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Wilhelm Keitel (1882 – 1946)


German field marshal and a senior military leader during World War II He assumed the position of Chief of the OKW.
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Wilhelm Keitel
If you want my own plain opinion about Keitel's orders, I will tell you. They were the orders of a stupid follower of Hitler. I myself paid very little attention to them and I think any attempt to justify his orders would be a mistake on the part of those of us who are steeped in military tradition and good conduct. I trust you will not quote me on these observations. I knew Keitel fairly well and I think that he is a decent person. It was simply that Hitler wanted a weak general in that powerful position in order to be able to have complete control of him. If I had held Keitel's position under Hitler, I wouldn't have lasted two weeks.
Keitel quotes
The Führer has ordered that the enemy employs in partisan warfare Communist-trained fanatics who do not hesitate to commit any atrocity. It is more than ever a question of life and death. This fight has nothing to do with soldierly gallantry or principles of the Geneva Convention. If the fight against the partisans in the East, as well as in the Balkans, is not waged with the most brutal means, we will shortly reach the point where the available forces are insufficient to control the area. It is therefore not only justified, but it is the duty of the troops to use all means without restriction, even against women and children, so long as it ensures success. Any consideration for the partisans is a crime against the German people.
Keitel
Hitler gave us orders - and we believed in him. Then he commits suicide and leaves us to bear the guilt. He should have remained alive to bear his share.




Keitel Wilhelm quotes
It is tragic to have to realize that the best I had to give as a soldier, obedience, and loyalty, was exploited for purposes which could not be recognized at the time, and that I did not see that there is a limit set even for a soldier's performance to his duty. That is my fate.
Keitel Wilhelm
Death by hanging. That, at least, I thought I would be spared.
Wilhelm Keitel quotes
I call on God Almighty to have mercy on the German people. More than two million German soldiers went to their death for the fatherland before me. I follow now my sons - all for Germany.
Wilhelm Keitel
Keitel, the weak and willing tool, delivered the armed forces, the instrument of aggression, over to the party and directed them in executing its felonious designs.
Keitel Wilhelm quotes
I believe German soldiers are good and decent, and if they did anything wrong it was because of military necessity.
Keitel
I am a soldier and I worked for the kaiser, under Ebert, Hindenburg, and Hitler, all the same way, for the past 44 years.
Keitel Wilhelm
Why did the generals who have been so ready to term me a complaisant and incompetent yes-man fail to secure my removal? Was that all that difficult? No, that wasn't it; the truth was that nobody would have been ready to replace me, because each one knew that he would end up just as much a wreck as I.
Wilhelm Keitel
A field marshal who issued orders to the armed forces but had no idea of the results they would have in practice.




Wilhelm Keitel quotes
It isn't right to be obedient only when things go well; it is much harder to be a good, obedient soldier when things go badly and times are hard. Obedience and faith at such time is a virtue.
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