Keitel (1882-1946), Wilhelm

2 March, 2009
Bovy Daniel

With Jodl, Keitel was one of the most experimented military officers and close to Hitler. He was subservient to the Führer, and considered him as Germany’s savior. He shared Hitler’s political and military vision and applied without any question all the directives about the war in the Eastern territories, which he considered to be a destruction war. He was appointed as chief of the operation staff in 1938. Many people saw him as one of the most skillful strategists. Jodl is the father of the famous decree called Nacht und Nebel (“Night and fog”, issued on December 7, 1941). His justifications for the measures taken during the “total war” were as following: “the troop must without any restriction fight against women and children if this is necessary to bring victory. Scruples are a crime against the German people”. He was condemned to death and executed on October 16, 1946.


Görlitz, W., 1961, Generalfeldmarschall Keitel: Verbrecher oder Offizier? Erinnerungen, Briefe, Dokumente des Chefs OKW. Göttingen: Musterschmidt Verlag.

Schmeller, H.J., 1970, Hitler and Keitel: an investigation of the influence of party ideology on the command of the armed forces in Germany between 1938-1945. Fort Hays: Fort Hays State College Press.

Cite this item

Bovy Daniel, Keitel (1882-1946), Wilhelm, Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, [online], published on: 2 March, 2009, accessed 17/02/2020,, ISSN 1961-9898
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