German Army General, known as the "Father of the Blitzkrieg." Born in Kulm, Prussia, he followed his father in a military career, graduating from the War School at Metz. As a young officer in World War I, he was quickly recognized for his brilliance, and was soon selected for the German General Staff. During the 1920s he served in the signal corps and transportation corps, developing his background in support. By 1933, he was a Colonel and Chief of Staff of Motorized Troops. When Hitler came to power, they shared an interest in modernizing the Army, and by 1936, Guderian was a Major General commanding the XIX Corps. Guderian's remaking of armor as a spearhead with mechanized infantry following behind proved itself in the Poland and France campaigns, and enabled German forces to nearly destroy the Russian Army in 1941. Guderian was one of the few generals to argue with Hitler or disobey his orders - Hitler twice fired him for insubordination (December 1941 and March 1945), and reinstated him (March 1943), and it was for his outspoken tendencies that kept him from being promoted to Field Marshal, yet made him beloved by his soldiers. His troops called him "Schneller Heinz" (Hurry-up Heinz) for his habit of leading his tanks from the front, encouraging them to push forward. Most military analyists consider him one of the best German generals of World War II. During the war, he was promoted to Colonel-General (equivalent of 4 star general) and on July 17, 1941, was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. Briefly jailed for two years after the war while being investigated for possible war crimes, he was released and never charged. British Military Analyist Basil Liddell Hart said he "had an amazing knack of making the impossible possible" and that he was one of the Great Captains of History. He died in 1954 in Schwangau bei Fuessen in the Tyrol area of West Germany.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson