Born: 10 May 1990 in Würzburg, Germany.
Died: 16 October 1946 in Nuremberg, Germany.
General der Infanterie
Iron Cross 1914
2nd Class 20 November 1914
1st Class 3 May 1918
Cross of Honor in 1934
2nd Class 30 September 1939
1st Class 23 December 1939
Wound Badge 20 July 1944
Golden Party Badge 30 January 1943
Order of Michael the Brave
3rd Class 23 December 1943
2nd Class 23 December 1943
Order of the Cross of Liberty 1st Class with Swords 25 March 1942
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Knight's Cross on 6 May 1945
Oak Leaves on 10 May 1945
Alfred Josef Ferdinand Jodl was born on 10 May 1990 and became a German military commander, attaining the position of Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, or OKW) during World War II, acting as deputy to Wilhelm Keitel. At Nuremberg he was tried, sentenced to death and hanged as a war criminal.
Alfred Jodl was born out of wedlock as Alfred Josef Ferdinand Baumgärtler in Würzburg, Germany, the son of Officer Alfred Jodl and Therese Baumgärtler, assuming the surname Alfred Jodl upon his parents' marriage in 1899. He was educated at Cadet School in Munich, from which he graduated in 1910. General Ferdinand Alfred Jodl was his younger brother. The philosopher and psychologist Friedrich Alfred Jodl at the University of Vienna was his uncle.
After schooling, Alfred Jodl joined the army as an artillery officer. During World War I he served as a battery officer on the Western Front from 1914 to 1916, twice being wounded. In 1917 Alfred Jodl served briefly on the Eastern Front before returning to the west as a staff officer. After the war Alfred Jodl remained in the armed forces and joined the Versailles-limited Reichswehr.
Alfred Jodl had married Irma Gräfin von Bullion, a woman five years his senior from an aristocratic Swabian family, in September 1913. She died in Königsberg in the spring of 1944 from pneumonia, contracted after major spinal surgery. In November 1944, Alfred Jodl married Luise von Benda, a family friend.
Alfred Jodl's appointment as a major in the operations branch of the Truppenamt in the Army High Command in the last days of the Weimar Republic put him under command of General Ludwig Beck, who recognised Alfred Jodl as a man with a future, although it was only on September 1939 that Alfred Jodl met with Adolf Hitler for the first time. In the build-up to World War II, Alfred Jodl was nominally assigned as a Artilleriekommandeur of the 44th Division from October 1938 to August 1939 during the Anschluss, but from then until the end of the war in May 1945 he was Chef des Wehrmachtsführungsstabes (Chief of Operation Staff OKW). Alfred Jodl acted as a Chief of Staff during the swift occupation of Denmark and Norway. During the campaign, Adolf Hitler interfered only when the German destroyer flotilla was demolished outside Narvik and wanted the German forces there to retreat into Sweden. Alfred Jodl successfully thwarted Adolf Hitler's orders. Alfred Jodl disagreed with Adolf Hitler for the second time during the summer offensive of 1942. Adolf Hitler dispatched Alfred Jodl to the Caucasus to visit Field-Marshal Wilhelm von List to find out why the oil fields had not been captured. Alfred Jodl returned only to corroborate Wilhelm von List's reports that the troops were at their last gasp.
During the Battle of Britain Alfred Jodl was optimistic of Britain's demise and on 30 June 1940 wrote The final German victory over England is now only a question of time.
Alfred Jodl signed the Commando Order of 28 October 1942 (in which Allied Commandos, including uniformed soldiers as well as combatants wearing civilian clothes such as Maquis and Partisans were not to be treated as POWs) and the Commissar Order of 6 June 1941 (in which Soviet Political Commissioners were to be shot).
He was injured during the 20 July plot of 1944 against Adolf Hitler. Because of this, Alfred Jodl was awarded the special wounded badge alongside several other leading Nazi figures. He was also rather vocal about his suspicions that others had not endured wounds as strong as his own, often downplaying the effects of the plot on others.
At the end of World War II in Europe, Alfred Jodl signed the instruments of unconditional surrender on 7 May 1945 in Reims as the representative of Karl Dönitz.
Alfred Jodl was arrested and transferred to Flensburg POW camp and later put before the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials. Alfred Jodl was accused of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression war crimes and crimes against humanity. The principal charges against him related to his signature of the Commando Order and the Commissar Order, both of which ordered that certain prisoners were to be summarily executed. Additional charges at his trial included unlawful deportation and abetting execution. Presented as evidence was his signature on an order that transferred Danish citizens, including Jews and other civilians, to concentration camps. Although he denied his role in the crime, the court sustained his complicity based on the given evidence.
His wife Luise attached herself to her husband's defence team. Subsequently interviewed by Gitta Sereny, researching her biography of Albert Speer, Luise alleged that in many instances the Allied prosecution made charges against Alfred Jodl based on documents that they refused to share with the defence Alfred Jodl nevertheless proved that some of the charges made against him were untrue, such as the charge that he had helped Adolf Hitler gain control of Germany in 1933. Alfred Jodl pleaded not guilty before God, before history and my people. Found guilty on all four charges, he was hanged with Wilhelm Keitel, on 16 October 1946 although he had asked the court to be executed by firing squad.
Alfred Jodl's last words were reportedly Ich grüße Dich, mein ewiges Deutschland - My greetings to you, my eternal Germany. He was declared dead 18 minutes later.
His remains were cremated at Munich, and his ashes raked out and scattered into the Isar River (effectively an attempt to prevent the establishment of a permanent burial site to those nationalist groups who might seek to congregate there an example of this being Benito Mussolini's grave in Predappio, Italy). A cenotaph in the family plot in the Fraueninsel Cemetery, in Chiemsee, Germany is dedicated to him.
On 28 February 1953, the München Hauptspruchkammer (Main denazification court) declared Alfred Jodl not guilty of the main charges brought against him at Nuremberg, citing the French CO-President of the Tribunal, Henri Donnedieu de Vabres, who had in 1946 called the verdict against Alfred Jodl a mistake. His property, which had been confiscated in 1946, was returned to his widow. The declaration was revoked on 3 September 1953 by the Minister of Political Liberation for Bavaria, supported by many western allied generals.
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