Hans von Kluge

Hans von Kluge was born in Poznan, Germany, on 30th October, 1882. He joined the German Army and served in the field artillery during the First World War.

Kluge remained in the army and by 1933 had reached the rank major general. The following year he was placed in charge of Wehrkreis VI in Westphalia.

In 1938 Kluge objected to the aggressive foreign policy adopted by Adolf Hitler and as a result was dismissed from office. However, on the outbreak of the Second World War Kludge was recalled and placed in charge of the 4th Army that invaded Poland.

In the summer of 1940 Kluge led the 4th Army that invaded France. He was rewarded on 19th July, 1940, when he was promoted to the rank of field marshal.

Kluge also took part in Operation Barbarossa. His 4th Army took Smolensk in July, 1941, before being sent into the Ukraine. Three months later he was ordered to attack Moscow. However, following a counter-attack by the Red Army, the operation came to a halt in December, 1941.

Kluge replaced Fedor von Bock as head of AG Centre at the beginning of 1942. He immediately clashed with Heinz Guderian and with the support of Adolf Hitler removed him as the leader of the Second Panzer Army.

On 27th October, 1943, Kluge was badly injured when his car overturned on the Minsk-Smolensk. He was unable to return to duty until July 1944. Kluge soon discovered that many of the leading generals were arguing for peace negotiations with the Allies. Kluge shared these views but Adolf Hitler was unwilling to accept that he was on the verge of defeat.

Kluge was now approached by Henning von Tresckow to join in the plot to overthrow Hitler. He refused but was kept informed about the conspiracy. After the failed July Plot the Gestapo informed Hitler of their suspicions that Kluge was now unreliable.

On 16th August, 1944, Hitler sent a letter to Kludge in France suggesting that he came back to Germany for a rest. Hans von Kluge refused and on 19th August committed suicide by swallowing cyanide.

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