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Günther Korten
Born (1898-07-26)July 26, 1898
Died 22 July 1944(1944-07-22) (aged 45)
Place of birth Cologne
Place of death Wolfsschanze near Rastenburg
Allegiance Germany
Service/branch Luftwaffe
Years of service 1914 - 1944
Rank Colonel General
Commands held Chief of the Luftwaffe General Staff
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Günther Korten (26 July 1898 – 22 July 1944) was a German Colonel General and Chief of the General Staff of the Luftwaffe in World War II. He died from injuries suffered in the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler in July 1944.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Korten was born in Cologne as a son of the architect Hugo Korten (1855–1931) and his wife Marie Korten (1866–1942). At the beginning of World War I he was a cadet in the Prussian army. He served through the war in an engineering battalion. He continued his military career after the war in the Engineers, until he was selected in 1928 to participate in the secret pilot training programme in the Soviet Union. On returning to Weimar Germany he joined the "Bildstelle Berlin".

Second World War[edit | edit source]

When the Third Reich started on its rearmament programme, Korten, by then a captain, formally joined the Luftwaffe in 1934. He received training as a general staff officer and served for several years in the Air Ministry. He was a Colonel and Chief of the General Staff of Luftflotte 4 (4th Air Fleet) stationed in Austria.

At the beginning of 1940, Korten was transferred to the general staff of the Luftflotte 3 (3rd Air Fleet), in which he served during the Battle of France and in the Battle of Britain. On 19 July he was promoted to Major-General. In January 1941 he transferred back to the 4th Air Fleet, in order to participate in the Balkans Campaign and in the assault on the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). In August 1942 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General and took over the command over the I. Fliegerkorps, which fought at the southern sector of the Eastern Front and was temporarily transferred to the "Luftwaffenkommando Don" during the Battle of Stalingrad.

At the beginning of 1943 Korten was promoted to General and in the summer replaced Alfred Keller at Luftflotte 1 (1st Air Fleet). A few weeks later, on 25 August he accepted the position of General Chief of Staff of the Luftwaffe, after the former Chief of Staff Hans Jeschonnek committed suicide.

Death[edit | edit source]

Funeral ceremony at Tannenberg

Korten was mortally wounded in the Wolfsschanze near Rastenburg during the July 20 Plot in 1944, in which Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg attempted to assassinate Hitler with a bomb. Two days after the assassination attempt he succumbed to his injuries in the military hospital attached to the Führer's headquarters. Like the other military victims Rudolf Schmundt and Heinz Brandt he was posthumously promoted, in his case to Colonel-General.

Originally, Korten was buried in the Tannenberg Memorial.[1] When the Russians arrived, his body was exhumed and buried in the Friedhof Bergstraße cemetery in Steglitz, Berlin. The grave is still existing.

Medals and honours[edit | edit source]

Wehrmachtbericht reference[edit | edit source]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
12 August 1943 In der dritten Schlacht südlich des Ladogasees haben die unter Führung des Generalfeldmarschalls Küchler, des Generalobersten Lindemann und des Generals der Infanterie Wöhler stehenden deutschen Truppen, unterstützt von den durch General der Flieger Korten geführten Luftwaffenverbänden, in der Zeit vom 22. Juli bis 6. August den Ansturm der 8. und 67. sowjetischen Armee in heldenmütigen Kämpfen abgeschlagen und damit die Durchbruchsabsichten des Feindes vereitelt.[4] In the third battle south of Lake Ladoga have German troops standing under the command of Field Marshal Küchler, Colonel General Lindemann and General of Infantry Wöhler, supported by Air Force organizations led by the Luftwaffe General Korten, in the period of 22 July to 6 August heroically thwarted the assault of the 8th and 67th Soviet army and prevented the breakthrough intensions of the enemy.

Portrayal in the media[edit | edit source]

In the 2004 German production, Stauffenberg, Korten is portrayed by actor Hans Sternberger.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. German Newsreel No. 726, 1944-08-02 (Video on Youtube)
  2. Scherzer 2007, p. 467.
  3. Patzwall
  4. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 538.
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001) (in German). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2]. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). Die 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 [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • (in German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 2, 1 January 1942 to 31 December 1943]. München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of Luftwaffenkommando Don
August 26, 1942 – February 17, 1943
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Generaloberst Alfred Keller
Commander of Luftflotte 1
June 12, 1943 – August 23, 1943
Succeeded by
General Kurt Pflugbeil
Preceded by
Generaloberst Hans Jeschonnek
Chief of the Luftwaffe General Staff
September 4, 1943 – July 22, 1944
Succeeded by
General der Flieger Werner Kreipe

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