Lothar Rendulic

Infobox Military Person
name=Dr. Lothar Rendulic
lived=birth date|1887|11|23|df=ydeath date and age|1971|1|18|1887|11|23|df=y

caption=Dr.Lothar Rendulic
placeofbirth=Wiener Neustadt, Austria
placeofdeath=Eferding, Austria
allegiance=Austria-Hungary, Austria, Nazi Germany
commands=14. Infanterie-Division, 52. Infanterie-Division, "XXXV Armeekorps", "2. Panzer-Armee", "20. Gebirgs-Armee", "Heeresgruppe Kurland", "Heeresgruppe Süd", "Heeresgruppe Nord", "Heeresgruppe Ostmark"
awards="Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub und Schwerter"

Generaloberst Dr. Lothar Rendulic (November 23, 1887 – January 18, 1971) was an Austro-Hungarian and Austrian Army officer who served as a German general during World War II. He commanded the 14. Infanterie-Division, 52. Infanterie-Division, "XXXV Armeekorps", "2. Panzer-Armee", "20. Gebirgs-Armee", "Heeresgruppe Kurland", "Heeresgruppe Süd", "Heeresgruppe Nord" and the "Heeresgruppe Ostmark". He was also a recipient of the "Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwerter".


Early years

Rendulic was born in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, to a Croatian family (the Croatian spelling of the surname is "Rendulić"). His father Lukas was a colonel in the Austro-Hungarian army. Following his Abitur, Lothar studied law and political science at universities in Vienna and Lausanne; in 1907, he was admitted to the Theresianische Militärakademie (later renamed the "Kriegsschule Wiener Neustadt") in his home town, Wiener Neustadt. In August 1910, Rendulic was commissioned a lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian Army and assigned to the 99. Infanterieregiment Georg I., König der Hellenen, in Vienna. He remained with this regiment during the first year of World War I before being posted to the "31.Infanterie-Division" in 1915 and to "XXI.Korps" in 1918.

Following the war, Rendulic studied law at the University of Vienna and in 1920 was awarded his doctorate in law (a "Dr.Jur." in German). He also joined the newly formed army of the Austrian republic and in 1932 joined the banned Austrian Nazi Party. From 1934, Rendulic served in the diplomatic corps as a military attaché for France and England with an office in Paris. However, his promising military and diplomatic career faltered in 1936, when he was put on the "temporary inactive list" because his early membership in the Nazi Party was considered undesirable for an Austrian officer and diplomat.

World War II

Rendulic was called to the German Army, the Wehrmacht, in 1938, after the annexation of Austria to Germany. By 1940, Rendulic was serving as the acting general officer in command of the 14th Infanterie Division (23.6.40 - 10.10.40). From 1940 to 1942, he was the general commanding the 52nd Division. From 1942 to 1943, he was the general in command of the XXXV Corps. But, by 1943, Lothar Rendulic was being held in reserve.


From 1943 to 1944, Rendulic served as the general commanding the 2nd Panzer Army in Yugoslavia. Early in 1944, German dictator Adolf Hitler ordered Rendulic to devise a plan to capture Yugoslav partisan leader Josip Broz Tito. In the resultant raid on Drvar on May 25, 1944, German paratroopers stormed partisan headquarters in Drvar (western Bosnia) looking for Tito and very nearly captured him.

Finland and Norway

From 1944 to 1945, Rendulic served as the general commanding the 20th Mountain Army. In June 1944, he was named commander of German troops stationed in Finland and Norway. After the start of the Lapland War, Rendulic ordered the Finnish city of Rovaniemi to be burned in revenge against the Finns for having concluded a separate peace with the Soviet Union. He also carried out orders to conduct a scorched-earth campaign when the Germans withdrew from northern Norway, with the result that hardly a building was left standing and the remaining population was left without sufficient food and shelter.

The Eastern Front

In 1945, Rendulic served as the commander-in-chief of Heeresgruppe Kurland (Army Group Courland) on the Eastern Front. By this time, the Army Group was completely cut off in the Courland Pocket. Shortly thereafter, Rendulic served briefly as commander-in-chief of Heeresgruppe Nord (Army Group North, then located in northern Germany), returned to commanding Army Group Courland (fighting in what was left of Latvia), and finally commanded Heeresgruppe Sud (Army Group South, soon re-named Heeresgruppe Ostmark, in Austria and Czechoslovakia).

On May 7, 1945, during the Prague Offensive, Lothar Rendulic, its commander-in-chief, surrendered Army Group Ostmark to the elements of the U.S. Army in Austria.

Imprisonment and death

After his surrender, Lothar Rendulic was interned and tried as a military criminal in the "hostages trial" at Nuremberg, because of his involvement in the Wehrmacht's attacks on civilians in Yugoslavia and because of war crimes committed during the Lapland War. On February 19, 1948, he was found guilty and sentenced to twenty years in prison. This sentence was later reduced to ten years, and on February 1, 1951, Rendulic was released from the military prison in Landsberg am Lech in Bavaria.

After his release, the Generaloberst worked as an author and was involved in local politics in Seewalchen am Attersee, in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. He died at Eferding, Austria, on January 18, 1971.

Personal life

On September 4, 1916 Rendulic married Nella Zöbl.

ummary of his military career

Dates of rank

* k.u.k Leutnant : August 8, 1910
* k.u.k Oberleutnant : April 8, 1914
* k.u.k Hauptmann : May 1, 1917
* Major (Austrian Army) : 1925
* Oberstleutnant (Austrian Army) : 1929
* Oberst (Austrian Army) : 1933
* Oberst (German Army) : April 1, 1938
* Generalmajor : December 1, 1939
* Generalleutnant : December 1, 1942
* General der Infanterie : December 1, 1942
* Generaloberst : April 1, 1944

Notable decorations

* Austrian Wound Medal with One Stripe (?)
* Austrian "Karl-Truppenkreuz" (?)
* Austrian Order of the Iron Crown, 3rd Class with War Decoration and Swords (?)
* Austrian Military Merit Medal on the Ribbon of the Bravery Medal (?) with Swords (?)
* Austrian Military Merit Cross on the Ribbon of the Bravery Medal with Swords (?)
* Knight's Cross (1942)
* Oak Leaves (1943)
* Schwerter (1945)
* Iron Cross Second (1939) and First (1940) Classes
* "Deutsches Kreuz" in Gold (1941)
* Eastern Front Medal (1942)
* Cross of Honor (?)
* Ärmelband "Kurland" (1945)
* Lappland Shield (1945)
* Wound Badge in Black (?)
* "Goldenes Parteiabzeichen" in Gold (1944)
* Mentioned four times in the Wehrmachtbericht


* Berger, Florian, "Mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern. Die höchstdekorierten Soldaten des Zweiten Weltkrieges". Selbstverlag Florian Berger, 2006. ISBN 3-9501307-0-5.
* Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer. "Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945". Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas, 2000. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.

ee also

* Yugoslavian Front (WWII)
* Lapland War
* Courland Pocket
* Prague Offensive

External links

* [http://www.generals.dk/general/Rendulic/Lothar/Germany.html Rendulic biography] – From website Generals.dk
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,932464,00.html "Cool-off in Finland" - Monday, Oct. 23, 1944] – Article from Time Magazine

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