Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt (12 December 1875 – 24 February 1953) was a German Field Marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) during World War II. Born into a Prussian family with a long military tradition, Rundstedt entered the Imperial German Army in 1892 and rose through the ranks until World War I, in which he served mainly as a staff officer. In the inter-war years, he continued his military career, reaching the rank of Colonel General (Generaloberst) before retiring in 1938. He was recalled at the beginning of World War II as Commander of Army Group South in the Polish campaign. He commanded Army Group A during the German invasion of France, and was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal on 19 July 1940. In the Russian Campaign, he commanded Army Group South, responsible for the largest encirclement in history, the Battle of Kiev. He was dismissed by Adolf Hitler in December 1941, following the German retreat from Rostov, but was recalled in 1942 and appointed Commander in Chief in the West. He was dismissed again after the German defeat in Normandy in July 1944, but was again recalled as Commander in Chief in the West in September, holding this post until his final dismissal by Hitler in March 1945. Rundstedt was aware of the various plots to depose Hitler, but refused to support them. After the war, he was charged with war crimes, but did not face trial due to his age and poor health. He was released in 1949, and died in Hanover in 1953.
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