Walther Nehring

Walther Nehring : Nazi Germany

Walther Nehring was born in Stretzin, Germany, on 15th August, 1892. He joined the 152nd Infantry Regiment as an officer cadet in 1911. He served in the German Army throughout the First World War and in 1915 won the Iron Cross.

Nehring remained in the army and by the outbreak of the Second World War had reached the rank of colonel. Nehring served under Heinz Guderian in Poland. Promoted to major general, he was given command of the newly formed 18th Panzer Division in August 1940.

Nehring took part in Operation Barbarossa and in July 1941 won the Knight's Cross while fighting at Borissow. Promoted to lieutenant general, Nehring took over the Deutsches Afrika Korps in May 1942 and participated in the battle of Alam Halfa (31st August - 7th February, 1942).

Nehring was seriously wounded in an air attack on 31st September, 1942. After recovering in Germany Nehring was sent to Tunisia on 16th November, 1942. He quickly organized the German and Italian forces and three days later defeated Allied troops at Medjez-el-Bab and by the end of the month had captured Djedeida.

General Albrecht Kesselring was impressed with Nehring's performance as a military commander but disliked his outspoken comments about the problems facing the German Army in North Africa. Considered an "unhealthy pessimist", Nehring was replaced in December 1942 by General Jurgen von Arnium.

Nehring was now sent to the Soviet Union where he led the 24th Panzer Corps. He was awarded the Swords in January 1945 and on 20th March succeeded General Gotthard Heinrici as commander of the 1st Panzer Army.

Nehring surrendered to the Allies on 9th May 1945. After a brief spell as a prisoner of war he was released and spent his retirement in Duesseldorf.

Primary Sources

(1) Ernst Hanfstaengel first met Anton Drexler in 1922.

Anton Drexler, the original founder of the Party, was there most evenings, but by this time he was only its honorary president and had been pushed more or less to one side. A blacksmith by trade, he had a trade union background and although it was he who had thought up the original idea of appealing to the workers with a patriotic programme, he disapproved strongly of the street fighting and violence which was slowly becoming a factor in the Party's activities and wanted to build up as a working-class movement in an orderly fashion.