Ernst Kaether

Ernst Kaether

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Ernst Kaether was an officer in the German Army (Wehrmacht Heer) during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...


As a Lieutenant-Colonel (Oberstleutnant
Oberstleutnant is a German Army and Air Force rank equal to Lieutenant Colonel, above Major, and below Oberst.There are two paygrade associated to the rank of Oberstleutnant...

), Kaether commanded the 14th Infantry Regiment of the 5th Jäger Division. On 10 December 1942, as commander of this regiment, he received a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was a grade of the 1939 version of the 1813 created Iron Cross . The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was the highest award of Germany to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership during World War II...


On 22 April 1945, Kaether briefly replaced Lieutenant-General (Generalleutnant) Hellmuth Reymann as commander of the Berlin Defense Area and for the defense of the city of Berlin. Kaether was personally promoted to Major-General (Generalmajor) by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 for this command. Prior to this, Kaether had been the Chief-of-Staff to the German Army's political commissar.

However, Kaether never actually took command of Berlin's defenses for the Battle of Berlin
Battle of Berlin
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II....

. Before he could take command, Hitler cancelled his promotions and Kaether was replaced by Artillery General (General der Artillerie) Helmuth Weidling
Helmuth Weidling
Helmuth Otto Ludwig Weidling was an officer in the German Army before and during World War II...

. For a brief period between Kaether and Weidling, Hitler himself took personal command of the Berlin defenses. Another newly promoted Major-General (Generalmajor), Erich Bärenfänger
Erich Bärenfänger
Erich Bärenfänger was an officer in the German Army during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords...

, was Hitler's "deputy" commander of the Berlin Defense Area during this brief period.