Ferdinand Schoerner, the son of a police official, was born in Munich, Germany, on 12th June, 1892. He joined the German Army during the First World War and was awarded the Por le Mérite for bravery at Caporetto in October 1917.
Schoerner remained in the army and in 1919 was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. A supporter of the Nazi Party, Schoerner was promoted rapidly after the outbreak of the Second World War reaching the rank of Major General in 1941. The following year he commanded a Panzer Army Corps on the Eastern Front.
In February 1944 he was made Commander-in-Chief of the Army Group South in the Ukraine. Later that year he became Chief of the National Socialist Political Guidance Staff of the Armed Forces. His strong faith in fascism impressed Adolf Hitler and in 1945 was promoted to the rank of General Field Marshal.
Schoerner was given the task of stopping the advance of the Red Army on Germany but despite ruthless disciplinary measures where he ordered the shooting of a large number of his own soldiers, his army was defeated.
At the end of the war Schoerner fled to the American zone in Austria but was handed over to the Soviet Union. Schoerner was found guilty of war crimes and was sentenced to ten years in prison.
On his return to Germany in 1955 he was arrested and charged with the murder of German soldiers during the last months of the war on the Eastern Front. He was found guilty of manslaughter by a Munich court in 1957 and sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment. Ferdinand Schoerner died in Munich on 6th July 1973.