Friedrich Paulus

Nazi General

"German field marshal sympathetic to Hitler. Surrendered the entire 6th Army at Stalingrad, one of the decisive battles of World War II." Friedrich Paulus served as a staff officer in World War I and became deputy chief of staff of the Army General Staff (OKH) in 1940 during World War II. Paulus was key contributor to the planning of Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. He became commander of the 6th Army in January 1942 which operated on the Eastern Front in the Caucasus area. After taking part in the successful capture of Kharkov in May, Paulus moved his army towards Stalingrad. In October 1942, he had captured most of the city. However, the next month, Soviet forces started a massive counter-attack and eventually surrounded the 6th Army. In January 1943, Hitler promoted Paulus to Field Marshal hoping that it would spur him to lead a suicidal last stand. After grim fighting for many months, Paulus surrendered his forces on February 2, 1943.

He was held as a prisoner of war by the Soviets until 1953, where he became an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime and a member of the Soviet-backed National Committee for a Free Germany.  Paulus served as a witness for the prosecution at the Nuremberg Trials.  During the trials he was asked about the conditions of German POWs being held at Stalingrad; he replied that they were well.  

He died in Dresden, East Germany in 1957.

Birth Location: 
Guxhagen, Hesse, Germany
Birth Date: 
September 23, 1890
Death Location: 
Dresden, East Germany
Death Date: 
February 1, 1957