Hermann Ritter von Speck

Hermann Ritter von Speck (8 August 1888 – 15 June 1940) was a German general during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany. Speck was killed by French machine gun fire on 15 June 1940 in Pont-sur-Yonne, France. He was the first German general officer killed in World War II.[1]

Hermann Ritter von Speck
Born8 August 1888
Died15 June 1940(1940-06-15) (aged 51)
Pont-sur-Yonne, France
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branchArmy (Wehrmacht)
RankFull General
Commands held33. Infanterie-Division
XXXXIII. Armeekorps
XVIII. Armeekorps
Battles/warsBattle of France
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross

He was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 17 October 1940.[citation needed]

In 2010, Jay Nordlinger spoke with von Speck's daughter, who claimed that the general deliberately sought death in battle: "According to his daughter, he wanted to die, and arranged to die. He felt he could not break his oath to the army — he could not desert. And his Catholic faith prevented him from committing suicide — suicide straight out, you might say. So, he put himself in the line of fire. In his dying words, he did not say, 'Give my love to my family', or anything like that. He said, 'It had to be this way'.”[2]

Awards and decorationsEdit



  1. ^ Forczyk, Robert (30 November 2017). Case Rot; the Collapse of France. 5715: Osprey Publishing.CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. ^ Jay Nordlinger, "Salzburg Souvenirs, Part IV", National Review Online, 30 August 2010
  3. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. .


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
Military offices
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Eugen Ritter von Schobert
Commander of 33. Infantry-Division
1 March 1938 - 29 April 1940
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Rudolf Sintzenich
Preceded by
Commander of XXXXIII. Armeekorps
29 April 1940 - 31 May 1940
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Franz Böhme
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Eugen Beyer
Commander of XVIII. Armeekorps
5 June 1940 - 15 June 1940
Succeeded by
General der Gebirgstruppe Franz Böhme