Friedrich Olbricht

Friedrich Olbricht ( October 4, 1888 – July 21, 1944 ) was a German general , involved in the attempted coup d’état held on July 20, 1944 .


Olbricht was born in Leisnig , Saxony , the son of a mathematics teacher, Richard Olbricht. Completed the Institute (Gymnasium) and its pre-university year (Abitur) in 1907, Olbricht joined the regiment of infantry 106 in Leipzig like ensign. He fought in the First World War from 1914 to 1918 and as a captain was framed in the Reichswehr , post-war Germany, notably reduced on the basis of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919.

Olbricht married Eva Koeppel, with whom he had a son and a daughter.

Olbricht’s distrust of the Nazis took hold early, especially since the Munich Putsch of 1923, when he aligned himself with Hans Oster , Erwin von Witzleben and Georg Thomas , who distanced themselves from the burgeoning national-socialist movement, preoccupied with attractiveness Which the Nazis had for many military men.

In 1926 Olbricht joined the Ministry of Defense as head of the “Bureau of Foreign Armies”. In 1933 he became chief of staff of the Dresden Division.

In 1934, during the events of Long Knives Night , Olbricht succeeded in saving the lives of several men by assigning them military-political tasks under the protection of the Army. They had already been arrested and killed shortly.

In 1935 he was marked by the appointment of Olbricht as chief of staff of the Fourth Army Corps stationed in Dresden . In 1938 he was commissioned to command the 24th Infantry Division. That same year he interceded for the rehabilitation of Werner von Fritsch , the commander in chief of the High Command of the Army (Oberkomando des Heeres) who had fallen out of favor as a result of being accused of homosexual (see Blomberg-Fritsch Scandal ).

When World War II broke out, Olbricht commanded the 24th Infantry Division during the invasion of Poland . He commanded the division from the front, even creating on one occasion an improvised motorized unit carrying troops in his car, so that they could lay ahead and secure important bridges before they were blown up by the enemy. For his bravery and dynamic troop leadership, he was decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross . On February 15, 1940, Olbricht was promoted to infantry general. He was appointed Head of the General Office of the Army (Allgemeines Heeresamt). He was also made Head of the Recruitment Office of the Armed Forces (Wehrersatzamt) in the Oberkomando der Wehrmacht , the High Command of the Armed Forces.

In the winter of 1941-42, Olbricht devised Operation Valkiria , a plan of the General Staff to quell internal disturbances, but which in fact could be considered a detailed plan for a coup. Together with resistance circles formed around Colonel General Ludwig Beck , Carl Friedrich Goerdeler and Major General Henning von Tresckow , he worked to find a way to assassinate Hitler and use Operation Valkiria to end the Nazi regime. In 1943 he requested the transfer to his office of Claus von Stauffenberg , who later would be the executor of the attempted attack of 20 of July of 1944 .

On July 20, 1944, Olbricht and Colonel Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim began Operation Valkiria with the mobilization of the reserve army (Ersatzheer), but after it was learned that the Stauffenberg bomb had not killed Hitler, Plan to take key Berlin sites using reserve army troops began to fail. The government was able to regain control by using loyal troops within a few hours.

At nine o’clock in the evening, Olbricht was arrested at his Bendlerblock barracks by soldiers of the Berlin garrison.

That night, Colonel General Friedrich Fromm , supposedly to cover himself, held a very small court-martial, condemning the coup leaders. Olbricht, Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, Werner von Haeften and Claus von Stauffenberg were thrown into the yard and executed by a firing squad, thus countering Hitler’s orders to keep the couplers alive.


  • Second-class iron cross 1914
  • First-class iron cross 1914
  • Brooch for the Iron cross of second class 1914
  • Brooch for the First Class Iron Cross 1914
  • Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross


  • Friedrich Georgi, Soldat im Widerstand. General der Infanterie Friedrich Olbricht ; 2. Aufl., Berlin u. Hamburg 1989 ( ISBN 3-489-50134-9 )
  • Helena P. Page, General Friedrich Olbricht. Ein Mann des 20. Juli ; 2. Aufl., Bonn u. Berlin 1994 ( ISBN 3-416-02514-8 ).
  • Olbricht Friedrich Georgi’s son-in-law report on the July 20 talk just before being arrested, in which Olbricht explained his motivations.