Gerd von Rundstedt

German Field Marshal during World War II (1875-1953)

Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt (December 12, 1875February 24, 1953) was a German field marshal in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. He was dismissed after the German defeat in Normandy in July 1944, but was again recalled as Commander-in-Chief in the West in September, holding this post until his final dismissal by Adolf Hitler in March 1945. Rundstedt was aware of the various plots to depose Hitler, but refused to support them. After the war, he was charged with war crimes, but did not face trial due to his age and poor health. He was released in 1949, and died in 1953.

The vast-ness of Russia devours us.


  • The morale of the troops taking part was astonishingly high at the start of the offensive. They really believed victory was possible - unlike the higher commanders, who knew the facts.
    • Quoted in "World War II: Europe" - Page 44 - by Reg Grant, Various - 2004
  • We are in no position to withstand a prolonged static war. Wherever the allies concentrate their forces they will break through. For us there can be no question of military victory or of winning the war. Our only hope is to hold on long enough to allow some development on the political front to save Germany from complete collapse.
    • Quoted in "Hitler's last gamble: the Battle of the Bulge" - Page 61 - by Jacques Nobécourt - History - 1967
  • It is madness to attempt to hold. In the first place the troops cannot do it and in the second place if they do not retreat they will be destroyed. I repeat that this order be rescinded or that you find someone else.
    • November 30, 1941. Rundstedt sent this wire message that resulted in him being dismissed from office. Quoted in "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany" - Page 861 - by William Lawrence Shirer - Germany - 1990
  • The vastness of Russia devours us.
    • In the summer of 1942. Quoted in "Inside Hitler's Germany: Life Under the Third Reich" - Page 127 - by Matthew Hughes, Chris Mann - History - 2002
  • We should have known better after the first war. The French came close to collapse in 1917; der Englander, even after our 1918 offensive, never.
    • Quoted in "Crossroads of Modern Warfare" - by Drew Middleton - History - 1983
  • Just as the defending force has gathered valuable experience from...Dieppe, so has the assaulting force...He will not do it like this a second time.
    • August 1942. Quoted in "Dieppe 1942: The Jubilee Disaster" - Page 263 - by Ronald Atkin - History - 1980
  • I strongly object to the fact that this stupid operation in the Ardennes is sometimes called the 'Rundstedt Offensive'. This is a complete misnomer. I had nothing to do with it. It came to me as an order complete to the last detail. Hitler had even written on the plan in his own handwriting "not to be altered."
    • Quoted in "Churchill and Hitler: Essays on the Political-Military Direction of Total War" - Page 194 - by David Jablonsky - History - 1994
  • Make peace, you fools!
    • Message given to a staff officer after calling Hitler's headquarters. Quoted in "SS Steel Rain: Waffen-SS Panzer" - by Tim Ripley - History - 2002
  • It is a pity that this faithful youth is sacrificed in a hopeless situation.
    • Quoted in "The Second World War: A Complete History" - Page 585 - by Sir Martin Gilbert - History - 2004
  • Three factors defeated us in the West where I was in command. First, the unheard-of superiority of your air force, which made all movement in daytime impossible. Second, the lack of motor fuel - oil and gas - so that the Panzers and even the Luftwaffe were unable to move. Third, the systematic destruction of all railway communications so that it was impossible to bring one single railroad train across the Rhine.
    • Quoted in "The Battle of the Bulge: Hitler's Final Gamble" - by Patrick Delaforce - History - 2004
  • Nothing would have been changed for the German people, but my name would have gone down in history as that of the greatest traitor.
    • Quoted in "Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal - Page 87 - Nuremberg, Germany - 1947
  • If I had had my way the English would not have got off so lightly at Dunkirk. But my hands were tied by direct orders from Hitler himself. While the English were clambering into the ships off the beaches, I was kept uselessly outside the port unable to move. I recommended to the Supreme Command that my five Panzer divisions be immediately sent into the town and thereby completely destroy the retreating English. But I received definite orders from the Führer that under no circumstances was I to attack, and I was expressly forbidden to send any of my troops closer than ten kilometres from Dunkirk. At this distance I sat outside the town watching the English escape, while my tanks and infantry were prohibited from moving. This incredible blunder was due to Hitler's personal idea of generalship.
    • Quoted in "Hitler's Generals" - Page 191 - by Correlli Barnett - History - 2003
  • Long before winter came the chances had been diminished owing to the repeated delays in the advance that were caused by bad roads, and mud. The 'black earth' of the Ukraine could be turned into mud by ten minutes rain - stopping all movement until it dried. That was a heavy handicap in a race with time. It was, increased by a lack of railways in Russia - for bringing up supplies to our advancing troops. Another adverse factor was the way the Russians received continual reinforcements from their back areas, as they fell back. It seemed to us that as soon as one force was wiped out, the path was blocked by the arrival of a fresh force.
    • Quoted in "The Other Side of the Hill" - Page 184 - by Basil Henry Liddell Hart - 1948

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