Generaloberst Friedrich Fromm
|Born||8 October 1888|
|Died||12 March 1945 (aged 56)|
|Place of birth||Berlin, Germany|
|Place of death||Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany|
German Empire (to 1918)|
Weimar Republic (to 1933)
|Commands held||Chef der Heeresausrüstung und Befehlshaber des Ersatzheeres|
World War I|
World War II
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Friedrich Fromm (8 October 1888 – 12 March 1945) was a German army officer. A recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, he was executed for failing to act against the 20 July plot to assassinate Hitler.
Early life[edit | edit source]
20 July Plot[edit | edit source]
In World War II, Fromm was Commander in Chief of the Reserve Army (Ersatzheer), in charge of training and personnel replacement for the German Army, a position he occupied for most of the war. Though he was aware that some of his subordinates—most notably Claus von Stauffenberg, his Chief of Staff—were planning an assassination attempt against Adolf Hitler, he remained quiet and agreed to have a part in it if he became a top official of the new government after the mutiny. When the attempt to proceed with the mutiny on July 15 failed, Fromm refused to have any further part in their mutiny.
However, on July 20 the news broke out that Hitler had been the victim of an explosion in a Nazi base in Poland near Russia; Wolf's Lair. Fromm quickly realized that it was Stauffenberg and the plotters that did it, and when he tried to arrest them, they overthrew him and locked him in a jail cell in the headquarters.
When the mutiny failed, Fromm was found by Nazis and freed. He immediately had the conspirators executed (against Hitler's orders to take the conspirators alive) to cover up potential allegations that he himself was involved. However, these actions did not save him.
Trial and execution[edit | edit source]
After executing the top plotters, Fromm returned to his office for the night. There he was met by various Nazi officers, Dr. Goebbels among them. Their talk ended with Goebbels saying "You've been in a damned hurry to get witnesses out of your way."
The next morning on July 22, 1944, Fromm was arrested by Nazi officials and locked in jail to await trial. Fromm was discharged from the German Army on 14 September 1944. The civilian Fromm was sentenced to death and considered unworthy for military duty by the Volksgerichtshof on 7 March 1945. Since the court failed to prove a direct association with the 20 July plotters, he had been charged and convicted for cowardice before the enemy. The loss of his worthiness for military service led to a permanent loss of all honors, ranks, and orders. On 12 March 1945, Fromm was executed at the Brandenburg-Görden Prison by firing squad as part of the post-conspiracy purge. His last words before the firing squad were reported to be "I die, because it was ordered. I had always wanted only the best for Germany."
Awards[edit | edit source]
- Iron Cross (1914)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- Wound Badge (1914)
- in Black
- Hanseatic Cross of Hamburg
- Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918
- Anschluss Medal
- Sudetenland Medal with Prague Castle Bar
- Memel Medal
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 6 July 1940 as General der Artillerie and chief of the Heeresrüstung (armament of the army) and commander in chief of the Ersatzheeres (replacement army)
Film portrayals[edit | edit source]
- By Helmut Lohner in the 1990 film The Plot to Kill Hitler.
- By Axel Milberg in the 2004 film Stauffenberg (also known as Operation Valkyrie).
- By Tom Wilkinson in the 2008 film Valkyrie.
References[edit | edit source]
Citations[edit | edit source]
- Clark, Alan (1965). Barbarossa. Cassell & Co. p. 478. ISBN 0304358649.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 131.
- Mueller, Gene: Generaloberst Friedrich Fromm. In: Gerd R. Ueberschär (ed.): Hitlers militärische Elite. Vol. 1, Primus Verlag, Darmstadt 1998, ISBN 3-89678-083-2, p. 76
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 188.
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
- Kroener, Bernhard R. (2005). "Der starke Mann im Heimatkriegsgebiet". Generaloberst Friedrich Fromm. Eine Biographie. Paderborn: Schoeningh, Oler family (Alberta, Canada)
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.