Oberkommando der Wehrmacht

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The Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) (English: "Supreme Command of the Armed Forces") was part of the command structure of the armed forces (Wehrmacht) of Nazi Germany during World War II.



The OKW was formed on 4 February 1938 following the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair, which led to the dismissal of Generalfeldmarschall (and Reich War Minister) Werner von Blomberg and the dissolution of the Reichskriegsministerium (Reich War Ministry). The OKW replaced the War Ministry. The appointments made to the OKW and the motive behind the reorganization are commonly thought to be Adolf Hitler's desire to consolidate power and authority around his position as Führer and Reich Chancellor (Führer und Reichskanzler), to the detriment of the military leadership of the Wehrmacht.


By June 1938, the OKW comprised four departments:

  • Wehrmacht-Führungsamt (WFA) - operational orders.
    • Abteilung Landesverteidigungsführungsamt (WFA/L) a sub department through which all details of operational planning were worked out, and from which all operational orders were communicated to the OKW.
  • Amt Ausland/Abwehr - foreign intelligence[1]
    • Chief of Staff
    • Zentralabteilung - central department
    • Abteilung Ausland - foreign
      • Gruppe I: Außen- und Wehrpolitik - foreign and defence policy
      • Gruppe II: Beziehung zu fremden Wehrmächten - relations with foreign militaries
      • Gruppe III: Fremde Wehrmachten, Meldesammelstelle des OKW - foreign militaries
      • Gruppe IV: Etappenorganisation der Kriegsmarine
      • Gruppe V: Auslandspresse - foreign media
      • Gruppe VI: Militärische Untersuchungsstelle für Kriegsvölkerrecht - research service for international laws of war
      • Gruppe VII: Kolonialfragen - colonial matters
      • Gruppe VIII: Wehrauswertung - defence analysis
    • Abteilung Nachrichtenbeschaffung - intelligence
      • Gruppe H: Geheimer Meldedienst Heer - army intelligence service
      • Gruppe M: Geheimer Meldedienst Marine - naval intelligence service
      • Gruppe L: Geheimer Meldedienst Luftwaffe - air intelligence service
      • Gruppe G: Technische Arbeitsmittel - technical equipment
      • Gruppe wi: Geheimer Meldedienst Wirtschaft - economic intelligence service
      • Gruppe P: Presseauswertung - media analysis
      • Gruppe i: Funknetz Abwehr Funkstelle - radio communications
    • Abteilung Sonderdienst - special service
      • Gruppe I: Minderheiten - minorities
      • Gruppe II: Sondermaßnahmen - special measures
    • Abteilung Abwehr - counter-intelligence
      • Führungsgruppe W: Abwehr in der Wehrmacht - counter-intelligence in the military
      • Gruppe Wi: Abwehr Wirtschaft - economic counter-intelligence
      • Gruppe C: Abwehr Inland - inland counter-intelligence
      • Gruppe F: Abwehr Ausland - foreign counter-intelligence
      • Gruppe D: Sonderdienst - special service
      • Gruppe S: Sabotageabwehr - counter-sabotage
      • Gruppe G: Gutachten - evaluation
      • Gruppe Z: Zentralarchiv - central archives
    • Auslands(telegramm)prüfstelle - foreign communications
      • Gruppe I: Sortierung - sorting
      • Gruppe II: Chemische Untersuchung - chemical testing
      • Gruppe III: Privatbriefe - private mail
      • Gruppe IV: Handelsbriefe - commercial mail
      • Gruppe V: Feldpostbriefe - military mail
      • Gruppe VI: Kriegsgefangenenbriefe - POWs' mail
      • Gruppe VII: Zentralkartei - central register
      • Gruppe VIII: Auswertung - analysis
      • Gruppe IX: Kriegsgefangenen-Brief-Auswertung - analysis of POWs' mail
  • Wirtschafts und Rüstungsamt - supply matters [2]
  • Amtsgruppe Allgemeine Wehrmachtangelegenheiten - miscellaneous matters.
    • Abteilung Inland - inland
    • Allgemeine Abteilung - general
    • Wehrmachtsfürsorge- und versorgungsabteilung - supplies
    • Wehrmachtsfachschulunterricht - education
    • Wissenschaft - science
    • Wehrmachtsverwaltungsabteilung - administration
    • General zu besonderen Verfügung für Kriegsgefangenenwesen - prisoners of war
    • Abteilung Wehrmachtverlustwesen (WVW) - casualties

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