Paulus, Field Marshal Friedrich, 1890-1957

Paulus was a bright young staff officer who served as Chief of Staff of the Sixth Army in its campaigns in Poland, Belgium and France. He was picked out and made Deputy Chief of General Staff to HALDER with the brief to examine the possibilities of an attack on the USSR, and was responsible for the detailed planning of Operation Barbarossa. In January 1942 he was made Commander of the Sixth Army and led it on the advance to Stalingrad. He planned to surround the city and encircle the Soviet troops within it. Although he succeeded in encircling the troops in November 1942 he was running short of supplies and his men were exhausted but HITLER insisted that he continue to fight and promised that GOERING’S Luftwaffe would keep him adequately supplied. These promises were never kept and the Soviet troops under CHUIKOV fought street by street, giving Paulus’ no respite. In December MANSTEIN launched an offensive to try to relieve Paulus’ Army but Paulus refused to break out because Hitler had given him orders not to withdraw. In recognition of his bravery Hitler made him a Field Marshal on 30 January but on the next day he surrendered, much to Hitler’s anger. He was kept in captivity for the remainder of the war. In mid-1944 he began giving broadcasts urging German soldiers to give up and his name became synonymous with traitor. He decided to settle in the Soviet zone of Germany after the war and appeared as a key witness for the Soviet prosecution at the Nuremberg trials.

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