General Feild Marshal Werner Eduard Fritz von Blomberg
(2 September 1878 – 14 March 1946) was a leading member of the German Army until January 1938.

Early life

Born in Stargard, Pomerania, Prussia (present-day Stargard Szczeciński, West Pomeranian Voivodeship), Werner von Blomberg joined the army at a young age and attended Germany's Kriegsakademie in 1904. On April 1904 he married Charlotte Hellmich.

Military career

After graduating in 1907, Blomberg entered the General Staff in 1908. Serving with distinction on the Western Front during World War I, Blomberg was awarded the Pour le Mérite. In 1920, Blomberg was appointed Chief of Staff of the Döberitz Brigade and in 1921 was made Chief of Staff of the Stuttgart Army Area. In 1925, Blomberg was made Chief of Army Training by General Hans von Seeckt. By 1927 Blomberg was a major-general and Chief of the Troop Office. After arguing with the powerful General Kurt von Schleicher in 1929, however, Blomberg was removed from his post and made military commander of East Prussia. Blomberg's first wife Charlotte died in on 11 May 1932 leaving him with two sons and three daughters.[1][2]

In 1933, Blomberg rose to national prominence when he was appointed Minister of Defense in Adolf Hitler's government. Blomberg became one of Hitler's most devoted followers, and as such was nicknamed "Rubber Lion" by some of his critics in the army who were less than enthusiastic about Hitler. As Minister of Defense, Blomberg worked feverishly to expand the size and power of the army. In 1933 Blomberg was made a colonel general for his services. In 1934, Blomberg encouraged Hitler to crack down on SAleader Ernst Röhm and his followers, whom he believed posed a serious threat to the army. As such, he condoned and participated in the Night of the Long Knives.

Werner von Blomberg in 1934

In the same year, after Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg had died, he personally ordered all soldiers in the army to pledge the Reichswehreid (oath of allegiance) not to Volk and Fatherland, but to the new Reichspräsident and Führer Adolf Hitler, which is thought to have limited later opposition to Hitler.

In 1935, the Ministry of Defense was renamed to Ministry of War; Blomberg became Minister of War and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. In 1936, the loyal Blomberg was the first General Field Marshal appointed by Hitler.

Unfortunately for Blomberg, his position as the most influential man in the army alienated Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler, who conspired to oust him from power. After the Hossbach Memorandum meeting of November 1937, Hitler was dissatisfied with him. They struck in January 1938, when Blomberg, then fifty-nine, married (on 12 January[3]) Erna Gruhn (sometimes referred to as "Eva" or "Margarete"), a 26-year-old typist and secretary. A police officer discovered that Gruhn in 1932 had posed for pornographic photos which had resulted in a criminal record for prostitution and reported this to the Gestapo and Göring (who had served as best man to Blomberg at the wedding). Göring then informed Hitler (who had also been a best man at the wedding), and Hitler ordered Blomberg to annul the marriage in order to avoid a scandal and to preserve the integrity of the army. Blomberg refused to annul the marriage, and consequently resigned all of his posts on 27 January 1938 when Göring threatened to make his wife's past public knowledge.

A few days later, Göring and Himmler accused Commander-in-Chief of the Army Werner von Fritsch of being a homosexual. Hitler used these opportunities for major reorganization of the Wehrmacht. Fritsch was later acquitted; together the events became known as Blomberg-Fritsch Affair.

Blomberg and his wife were subsequently exiled for a year to the isle of Capri. Spending World War II in obscurity, Blomberg was captured by the Allies in 1945, after which time he gave evidence at the Nuremberg Trials. Blomberg died while in detention at Nuremberg in 1946.

His daughter Dorothea got engaged to Lieutenant Karl-Heinz Keitel (General Wilhelm Keitel's eldest son) in January 1938, and they got married in May the same year.[4]

Dates of Rank

Werner von Blomberg - The Full Wiki

A man's career destroyed by Goering over a few "pornographic (topless) photos". Quite a love story though.