Heinz Guderian (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Guderian was the tactical innovator who created the modern armored division, using tanks with motorized support as a battle formation. He led German panzers with great success in the early years of World War II.
Heinz Wilhelm Guderian was born June 17, 1888, at Culm, Germany (now Chełmno, Poland), eldest son of Friedrich Guderian, a Prussian officer and later a general, and Clara Kirchoff. The families were more junker gentry than officer in background. Heinz attended the Karlsruhe Cadet School at Baden from 1901 to 1903, the Cadet School at Gross-Lichterfelde, Berlin, from 1903 to 1907, and the War School at Metz in 1907. He became an ensign in February, 1907, and a second lieutenant in January, 1908, in the Tenth Hanoverian Jäger Battalion, then under his father’s command. Fairly short, broad-faced with a light brown mustache, and stockily built but trim, Guderian was an outdoorsman, though equally fond of dancing parties. He was also studious, serious, and ambitious; his sometimes introspective diary noted: “To run with the mob is nothing to be proud of” and “If only I could find a friend.” This friend was to be Margarete Goerne, whom he married on October 1, 1913; they had two sons.
Guderian’s first year at the Berlin War Academy was interrupted by the outbreak of war in August, 1914, and his immediate assignment—first lieutenant, wireless operations—was on...
(The entire section is 1938 words.)
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Heinz Guderian (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Guderian’s generalship and expertise in tank warfare helped Germany achieve early Blitzkrieg successes against Poland, France, and the Soviet Union.
Heinz Guderian’s first taste of war came during World War I when he served as an officer in the German army. Influenced by such theorists of tank warfare as J. F. C. Fuller and Charles de Gaulle, Guderian spearheaded the creation of independent tank units in Adolf Hitler’s Germany after 1933. The new tank warfare offered Germany the promise of quick victories based on the ability of German tanks to quickly penetrate behind enemy lines in order to encircle the enemy’s main fighting forces.
Hitler favored the innovative approach to tank warfare championed by Guderian and appointed him chief of Germany’s mobile troops in November, 1938. The Blitzkrieg theory of warfare that Guderian helped develop was first put into practice against Poland in 1939. Guderian then participated in the 1940 campaign against France, in which he led a daring tank offensive to the French coast of the English Channel. Guderian won command as full general of the Second Panzer Army in the assault on the Soviet Union that began in 1941. He achieved many initial...
(The entire section is 300 words.)