 1942 that Zeitzler should replace General Franz Halder as Chief of
At first Zeitzler went along with Hitler's military
decisions, but the two clashed over his "no withdrawal" policy
in the Soviet Union. Zeitzler attempted to resign after the disaster
at Stalingrad but Hitler
refused to accept it. After further disagreements Zeitzler claimed ill-health
and on July 20, 1944, left office. Hitler was furious and dismissed
him from the German Army. Kurt Zeitzler died on September 25, 1963.