Friedrich von Boetticher (General)

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Friedrich von Boetticher (born October 14, 1881 in Berthelsdorf , † September 28, 1967 in Bielefeld - Schildesche ) was a German artillery general , military attaché and military writer.


Friedrich von Boetticher was born as the eldest son of the doctor and genealogist Walter von Boetticher (1853–1945) and Isabella, née Wippermann (1859–1943), and attended grammar school in Bautzen from 1891 to 1900 .

In the year of his high school graduation, he joined the 2nd Field Artillery Regiment No. 28 of the Saxon Army as a flag boy . After attending military school in 1901, he became a lieutenant and served as regimental adjutant of the 5th Field Artillery Regiment No. 64 in 1905/10 . In 1907 he married Olga Freiin von Wirsing (1882–1953), with whom he had three children. After attending the War Academy in Berlin from 1910 to 1913, he was transferred to the General Staff as a captain in 1914 and employed in the railway department.

During the First World War , it was first used by the Supreme Army Command , then on the Russian and French fronts . From autumn 1915 to spring 1918 he was an authorized general staff officer in Bulgaria , and then experienced the end of the war as a major and first general staff officer in the 241st Division (11th Royal Saxon) .

After the end of the war he was employed in the Disarmament Commission and when he was accepted into the Reichsheer he started his service in the Reichswehr Ministry in Berlin. Already in a memorandum published in March 1919 he pointed out that the USA “according to human judgment belongs to the future on earth” and that Germany can only “set new goals” in alliance with the United States . In 1920 he was appointed by the chief of the army command, Hans von Seeckt, as his confidante to head of department T 3 / foreign armies in the Reichswehr Ministry, which had existed as a foreign armies department in the supreme army command since 1917 . As military advisor to President Friedrich Ebert , he took part in the Spa Conference in 1920 and in the London Conference in 1921. The good contacts he made there with the American representatives led him to his first troop visits to the United States in autumn 1922. In 1924/26 he was a lieutenant colonel in command of the III. Department of the 4th Artillery Regiment in Dresden. As head of the League of Nations department (Heer Group - VH), he represented the Weimar Republic as military plenipotentiary in the negotiations in the League of Nations in Geneva in 1926/27 as well as - after being promoted to colonel - in 1928/29 in the disarmament negotiations there. In 1929 he became commander of the artillery school in Jüterbog and as such was promoted to major general in 1931 .

His first activities as a military writer also took place in the 1920s. Friedrich von Boetticher published the article “The Asian Problem” in the magazine “Die Grenzboten” in 1920. Two years later his book “The Struggle for the Rhine and World Domination” was published and from 1925 he began to work on military-historical topics. In 1925 his work “Frederick the Great as a teacher of wisdom and leadership” came out and in 1933, as part of a larger publication on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Prussian-German General Staff, his article “Graf Schlieffen. Teacher of the modern war ”.

Appointed Lieutenant General by Reich President Paul von Hindenburg in 1933 , he began his service as a military and air attaché at the German Embassy in Washington on April 1, 1933 (since 1938 also a military attaché at the embassy in Mexico, based in Washington). In 1940 he was promoted to general of the artillery. During this time he made friends with numerous American generals, including George S. Patton , and had good contacts with Douglas MacArthur's group on the American General Staff. He paved the way for the later American General Albert Wedemeyer to meet with Colonel General Ludwig Beck . These relationships enabled him to participate in numerous troop maneuvers, site visits, and lectures that gave him a detailed picture of the US military capabilities.

At the beginning of the Second World War , Adolf Hitler was personally interested in his ongoing reports from the USA and the supposedly precise information about the growth of American armaments. According to Andreas Hillgruber , the reports received a lot of attention and impressed Hitler so much that they had a lasting impact on his image of America. According to Henry Picker , Hitler particularly valued the fact that von Boetticher had "let himself not be bluffed by anything" in the USA. According to Picker, this assessment was "to a large extent to blame for Hitler's complete misjudgment of the US armaments potential and the fighting power of the highly motorized US armed forces".

After America entered the war, Friedrich von Boetticher returned to Germany on June 1, 1942 and was appointed to the Führerreserve at the OKH . From December 1942 until the end of the war in 1945 he was head of the Wehrmacht Central Department in the OKW . In April 1945 he was taken prisoner of war, from which he returned in 1947. After his release, he maintained his old contacts in the United States and worked in the US Army's Military Foreign Studies program until 1952.

In old age Friedrich von Boetticher took up his earlier studies on Count Alfred von Schlieffen , with his only granddaughter Anna Josepha von Hahnke (1906–1971), daughter of Major General Wilhelm Friedrich von Hahnke (1867–1931), Boetticher from 1965 in second Marriage was married.

Friedrich von Boetticher died on September 28, 1967 in Bielefeld-Schildesch.



  • The Asian problem. In: The border messengers . Volume 79 (1920), pp. 90–95.
  • Georg Eppstein , Friedrich von Boetticher (ed.): Prince Bismarck's dismissal: according to the previously unpublished notes of the State Secretary of the Interior Minister Dr. Karl Heinrich von Boetticher and the head of the Reich Chancellery under Prince Bismarck Dr. Franz von Rottenburg , 1920.
  • The struggle for the Rhine and world domination. Leipzig 1922.
  • The fight against superiority. Berlin 1926.
  • Frederick the Great as a teacher of wisdom and leadership in our time. Berlin 1925.
  • Count Schlieffen. Teacher of the modern war. In: From Scharnhorst to Schlieffen 1806–1906, One Hundred Years of the Prussian-German General Staff. Lieutenant General a. D. von Cochenhausen (Ed.), Berlin 1933.
  • Count Alfred Schlieffen, his becoming and work. 1933.
  • Sleeping. Achieve a lot, stand out little - be more than seem. Berlin, Frankfurt 1957.


  • Alfred M. Beck: Hitler's Ambivalent Attaché: Gen. Lt. Friedrich von Boetticher in America 1933–1941. 2005.
  • Joseph E. Persico: Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage. 2001/2002.
  • Grischa Sutter: Concepts of order in the German officer corps 1915-1923. Peter Land Edition, 2017.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Alfred M. Beck: Hitler's Ambivalent Attaché: Gen. Lt. Friedrich von Boetticher in America 1933–1941. Potomac Books, Washington DC 2005, ISBN 1-57488-877-3 , p. 232.
  2. Notes from March 25, 1919, Groener estate, BA-MA, quoted in Schwabe: German Revolution and Wilsons Peace: The American and German Peace Strategy between Ideology and Power Politics 1918/1919. Düsseldorf 1971, p. 459 footnote 62; see. also Wala: Weimar and America - Ambassador Friedrich von Prittwitz and Gaffron and German-American relations from 1927 to 1933. p. 189, fn. 26.
  3. ^ The editor was General Friedrich von Cochenhausen (1879-1946) with the historical documentation "From Scharnhorst to Schlieffen 1806-1906"
  4. ^ Common anecdotes can be found in Robert H. Patton: The Pattons - a personal history of an american family. 2004, p. 246ff.
  5. See
  6. ^ Andreas Hillgruber: Hitler's Strategy - Politics and Warfare 1940–1941. 3. Edition. Bonn 1993, p. 195f., P. 375 fn. 119.
  7. ^ Henry Picker: Hitler's table talks in the Führer Headquarters. Berlin, Ullstein 1997, ISBN 3-548-26509-X , p. 443.
  8. Biography of Boetticher Friedrich, Lexikon der Wehrmacht, in: http // / Personalreister / B / BoetticherFriedrich.htm
  9. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Ranking list of the German Reichsheeres , Ed .: Reichswehrministerium , Mittler & Sohn Verlag, Berlin 1930, p. 109.