Chief of the General Staff of the German ground forces, Lieutenant-General of infantry Hans Krebs (Hans Krebs, 1898-1945) waits near the headquarters of the Soviet troops in Berlin.
May 1, 1945, Hans Krebs arrived at the location of Soviet troops for the purpose of retracting the Soviet High Command in the negotiation process. After the failure of his mission, the same day, General Hans Krebs shot himself.
Photography Location: Berlin, Germany
Date: May 1, 1945
Author: Eugene Khaldey
Biography of General Wehrmacht Hans Krebs:
Hans Krebs (March 4, 1898, Helmstedt – May 1, 1945, Berlin) is a German general and the last chief of staff of the Wehrmacht’s supreme command of land forces in World War II.
At the beginning of World War I, the 16-year-old Hans Krebs volunteered on the Western Front. After the war, he continued his military career in the Reichswehr.
In 1930, as captain of the Reichswehr, he was transferred to the War Ministry in Berlin. In the 1930s Hans Krebs was for a while an assistant to the German military attaché in the USSR and lived in Moscow. Hans Krebs spoke well in Russian and personally knew many of the highest military commanders of the USSR, including Georgy Zhukov. In 1939, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and soon received the post of chief of staff of the VII army corps. In 1940 he received the rank of colonel, in March 1942 – major general, in April 1943 – lieutenant-general, in August 1944 received his last rank – infantry general. March 29, 1945 Hans Krebs became Heinz Guderian’s successor as chief of the General Staff of the Army.
Knowledge of the Russian language helped him to conduct his last dialogue with the Red Army on May 1, 1945. After the suicide of Adolf Hitler, Hans Krebs, on the instructions of Joseph Goebbels, on May 1, 1945 took part in an attempt to conclude a truce with the Soviet troops that stormed Berlin. Before 4 am Hans Krebs arrived at the location of V. Chuikov. At the conclusion of the truce, he was denied at 10 hours and 15 minutes – the Soviet command insisted on unconditional surrender.
On the same day, around 21:30, after almost everyone left the Fuehrerbunker, Hans Krebs, along with General Wilhelm Burgdorf, shot himself in his bunker room, firing a pistol at his heart.
Hans Krebs Awards:
Iron Cross of the 2nd class (August 22, 1915)
The Iron Cross of the 1st class (February 6, 1917)
Order of the Hohenzollern House Knight’s cross with swords
Cross “For Military Merit” of the 2nd and 1st class (Duchy of Braunschweig)
Cross of Frederick Augustus 1st class (Grand Duchy of Oldenburg)
Breastplate “For Wounds” black (1918)
Buckle to the Iron Cross 2nd class (May 14, 1940)
Buckle to the Iron Cross 1st class (May 18, 1940)
The German cross in gold (January 26, 1942)
Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross (March 26, 1944)
Oak Leaves (No. 749) (February 20, 1945)