“I am not afraid of an army of lion
led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army led by a lion”
Alexander the great
Leadership is the thing which cannot be
seen by every leader. It is the thing which comes from inside. Even thought it
was learned from the academic environments. When consider the past and the
present, there can be found numerous leaders. But do them posses with the
actual leadership qualities. Being a leader is a natural thing which cannot be
gain from studies or the authority which gain from the situation. So few can be
identified as a true leader. They will remember throughout the history as the
great leaders. In Second World War era there was numerous number of great
leaders. From them, General Franz Halder was one of the special leaders, who
command German army in very effective manner.
As a member of a long tradition of service in
the Bavarian army, General Franz Halder was born in 30 June 1884 to General Max
Halder in Wurzburg. He was joined to the service in 1902 as a member of 3rd
Royal Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment in Munich. He left the Academy in 1904
and entered to the regular carder as a Lieutenant. After becoming a
Commissioned Officer, he entered to the Munich Artillery School in 1906 to 1907
and the Bavarian Staff College (War Academy) in 1911 to 1914. After completing
Staff course successfully he became an Ordnance Officer in 1914 and served at
the Headquarters of Bavarian 3rd Army Corps during the World War I
era. Later in 1915, he was promoted to Captain and posted to 2nd and
then 4th Army to perform Duties as a Staff Officer.
With the conclusion of the First World
War, Halder became as a training Officer at Reichswehr War Ministry branch at
Germany in 1919 to 1920. In 1921 to 1923 he was the Tactics Instructor at Wehrkreis
VII (German Replacement Army) at Munich. He was promoted to the rank of Major
in March 1924 and by 1926 he was became as the Director of Operations at the
General Staff of the Wehrkreis VII in Munich. In 1929 he was promoted to the
rank of Lieutenant Colonel and served till 1931. Halder became as the Chief of
Staff at Wehrkreis VII after promoting to the rank of Colonel in 1931. Halder
served as the Commander of the 7th Infantry Division in Munich after
being promoted to the rank of the Major General in 1934. After promoting to the
rank of Lieutenant General in 1936, he was order to carryout mobilizing and
training substance in the German Army to prepare them self to incoming war.
With his superior planning skills,
knowledge he gain from the training institutes and with the experience German
Army appointed him as the Chief of the General Staff of the Army in 01
September 1938. As being the Chief of the General Staff, he was tasked to make
a plan to invade Czechoslovakia. He presented his plan to the Hitler but it was
not implemented due to Hitler’s political decisions. In this time period
General Wilhelm Keitel identified Halder as one of the “honest, loyal, reliable
and obedient” Officers in German Army. However he was failed to identified that
Halder’s loyalty was towards the German not to Hitler. Halder was one of the
Officers in the German Army who was secretly organized to overthrow the Hitler
from power. However, British and French surrendered and give up lands of
Sudetenland to German Hitler’s popularity reached high and Halder and other
Officers who planned to overthrow Hitler get terrified.
During early stages of World War II,
Halder was participated to the strategic planning for all operations including
the Invasion of Poland. He was received the “Knights Cross of the Iron Cross”
for the role of planning and preparing of the Invasion of Poland in 1939.
Halder used his superior expert knowledge on battle analysis for the Invasion.
When German SS troops started to murder and harass Jewish people who lived in
Poland Halder talks against those activities. Although we was known as a
pacifist, he always advised Hitler against the future wars which can be occurred
due to those actions. However Halder being a loyal General of the German Army,
he always fallows Hitler’s orders and instructions. By the time Halder was
promoted to the rank of Colonel General in 19 July 1940 and he was tasked to design
a war plans against France and Balkans as well as other small countries. In the
same year he was participated for war campaign against the Soviet Union and he
understood that campaign against the Soviet Union will not be easy to win. Therefore,
in 1942 he was began to advised Hitler on underestimating Soviet Union’s strength
is not good for win the battle. But
Hitler did not listen to him. Even thought Halder was a good military
strategic, these arguments helps to diminish working relationship with Hitler.
As a result, Hitler forced Halder to resign from his post in 24 September 1942.
After having so much of arguments with Halder, Hitler finally dismissed Halder from
his post with curtly and brutally in 25 September 1942.
Halder was arrested soon after he was
dismissed by his post saying that he was being a part of conspiracy to assassinate
Hitler. However charges were not proven. But he was remained imprisoned since
Hitler distrusts him. First he was imprisoned in Flossenburg and then Dachu and
on 31 January 1945 he was dismissed from the Army by Hitler. Soon after being
freed in 24 April 1945, he was surrendered himself to the American troops on
May in Austria and again become a prisoner. Throughout his service life he
maintained a Diary which included his emotions, experiences, decisions and
other important detail. After being imprisoned to the American troops he was
not treated as a war criminal, such like other German high commands. He helped
American Army to build record on German military history and other doctrine from
1947 to 1961. For the contribution he made to the country, lately he was
awarded with the Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1961.