Wilhelm Keitel

From Kaiserreich


Generalleutnant Keitel

Wilhelm Bodewin Johann Gustav Keitel (born on September, 22 1882 in Helmscherode, Germany) is a German general.


Keitel was born in Helmscherode, Braunschweig, in the German Empire, the son of Carl Keitel, a middle-class landowner, and his wife Apollonia Vissering. After completing his education in Göttingen, he embarked on a military career in 1901, becoming a Fahnenjunker (Cadet Officer), joining the 6th Lower-Saxon Field Artillery Regiment. He married Lisa Fontaine, a wealthy landowner's daughter, in 1909. Together they had six children, one of whom died in infancy. During the Weltkrieg Keitel served on the Western front with the Field Artillery Regiment No. 46. In September 1914, during the fighting in Flanders, he was seriously wounded in his right forearm by a shell fragment.

Keitel recovered, and thereafter was posted to the German General Staff in early 1915. After the Weltkrieg ended, he played a part in organizing frontier guard units in Lithuania and White Ruthenia. Keitel also served as a divisional general staff officer, and later taught at the Hanover Cavalry School for two years.

In late 1924, Keitel was transferred to the State Secretary for War, serving with the Greater General Staff. He was soon promoted to the head of the organizational department. In 1935, based on a recommendation by August von Mackensen, Keitel was promoted to Lieutenant-General and appointed as the departmental head of the armed Forces Office which had the responsibility over all three branches of the armed forces.

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