Albert Kesselring (30 November 1885 – 16 July 1960) was a German Generalfeldmarschall of the Luftwaffe during World War II who was subsequently convicted of war crimes. In a military career that spanned both World Wars, Kesselring became one of Nazi Germany's most skilful commanders, and one of the most highly decorated, being one of only 27 soldiers awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.

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  • Albert Kesselring (30 November 1885 – 16 July 1960) was a German Generalfeldmarschall of the Luftwaffe during World War II who was subsequently convicted of war crimes. In a military career that spanned both World Wars, Kesselring became one of Nazi Germany's most skilful commanders, and one of the most highly decorated, being one of only 27 soldiers awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Kesselring joined the Bavarian Army as an officer cadet in 1904 and served in the artillery branch. He completed training as a balloon observer in 1912. During World War I, he served on both the Western and Eastern fronts and was posted to the General Staff, despite not having attended the War Academy. Kesselring remained in the Army after the war but was discharged in 1933 to become head of the Department of Administration at the Reich Commissariat for Aviation, where he was involved in the re-establishment of the German aviation industry and the laying of the foundations for the Luftwaffe, serving as its chief of staff from 1936 to 1938. During World War II he commanded air forces in the invasions of Poland and France, the Battle of Britain and Operation Barbarossa. As Wehrmacht Commander-in-Chief South, he was the overall German commander in the Mediterranean theatre, which included the operations in North Africa. Kesselring conducted a defensive campaign against the Allied forces in Italy until he was injured in an accident in October 1944. In his final campaign of the war, he commanded German forces on the Western Front. He won the respect of his Allied opponents for his military accomplishments, but his record also included massacres committed on his orders in Italy. After the war, Kesselring was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death for ordering the murder of 335 Italian civilians in the Ardeatine massacre, and for inciting and ordering his troops to kill civilians in reprisals against the Italian resistance movement. The sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment. A political and media campaign resulted in his release in 1952, ostensibly on health grounds. He published his memoirs, Soldat bis zum letzten Tag ("A Soldier to the Last Day") in 1953. Kesselring accepted the honorary presidency of three veterans' organisations: the Luftwaffenring, consisting of Luftwaffe veterans; the Verband deutsches Afrikakorps, the veterans' association of the Afrika Korps; and, more controversially, the right-wing Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten. (en)
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  • (1933–1945)
  • (1918–1933)
  • (1904–1918)
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  • Army Group C
  • Luftflotte 1
  • Luftflotte 2
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  • OB West
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  • 1945-01-01 (xsd:date)
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  • 1904-01-01 (xsd:date)
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  • Albert Kesselring (30 November 1885 – 16 July 1960) was a German Generalfeldmarschall of the Luftwaffe during World War II who was subsequently convicted of war crimes. In a military career that spanned both World Wars, Kesselring became one of Nazi Germany's most skilful commanders, and one of the most highly decorated, being one of only 27 soldiers awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. (en)
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  • Albert Kesselring (en)
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  • Albert Kesselring (en)
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  • Smiling Albert (en)
  • Uncle Albert (en)
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