Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist

Ewald von Kleist

Kleist in 1940
Born (1881-08-08)8 August 1881
Braunfels an der Lahn, German Empire
Died 13 November 1954(1954-11-13) (aged 73)
Vladimir Central Prison, Soviet Union
Allegiance  German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1900–38; 1939–44
Rank Generalfeldmarschall
Commands held Panzergruppe von Kleist, 1st Panzer Group, Army Group A
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords

Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist (8 August 1881 – 13 November 1954) was a German field marshal in the Wehrmacht during World War II who commanded the 1st Panzer Group during Operation Barbarossa in 1941 and and Army Group A during the Wehrmacht's summer 1942 campaign. Following the war, he was extradited to the Soviet Union and was convicted of war crimes; he died in prison.

World War II

Ewald von Kleist graduated from a military school in 1900. He served in World War I as a regimental commander, remaining in the Reichswehr after the war. During the invasion of Poland, Kleist commanded the XXII Panzer Corps. In the Battle of France he commanded Panzergruppe von Kleist, consisting of XLI Panzer Corps and XIX Panzer Corps (under Heinz Guderian).

In April 1941, Kleist commanded the 1st Panzer Group, comprising III, XIV and XLVIII Panzer Corps and XXIX Infantry Corps, which spearheaded the invasions of Yugoslavia and Greece. With this formation he also participated in the subsequent Operation Barbarossa as part of Army Group South.

In 1942, Kleist was sent to command troops in the Caucasus in order to capture important oil wells in the area. On 22 November 1942, he was placed in command of Army Group A. He was promoted to field marshal in 1943. He was relieved of his command in March 1944. Kleist was taken prisoner by U.S. forces in 1945, and was sent to Yugoslavia to face war crimes charges in 1946. In 1948 he was extradited to the Soviet Union where he was given a 10-year sentence in 1952 for war crimes. He died in the Vladimir Central Prison in 1954, the highest ranked German officer to die in Soviet captivity.[1]




  1. Parrish 1996, pp. 127–128.
  2. 1 2 Thomas 1997, p. 375.
  3. 1 2 3 Scherzer 2007, p. 447.


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