Otto von Stülpnagel

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Otto von Stülpnagel
Otto Edwin von Stülpnagel.jpg
Birth date 16 June 1878(1878-06-16)
Place of birth Berlin, Province of Brandenburg, German Empire
Death date 6 February 1948 (aged 69)
Place of death Cherche-Midi Prison, Paris, France
Resting place Champigny-Saint-André German War Cemetery
Allegiance  German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 National Socialist Germany
Service/branch War and service flag of Prussia (1895–1918).png Prussian Army
Iron Cross of the Luftstreitkräfte.png Imperial German Army
Freikorps Flag.jpg Freikorps
War Ensign of the Reichswehr, 1919 - 1935.png Reichswehr
Luftwaffe eagle.jpg Luftwaffe
Balkenkreuz.jpg Heer
Years of service 1898–1942
Rank General of the Infantry
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Iron Cross
House Order of Hohenzollern
Relations ∞ 1929 Ilse Margarete Auguste von Seydlitz-Kurzbach

Otto Edwin von Stülpnagel (16 June 1878 – 6 February 1948) was a German officer of the Prussian Army, the Imperial German Army, the Freikorps, the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht, finally General of the Infantry (General der Infanterie) in WWII. For his bravery in the Great War, he was submitted three time for the Pour le Mérite, but the November revolution prevented the already promised award.

Outraged by Allied propaganda accusations of German atrocities, he published an angry defence of German military conduct in a popular book entitled Die Wahrheit über die deutschen Kriegsverbrechen (The Truth about German War Crimes) in 1921.

On 25 October 1940, German army high command transferred Stülpnagel to France and placed him in charge of military government with the title of Militärbefehlshaber in Frankreich (MBF; "Military Commander in France"). Suspecting the MBF of Francophilia, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, the head of Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW; Armed Forces High Command) was said to have grown tired of von Stülpnagel's complaints about the activities of the SS. On 2 February 1942, he directed the MBF to respond to all acts of 'resistance' with "sharp deterrents, including the execution of a large number of imprisoned Communists, Jews, or people who carried out previous attacks, and the arrest of at least 1,000 Jews or Communists for later evacuation."

Von Stülpnagel, who had been forced by an order from Hitler to execute 95 hostages for terrorist murders on 15 December 1941, refused to go any further in the implementation of the retaliation policy. He promptly submitted a bitter letter of resignation. He was succeeded by his cousin Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel. Out of service, he spent the remainder of the war with his wife in Berlin.

Military career (chronology)

Otto's father was also a Knight of Honour of the Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg). He died on 24 June 1899 of lung paralysis in Bad Nauheim.
Otto von Stülpnagel as a Reichswehr Colonel
The Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Generalfeldmarschall Walter von Brauchitsch, arrived in Paris by air on 21 May 1941. He was welcomed at the airport by the military commander in France, General of the Infantry Otto von Stülpnagel.
Colonel Hans Speidel, General Otto von Stülpnagel and others in Paris
Fernand de Brinon (lawyer and high official of the French State), General von Stülpnagel, General Eugène Bridoux and, on the right, Colonel Speidel at the time of General Charles Huntziger's death. Hôtel de Brienne, Paris, War Cabinet, November 1941
  • Entered the 2nd Guards Regiment on Foot of the Garde-Korps (10 Jan 1897)
    • After secondary school (Obersekunda) at the Royal Wilhelm-Gymnasium in Berlin and attending a military preparatory school.
  • Battalion-Adjutant (I. Bataillon) in the 2nd Foot-Guards-Regiment (01 Oct 1902-15 Jul 1905)
  • Detached to the Prussian War Academy or Kriegsakademie (01 Oct 1905-21 Jul 1908)
  • Detached to the 3rd Ulanen-Regiment (22 Jul 1908-30 Sep 1908)
  • In the Operations-Department of the Prussian Great General Staff or Großer Generalstab (01 Oct 1909-28 Apr 1912)
  • Pilot-Training in Döberitz (03 Jul 1911-06 Sep 1911)
    • Captain von Stülpnagel and 16 other officers took part in the second teaching and experimental course for military aviation (zweiter Lehr- und Versuchskursus für Militärflugwesen).[1]
  • Advisor with the Staff of the General-Inspection of Military Traffic Troops in Berlin (29 Apr 1912-31 Mar 1914)
    • The Inspektion der Verkehrstruppen was initiated on 1 April 1899 and renamed to General-Inspektion des Militär-Verkehrswesens on 7 April 1911.
  • Commander of the 4th Company/2. Lothringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 131 Mörchingen, Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen (01 Apr 1914-01 Aug 1914)
  • In the General-Staff of the VII. Reserve-Corps (01 Aug 1914-19 Nov 1914)
  • Chief Of Operations (Ia) of the 6th Infantry-Division (20 Nov 1914-25 Jun 1916)
  • Chief Of Operations (Ia) in the General-Staff of the IX. Reserve-Corps (26 Jun 1916-24 Dec 1917)
  • Chief Of Operations (Ia) in the General-Staff of the 6th Army (25 Dec 1917-23 Apr 1918)
  • Leader of the General-Staff-Courses in Sedan (24 Apr 1918-02 May 1918)
  • Chief Of Operations (Ia) in the General-Staff of Army-Group Herzog Albrecht von Württemberg (03 May 1918-27 Dec 1918)
  • Placed to the Disposal of the Chief of the General-Staff of the Field-Army – Liaison-Officer of the General-Staff of the Field-Army to the XVII. Army-Corps, Danzig (28 Dec 1918-17 Jan 1919)
  • Chief Of Staff in the General-Staff of the XVIII. Army-Corps (18 Jan 1919-29 Apr 1919)
  • Battalion-Commander in the Volunteer Infantry Regiment No. 128 (Freiwilliges Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 128) of the Freikorps (30 Apr 1919-12 Sep 1919)
  • Detached to the Reichswehr-Command-Office Prussia, Army-Processing-Office Prussia (13 Sep 1919-30 Sep 1919)
  • Detached to the RWM (01 Oct 1919-14 Apr 1921)
  • Leader of the International Law Department with the Army-Peace-Commission (Völkerrechtsabteilung der Friedenskommission), Location Berlin, and Commissioner of the RWM in the ‘Parliamentary Guilt Committees’ (Schuldausschüsse) of the German Reichstag (15 Apr 1921-15 Mar 1925)
    • As such, he subsequently published numerous writings and essays in which he countered the Allied allegations of German war crimes during the World War I. He also took part as a representative in the "Leipzig war crimes trials" held in 1921 to try alleged German war criminals of the First World War before the German Reichsgericht (Supreme Court) in Leipzig, as part of the penalties imposed on the German government under the Treaty of Versailles. Lawyer and historian Alfred de Zayas wrote: "Generally speaking, the German population took exception to these trials, especially because the Allies were not similarly bringing their own soldiers to justice." Massacres of German POWs after they surrendered and were disarmed was common practice among soldiers from every Allied Army on the Western Front.[2]
  • With the Staff of the 14th Infantry-Regiment or 14. (Badisches) Infanterie-Regiment in Konstanz (16 Mar 1925-31 Dec 1925)
  • Department-Leader in the RWM, Temporarily Representative of the Reichs-Army with the Disarmament Conference in Geneva, and and on leave due to serious illness (01 Jan 1926-07 Jan 1927)
  • Detached to the Staff of the 7th Infantry-Regiment or 7. (Preußisches) Infanterie-Regiment (08 Jan 1927-31 Mar 1927)
  • Commander of the 7th Infantry-Regiment (01 Apr 1927-31 Dec 1928)
  • Detached to the Staff of Group-Command 1 (01 Jan 1929-31 May 1929)
  • Inspector of Traffic-Troops, RWM (01 Jun 1929-31 Mar 1931)
  • Retired (31 Mar 1931)
  • Employed by the Luftwaffe (Supplemental-Officer or Ergänzungsoffizier from 01 Oct 1935 and Active-Officer from 01 Oct 1936)
    • Director of the Labour-Staff and Forward-Command of the Forward-Command of the Air-Sciences Institute (Air War School II)
    • Director of 1st Instruction-Course for Tactics-Instructors (01 Jul 1934-31 May 1935)
  • Director of the Air-Sciences Institute (Air War School or Luftkriegsschule II) (01 Jun 1935-31 Jul 1935)
  • Director of the Forward-Command of the Air War Academy, Berlin-Gatow (01 Aug 1935-31 Oct 1935)
  • Commander of the Air War Academy (Luftkriegsakademie), Berlin-Gatow (01 Nov 1935-31 Mar 1939)
    • On 13 and 14 June 1936, Otto von Stülpnagel visited the "pre-war aviation annual meeting in Munich" (Vorkriegsflieger-Jahrestreffen München 1936) and brought greetings from the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Generaloberst Hermann Göring, and in a short speech contrasted the young Air Force's proud feeling that Germany was free again with the commitment to employment and willingness to sacrifice in the spirit of our World War I pilots. Through him, the young air force sends its greetings to the pioneers of the first German aviation. "But we old ones," concluded the General der Flieger, "greet the young air force and its commander-in-chief, who in the three years of construction with fanatical love and tenacious energy created this imperishable work of the new German air force." Reich air sports leader (Reichsluftsportführer) Colonel Alfred Mahncke remembered the achievements of our pre-war pilots and presented the honorary cups (Ehrenbecher) to the pre-war pilots present. He himself was presented the honorary cup by Major a. D. Carl Braun.[3]
  • At the same time, Commander of the Air Technical Academy or Lufttechnische Akademie (01 Feb 1938-31 Mar 1939)
  • Retired with the right to still wear his uniform (31 Mar 1939)
  • Placed to the Disposal of the Army, Führer-Reserve OKH (01 Jun 1939-25 Aug 1939)
  • Commanding General of the Replacement-XVII. Army-Corps and Commander in Military-District XVII (26 Aug 1939-24 Oct 1940)
  • Military-Commander France (25 Oct 1940-14 Feb 1942)
  • Führer-Reserve OKH (15 Feb 1942-31 Aug 1942)[4]


Retired infantry General Otto von Stülpnagel, who was discharged from service on 31 August 1942, aged 64, was arrested by the British occupation authorities in violation of international law after the end of the war on 2 August 1945 and extradited to France at Christmas 1946 (seriously ill after three bladder operations in Lüneburg). At the beginning of February 1948, he is said to have committed suicide in the Cherche-Midi prison in Paris before his trial began. The true circumstances of his death are unknown.


He is buried in the German War Cemetery at Champigny-Saint-André.


Otto was the son of Colonel Otto Gottlob von Stülpnagel (1822–1899) and his wife Ida Wilhelmine Henriette, née Michaelis (1856–1909).[5] His older brother was General der Infanterie Edwin Ottomar von Stülpnagel,[6] two of his many more or less distant cousins were General der Infanterie Joachim Fritz Constantin von Stülpnagel and General der Infanterie Carl-Heinrich Rudolf Wilhelm von Stülpnagel, who would become Military-Commander France after Otto Edwin in February 1942.


On 2 March 1929 in Potsdam, Generalmajor von Stülpnagel married Ilse Margarete Auguste von Seydlitz-Kurzbach, née Sohre (b. 21 May 1891 in Berlin; d. 6 May 1964 ibid), who was almost thirteen years younger, the divorced wife (as of 7 April 1928) of the later Major General Olof Ulrich Lothar von Seydlitz-Kurzbach,[7] who succumbed to his wounds (ᛣ⚔) in Italy on 1 January 1945. Ilse was the daughter of the master builder (Baumeister) Otto Wilhelm Sohre. His wife brought two stepsons, Ulrich (b. 1911) and Friedrich Wilhelm (b. 1914), and a stepdaughter, Erika (b. 1917), into the marriage. His wife divorced him on 8 November 1946, some claim at his request, because he did not want her and the children to suffer from his imprisonment and charges.


  • 10 January 1897 Fahnenjunker (Officer Candidate)
    • another source claims 27 January 1897
  • 18 August 1897 Fähnrich (Officer Cadet)
  • 24 May 1898 Sekondleutnant (2nd Lieutenant)
  • 17 December 1908 Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
  • 23 May 1911 Hauptmann (Captain)
  • 16 May 1916 Major
  • 1 April 1921 Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel)
  • 1 August 1925 Oberst (Colonel)
  • 1 February 1929 Generalmajor
  • 1 April 1931 Generalleutnant with Rank Seniority (RDA) from 1 February 1931
  • 1 October 1935 Charakter (honorary) als General der Flieger
  • 1 October 1936 General der Flieger (active)
  • 1 December 1940 General der Infanterie

Awards and decorations

Von Stülpnagel as military governor of France, during the passage to the occupied British Channel Islands in 1940

Third Reich