Anton Dostler - who is this person? What trace did he leave in history? Running a little forward, we can say that nothing particularly outstanding, for which he could be noted, he did not represent himself. If, of course, do not take into account his career as a careerist. Nevertheless, he managed to make his dirty contribution to the collection of German "feats" during the war with the Soviet Union. True, the bill for this was presented to him by the Americans, but about everything in order.
Life before World War II
Anton Dostler, whose biography reduces mainly to the description of career growth, was born in 1891 in the capital of Bavaria, the city of Munich. From there he began his military career.
In the summer of 1910, Anton Dostler was enrolled as a fenen cadet (cadet sergeant) in the sixth Bavarian Infantry Regiment, where, after serving two years, he was promoted to lieutenant.
December 4, 1915 under his command was transferred to the first military unit, and just a month later he was promoted to rank. Until the autumn of 1918, Anton Dostler, with the rank of senior lieutenant, commanded the third Bavarian army corps, and on October 18 the command raised him to the captain.
After the war between Germany and its allies with the Entente (Russia, Great Britain and France), Captain Dostler left Bavaria and went to serve in the Reichswehr, until 1935 the name was German armed forces (later they were renamed the Wehrmacht).
Anton Dostler (his photo is presented in the article) was transferred to Berlin in the fall of 1924, where he continued his service in the Abwehr (department engaged in military intelligence and counterintelligence within the Third Reich). In parallel with the service, Dostler studied at the University of Berlin. On April 1, 1932, he was promoted again in rank, having been promoted to the rank of major.
World War II
Just a week before the start of World War II, Anton Dostler was appointed to the post of operational commander at the General Staff of the 7th Army of the Wehrmacht. He received the general-major on September 1, 1941, while he was in the post of chief of staff of the 15th army corps. Since June 22, 1943, he had to combine two posts, commander of the 42nd and 7th Army Corps. The 42nd on a permanent basis, and the 7th on a temporary basis.
In 1943, Anton Dostler met with the rank of Lieutenant-General. And exactly one year later he takes command of 75 army corps stationed in Italy.
March 22, 1944 American subversive detachment, consisting of 13 soldiers and two officers, was abandoned to the rear of the German army, 400 km before the front line. The operation with the code name "Ginny" was carried out under the overall supervision of the Office of Strategic Services, later renamed the CIA. The landing party landed 100 kilometers north of the Italian city of Spice.
All 15 people had a high degree of military training. In addition, each of them could speak freely in conversational Italian and had a good knowledge of the area, since they were specially selected from among the families of Italian immigrants. The purpose of the operation was the destruction of the strategically important railway tunnel between the cities of La Spezia and Genoa and the subsequent rendering of assistance to the Italian resistance.
However, the task could not be carried out, because, despite all the secrecy of the mission, the detachment for some reason was dressed in the shape of American commandos and did not even try to hide its identity. Two days after the landing, the Americans fell into the hands of Italian soldiers and were transferred to the headquarters of the 135th brigade of the German army, which is part of the 75th Army Corps, which, as already mentioned, was commanded by General Dostler.
Anton Dostler - the general-criminal
After the delivery to the headquarters, American saboteurs were interrogated, and one of the officers, part of the group, completely gave out all the information required by the Germans. The information received was immediately reported to Dostler, who, in turn, reported everything to General-Field Marshal Kesselring.
Albert Kesselring, at that time was the commander-in-chief of the German army in Italy, without thinking twice gave the order to shoot captured Americans. Dostler, executing the order of the commander-in-chief, sent a telegram with a similar order to the headquarters of the 135 brigade.
Alexander Furst von Dona-Schlobetten
Alexander Shlobetten, at the time when the Americans were caught, served at Dostler's headquarters, and he was instructed by the general to deliver a telegram to the brigade headquarters. However, understanding the crime of the order, which was contained in the message, the officer refused to comply with it.
The fact is that the Americans, after being discovered by the Italians, surrendered voluntarily. And besides, the Germans had already received from the prisoners all the information they were interested in (Shlobbiten later wrote about this in his memoirs). Therefore, according to the Geneva Convention, concluded in 1929, which indicated how to treat prisoners of war, the Americans were not only to stay alive, but also to enjoy certain privileges.
Trying to bring this to Dostler, Schlobitten achieved only that for failing to comply with the order and loyal attitude to the enemies of the Reich was fired. And Dostler personally gave the order for the execution.
The commander of the 135th brigade, Colonel Almers, having received the order, also tried to influence the sentencing, trying to convince the general that the death of Americans is simply unnecessary, useless victims. However, his arguments had no effect. As a result, on March 26, 1944, all the captured American saboteurs were executed.
The payoff overtook Dostler one year after the crime. The day before the official surrender of Germany, on May 8, 1945, the general was arrested by the Americans. There, in Italy, in the province of Caserta, a military tribunal was held over him on charges of reprisal against 15 American commandos.
Trying to save his life, Dostler justified himself by the fact that he only as a junior in rank carried out the order of Hitler, given back in the autumn of 1942, which ordered the immediate destruction of the detained allies of the USSR. He also laid the main blame for the execution on Kesselring, who ordered the massacre, and Almers, the direct executor.
To himself, he only played the role of a transfer link between the Field Marshal General and the Colonel. However, all his arguments were not accepted for consideration, despite the fact that in fact he was right. The court issued a death sentence to General Dostler, which was carried out on December 1, 1945.
This verdict is often associated with the so-called justice of the winner, that is, the court did not take into account any mitigating factors, equally severely punishing both commanders and their subordinates. Interestingly, General Field Marshal Kesselring himself, from whom the criminal order was issued, managed to avoid execution.