Skip to main content

Franz Halder collection

 Collection — Container: 1
Identifier: MS-0388

Scope and Contents

The collection of Franz Halder consists of two copies of an unpublished manuscript entitled "Hitler and the German Soldier," one in typescript and one carbon copy. Both volumes are illustrated with hand-drawn maps. Halder's writings, translated into English, were completed while he was assigned to the U. S. Army Historical Division 1945-1961. Manuscripts from the same period were later published as 'Hitler as War Lord' (1950) and 'The Private War Journal of Generaloberst Franz Halder' [1946?]. There is no evidence that "Hitler and the German Soldier" was published. In the manuscript, Halder attempts to explain why and how Hitler was able to maintain control over the German soldier (specifically the Wehrmacht) during the Second World War. Presenting German military tradition as fundamentally opposed to the ideals of National Socialism, Halder contends that the Wehrmacht was a continual source of resistance to Hitler's political aims and beliefs. Halder describes the German soldier as fighting for the existence of Germany rather than fighting for Hitler and National Socialist ideas. The manuscript focuses primarily on the years from the Nazi seizure of power through the German defeat at the battle of Stalingrad in 1942, the period of Halder's appointment as Chief of the General Staff of the Supreme Command of the German Army. The last fifty pages address the latter half of the war. Halder concludes that Germany paid dearly "as a nation and as a people" for its association with Hitler.


  • Creation: circa 1932-1945


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

This collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Franz Halder, described by military historians as one of "Hitler's Generals," was appointed Chief of the General Staff of the Supreme Command of the German Army 1938-1942. Halder was born in 1884 to a Wurzburg family whose sons were members of the Bavarian officer corps for three centuries. Halder was commissioned in the Royal Bavarian Field Artillery in 1904. During the First World War he served on various staffs including that of Crown Prince Rupprecht's Army Group. According to historian Barry A. Leach, "it was in the Reichswehr that Halder developed a reputation as an expert on training and maneuvers, and it was his direction of the Wehrmacht in 1937 that first won him favor with Hitler." (The Versailles Treaty allowed Germany to maintain the Reichswehr, an army without heavy weapons. The German Armed Forces known as the Wehrmacht formed under Hitler's direction in the 1930s.) Halder retained his position with the German high command until the disastrous offensives towards Stalingrad in 1942. He was dismissed on September 24, 1942 .

Colonel-General Halder is regarded as the most controversial of the generals in Hitler's service. While declaring himself opposed to the Nazi regime in 1938, he helped to plan many military victories in central and western Europe. In Halder's post-war statements, he described his association with a failed plot against Hitler in late 1939, the knowledge of which led to his arrest after another failed attempt on Hitler's life July 20, 1944. Franz Halder spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of the Gestapo. After the Allied defeat of Germany in 1945, Halder's part in opposing Hitler was enough to exonerate him from war crimes. He served fourteen years with the U.S. Army Historical Division, and he was rewarded in 1961 with the American Meritorious Civilian Service Award. Franz Halder died in 1972.


0.19 Cubic Feet (1 letter half-size document box)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of two copies of an unpublished manuscript entitled "Hitler and the German Soldier," one in typescript and one carbon copy, circa 1932-1945. Both volumes are illustrated with hand-drawn maps.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection of Franz Halder was most likely received by the University in 1969 as a gift from Mrs. Harold E. Potter. Mrs. Potter was the wife of Colonel H. E. Potter who was assigned to the Historical Division, Headquarters of EUCOM, in 1951. Franz Halder served fourteen years with the U.S. Army Historical Division. Colonel Potter arranged for the translation of the manuscript, “Hitler and the German Soldier.” In a memo to Colonel Potter, translator H. Heitman, wrote that the manuscript was taken to Mrs. Potter, January 8, 1951. Mrs. Potter later gave published volumes of Franz Halder’s works to the University. (The published seven volumes of Franz Halder’s The Private War Journal DD247 .H25 A3 W940Q were gifts of Mrs. Potter.) It is likely that the manuscript, “Hitler and the German Soldier,” was part of her gift at that time. Acknowledgment of the Halder manuscript was noted by Alfred D. Chandler, Hopkins professor of history, on February 21, 1969.


The Accession Number is 96-97.12

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan and Franklin Schwarzer in August 1997.

Franz Halder collection
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA