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Heinz Guderian
Guderian
Historical Figure
Nationality: Germany
Date of Birth: 1888
Date of Death: 1954
Cause of Death: Natural causes
Occupation: Soldier, Military writer
Children: Heinz Günther Guderian
Military Branch: Imperial German Army,
Wehrmacht
Turtledove Appearances:
The War That Came Early
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
Appearance(s): Last Orders
Type of Appearance: Direct (via radio)
Southern Victory
POD: September 10, 1862
Appearance(s): Walk in Hell;
The Center Cannot Hold
Type of Appearance: Direct
Heinz Wilhelm Guderian (17 June 1888 – 14 May 1954) was a military theorist and innovative General of the German Army. He served during both World War I and World War II. Germany's panzer forces were raised and fought according to his writings. He never became a field marshal, but he is recognized as one of the most prominent generals of the Second World War, playing critical roles in the invasion of Poland in 1939, and in the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. However, his career stalled in September 1941, after his plans for invading Moscow were interfered with by Adolf Hitler himself. At his own request, Guderian was relieved of his command and sent to the reserve pool.

Germany's defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad briefly convinced Hitler he needed Guderian, and appointed him to the newly created position of "Inspector General of Armoured Troops." However Guderian was involved in disputes with other generals who did not want their power curtailed. He also attempted unsuccessfully to prevent the launch of Operation Citadel, which led to the disastrous Battle of Kursk in 1943.

He and his staff surrendered, and were held until 1948. He was not charged as a war criminal. He spent his remaining years examining battles of the late war with British veterans. He also advised on the reestablishment of West Germany's military forces, the Bundeswehr, in the 1950s.

Heinz Guderian in The War That Came Early

Heinz Guderian was a German general during the Second World War. He was renowned as a panzer commander.[1]

In March 1944, Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States, despite the fact that Germany was already fighting a two-front war. In response, a group of military and political leaders, realizing that Germany was doomed to defeat, formed the Committee for the Salvation of the German Nation, and appointed Guderian as its head. The group then assassinated Hitler in Münster the following month. Guderian took to the radio to address the German people and explain the new situation.[2]

A civil war broke out almost immediately. Several of Hitler's would-be successors were arrested or killed. Ultimately, Guderian and the Committee triumphed.[3] Ironically, while Germany withdrew from the Low Countries, Denmark, Norway, France, and the USSR, Guderian was able to keep many of the territorial gains Hitler had made early on, including Austria, the Sudetenland, and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.[4]

Heinz Guderian in Southern Victory

Heinz Guderian was an officer in the Imperial German Army. During the Great War, he and Austro-Hungarian Major Eduard Dietl served as military observers to the United States for a period in 1916. They observed US Army tactics in the Canadian Rockies, where they met Irving Morrell.[5]

Guderian stayed there after Dietl went home, observing Morrell's push on Banff[6] before heading back to Philadelphia with Morrell, then home. During the trip, Guderian and Morrell made small talk with Lt. Governor Davis Lee Vidals and State Police Chief Luther Bliss, both from the newly readmitted state of Kentucky.[7] Upon their arrival in Philadelphia, Morrell learned he'd been promoted to lieutenant colonel, and Guderian quickly congratulated him with a slap on the back.[8]

Guderian would meet Morrell a second time in the late 1920s when the latter was serving as an occupation officer in Canada. The now lieutenant colonel Guderian hoped to learn from Morrell techniques which the German Army could use in its occupation of restive parts of France, but the advice Morrell could offer was limited.[9]

On the latter trip, Guderian was accompanied by his orderly, Sergeant Adolf Hitler. Guderian was embarrassed by the anti-Semitism that Hitler directed towards Irving Morrell's Jewish aide, Ike Horwitz.[10]

References

  1. Last Orders, pg. 302.
  2. Ibid., pg. 300.
  3. Ibid., pg. 382.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 318-320.
  5. Walk in Hell, pgs. 343-347.
  6. Ibid., pgs. 404-406.
  7. Ibid., pgs. 496-498.
  8. Ibid., pg. 499.
  9. The Center Cannot Hold, pg. 171.
  10. Ibid., pg. 170.
Military offices
(OTL)
Preceded by
Position created
Commander of 2nd Panzer Army
5 October 1941 – 25 December 1941
Succeeded by
Rudolf Schmidt
Preceded by
Kurt Zeitzler
Chief of Staff of the Oberkommando des Heeres
July 1944 – March 1945
Succeeded by
Hans Krebs
Political offices
(The War That Came Early)
Preceded by
Adolf Hitler
as Führer and Chancellor
Head of State of Germany
as Head of the Committee for the Salvation of the German Nation

1944-19??
Succeeded by
Incumbent at series' end

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