|Name Lothar Rendulic|
Education University of Vienna
|Born 23 October 1887
Wiener Neustadt, Lower Austria, Austria-Hungary now Austria (1887-10-23) |
Allegiance Austria-Hungary (to 1918) First Austrian Republic (to 1938) Nazi Germany
Years of service 1910–38 (Austria) 1938–45 (Germany)
Rank Oberst (Austria) Generaloberst (Germany)
Commands held 14. Infanterie-Division 52. Infanterie-Division XXXV. Armeekorps 2. Panzer-Armee 20. Gebirgs-Armee Heeresgruppe Kurland Heeresgruppe Sud Heeresgruppe Nord Heeresgruppe Ostmark
Battles/wars World War I World War II
Died January 18, 1971, Fraham, Austria
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Service/branch Austro-Hungarian Army, Austrian Armed Forces, German Army
Similar People Ferdinand Schorner, Eduard Dietl, Hjalmar Siilasvuo, Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, Walter Model
Battles and wars World War I, World War II
Lothar Rendulic (23 October 1887 – 17 January 1971) was an army group commander in the Wehrmacht during World War II. Rendulic was one of three Austrians who rose to the rank of Generaloberst (senior general) in the German armed forces.
Rendulic was tried at the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials in 1948. Though acquitted of deliberate scorched earth tactics during the Lapland war, he was convicted of killing hostages in Yugoslavia at the Hostages Trial and imprisoned. After his release in 1951 he took up writing.
Early life and career
Rendulic was born in 1887 in Austria into a military family of Croatian origin (Rendulić). He studied law and political science at universities in Vienna and Lausanne; in 1907, he was admitted to the Theresian Military Academy and commissioned as an officer into the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1910. He served during World War I from 1914 to 1918. Returning to the University of Vienna, Rendulic obtained his doctorate in law in 1920. He joined the newly formed Austrian Armed Forces and in 1932 joined the banned Austrian Nazi Party. From 1934, Rendulic served as a military attaché to France and United Kingdom. In 1936 he was put on the "temporary inactive list" because of his early membership in the Nazi Party.
World War II
Rendulic was called to the German Army, the Wehrmacht, in 1938, after the annexation of Austria to Germany. He commanded the 14th Infantry Division (23 June – 10 October 1940); the 52nd Division (1940–1942); and the XXXV Corps (1942–1943), with which he participated in the Battle of Kursk. From 1943 to 1944, Rendulic commanded the 2nd Panzer Army during World War II in Yugoslavia. Early in 1944, the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler ordered Rendulic to devise a plan to capture Yugoslav partisan leader Josip Broz Tito. In the resultant raid on Drvar on 25 May 1944, German paratroopers stormed partisan headquarters in Drvar (western Bosnia) looking for Tito but ultimately failed to capture him, suffering heavy casualties.
From June 1944, Rendulic commanded the 20th Mountain Army and all German troops stationed in Finland and Norway. Following the war, Rendulic was accused of ordering the destruction of the Finnish town of Rovaniemi in October 1944, allegedly as revenge against the Finns for making a separate peace with the Soviet Union. In 1945, Rendulic served as the commander-in-chief of Army Group Courland cut off in the Courland Pocket on the Eastern Front; Army Group North in Northern Germany; and Army Group Ostmark, in Austria and Czechoslovakia. On 7 May 1945, following the Soviet Prague Offensive, Lothar Rendulic surrendered Army Group Ostmark to the 71st Division of the U.S. Army in Austria.
War crimes trial
After his surrender, Lothar Rendulic was interned and tried in the Hostages Trial at Nuremberg, because of his involvement in the Wehrmacht's reprisals against civilians in Yugoslavia and the scorched earth policy in Lapland. On 19 February 1948 he was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to twenty years in prison, although he was cleared of charges concerning the scorching of Lapland. This sentence was later reduced to ten years, and on 1 February 1951 Rendulic was released from the military prison in Landsberg am Lech in Bavaria.
After his release, he worked as an author and was involved in local politics in Seewalchen am Attersee, in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. He died at Fraham near Eferding, Austria, on 17 January 1971.