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Werner von Blomberg was a member of the German Army until 1938.
Werner Eduard Fritz von Blomberg (September 2, 1878 - March 14, 1946) was a leading member of the German Army until January 1938.
Werner von Blomberg had flags as Minister of War and Commander-In-Chief of the German Armed Forces. (see images right).
Born in Stargard, Pomerania, German Empire, Werner von Blomberg joined the army at a young age and attended Germany's Kriegsakademie in 1904.
After graduating in 1907, Blomberg entered the General Staff in 1908. Serving with distinction on the Western Front during World War I, Blomberg was awarded the Pour le Mérite. In 1920, Blomberg was appointed Chief of Staff of the Döberitz Brigade and in 1921 was made Chief of Staff of the Stuttgart Army Area. In 1925, Blomberg was made Chief of Army Training by General Hans von Seeckt. By 1927 Blomberg was a major-general and Chief of the Troop Office. After arguing with the powerful General Kurt von Schleicher in 1929, however, Blomberg was removed from his post and made military commander of East Prussia.
In 1933, Blomberg rose to national prominence when he was appointed Minister of Defense in Adolf Hitler's government. Blomberg became one of Hitler's most devoted followers, and as such was nicknamed "Rubber Lion" by some of his critics in the army who were less than enthusiastic about Hitler. As Minister of Defense, Blomberg worked feverishly to expand the size and power of the army. In 1933 Blomberg was made a colonel-general for his services. In 1934, Blomberg encouraged Hitler to crack down on SA leader Ernst Röhm and his followers, whom he believed posed a serious threat to the army. As such, he condoned and participated in the Night of the Long Knives.
In the same year, after Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg had died, he personally ordered all soldiers in the army to pledge the Reichswehreid oath of allegiance not to Volk and Fatherland, but to the new Reichspräsident and Führer Adolf Hitler, which proved to be a fateful decision as it limited opposition to Hitler (July 20 Plot etc.).
In 1935 the Ministry of Defense was renamed to Ministry of War; Blomberg became Minister of War and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. In 1936, the loyal Blomberg was the first General Field Marshall appointed by Hitler.
Unfortunately for Blomberg, his position as the most influential man in the army alienated Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler, who conspired to oust Blomberg from power. After the Hossbach Memorandum meeting of November 1937, Hitler was dissatisfied with him. They struck in January 1938, when Blomberg, then 60, married Erna Gruhn (sometimes referred to as "Eva" or "Margarete"), a 26-year-old typist. A police officer discovered that Gruhn had been a prostitute with a criminal record and reported this to the Gestapo and Göring (who, ironically, had served as a best man to Blomberg at the wedding). Göring then informed Hitler (who also had been a best man at the wedding) of the matter, and Hitler ordered Blomberg to annul the marriage in order to avoid a scandal and to preserve the integrity of the army. Blomberg refused to annul the marriage, and consequently resigned all of his posts on 27 January 1938 when Göring threatened to make his wife's past public knowledge.
A few days later, Göring and Himmler accused Commander-in-Chief Werner von Fritsch of being a homosexual. Hitler used these opportunities for major reorganisation of the Wehrmacht. Fritsch was later acquitted, the events became known as Blomberg-Fritsch Affair.
Blomberg and his wife were subsequently exiled for a year to the isle of Capri. Spending World War II in obscurity, Blomberg was captured by the Allies in 1945, after which time he gave evidence at the Nuremberg Trials. Blomberg died while in detention at Nuremberg in 1946.
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