Franz Böhme : biography
Franz Friedrich Böhme (15 April 1885, Zeltweg, Styria, Austria-Hungary – 29 May 1947) was an Austrian who later went on to become a military officer. He served on behalf of the Austro-Hungarian army in World War I, and as a general in the German Army, serving as Commander of the XVIII Mountain Corps, Hitler's 'Plenipotentiary Commanding General' on the Balkan, and Commander-in-Chief in German-occupied Norway during World War II. Böhme stood trial in Nuremberg for having massacred thousands of Serbian civilians. He committed suicide in prison.
Böhme's father, Ernst Friedrich, died in 1902, when Franz was 17 years old, and his mother, the former Maria Ludmilla (née Stremayr), died the following year. In 1929, Böhme married Romana Maria Hüller von Hüllenried, the daughter of Generalmajor Karl Rudolf Hüller von Hüllenried.
Böhme served in the Austrian army during the interwar years. The Berchtesgaden agreement (12 February 1938) stipulated in paragraph 8 that the Austrian chief of staff, Alfred Jansa, who favoured a military response in case of a German attack, had to be replaced by Franz Böhme.
First World War
- 1914: East Galicia (Royal 38th Hungarian Honved Division): Combat at Halych and Bolszowce; ; Combat in the Carpathians at Szinna, Uzsoker Pass, Turka and Boryslaw. West Galicia: Battle of Limanowa
- 1915: East Galicia (in the German South Army): Combat in the Carpathians at Beskiden and Zwinin; Battle of Steryj, Battle of Halicz and Battle of Ternopil; Combat on the river.
- 1916: East Galicia (in the German South Army): Combat on the Strypa river at Burkanow; Combat on the Zlota-Lipa at Brzeżany.
- 1917: Volhynia-Russia (XXIV Corps): Combat southeast of Vladimir Volynsk (Novi Zagorow). Courland (Prussian General Command for Special Employment 51): Combat at Dünaburg and at Jakobstadt. Italy (XXIV Corps and Second Isonzo Army): 10th, 11th and 12th Isonzo Battles; Advance on the Piave.
- 1918: Italy (First Isonzo Army): Combat on the Piave River. France (Austrian 1st Division): Defensive Battle on the eastern Maas before Verdun with the Prussian V Reserve Corps.
Second World War
- 1 July 1939: Commander of the 30th Infantry Division.
- 19 July 1939: Commander of the 32nd Infantry Division, taking part in the invasions of Poland in September 1939 and of France in May and June 1940.
- 28 September 1939: At the same time, delegated with the leadership of II Corps.
- On June 5, 1940 Böhme was given interim leadership of the XVIII Corps (Germany), replacing General Hermann Ritter von Speck who had received command of the XVIII Mountain Corps. Ten days later, Böhme was given control of that Corps, when Speck was killed near Pont-sur-Yonne in France.
- 29 June 1940: Awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.
- 16 September 1941 – 2 December 1941: At the same time, Commanding General and Commander of Serbia.
- 10 December 1943: Deputy Commanding General of the XVIII Corps and Commander of Wehrkreis [Military District] XVIII, Salzburg.
- 24 June 1944: Delegated with the leadership of the Second Panzer Army in the Balkans. (Böhme succeeded Generaloberst Dr. jur. Lothar Rendulic to command of the Second Panzer Army).
- 15 July 1944: Badly injured in a flying accident in a Fieseler Fi 156 Storch aircraft.
- In July 1944 he was transferred to the Army's High Command Leader Reserve, giving up control of the Second Panzer Army to General Maximilian de Angelis
- 8 January 1945 – 7 May 1945: Armed Forces Commander of Norway and Commander-in-Chief of the Twentieth Mountain Army. (Böhme succeeded Generaloberst Dr. jur. Lothar Rendulic in both duty positions).
Trial and suicide
After being captured in Norway, he was brought before the Hostages Trial, a division of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, and charged with war crimes committed in Serbia, during his 1941 control of the region. He had upped the ante of retaliatory strikes against Serbs, killing a hundred Serbs for every German killed, and fifty for every German wounded; this resulted in the massacre of thousands of civilians.Weiner, Ofer and Barber 1996, pp. 145–152 When his extradition to Yugoslavia seemed imminent, Böhme committed suicide by jumping from the 4th story of the prison in which he was being held. His body was interred at St. Leonhard-Friedhof in Graz.
Awards and decorations
- Iron Cross (1914)
- 2nd Class (1916)
- 1st Class (12 June 1917)
- Karl Troop Cross
- Cross of Honor
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class (12 September 1939)
- 1st Class (25 September 1939)
- Order of the Cross of Liberty 1st Class with Oak leaves and Swords
- German Cross in Gold on 10 February 1944 as General der Infanterie in the XVIII. (Gebirgs)ArmeekorpsPatzwall and Scherzer 2001, p. 49.
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 29 June 1940 as Generalleutnant commander of 32. Infanterie-DivisionFellgiebel 2000, p. 137.
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