Keitel, Field Marshal Wilhelm, 1882-1946

Keitel was brought in by HITLER to be head of the unified defense staff to replace the War Ministry and the Army Command, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, in 1938. He was selected for his lack of personality and lack of intellectual ability. He carried out Hitler’s orders without question and was known as Lakaitel (Lakai means lackey). He was involved in most strategic decisions but only to the extent of giving Hitler advice, and then only when it was sought. JODL, his deputy, took on most of the real work of the OKW. Keitel was arrested after the war and although his defense was that he was obeying orders, he was found guilty of war crimes at Nuremberg and hanged.

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