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Johannes "Hans" Poeppel (20 July 1921 – 29 September 2007) was a general in the German Bundeswehr. He served as Inspekteur des Heeres (Inspector of the Army) 1979–81.[1]

Johannes Poeppel
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F061334-0005, Bonn, Schmidt empfängt Heeresinspekteur Poeppel.jpg
Poeppel and German chancellor Helmut Schmidt in German Chancellery 1981
Born(1921-07-20)20 July 1921
Schivelbein, Farther Pomerania (today Świdwin, Poland)
Died29 September 2007(2007-09-29) (aged 86)
Allegiance Nazi Germany  Federal Republic of Germany
Years of service1939–1945
1955 – 1981
UnitArtillerieregiment 32 (1939–1945)
Commands heldField Artillery Battalion 31
Panzergrenadierbrigade 1
6. Panzergrenadierdivision
Inspector of the Army
AwardsCommander's Cross of the Order of Merit

Early lifeEdit

Poeppel was born in Schivelbein, Farther Pomerania (today Świdwin, Poland) and passed his Abitur at a Napola institution in Berlin in 1939.[2]



That year he passed his Abitur, Poeppel joined the Wehrmacht as an officer cadet and served in the Artillerieregiment 32 throughout the Second World War. By the end of the war, he had attained the rank of Hauptmann (captain), and managed to avoid Russian captivity.[1][3]


In 1947–49, he studied at the Pedagogic Institute in Celle, including a semester at the University of Manchester. He started to work as a teacher in 1949 in Wriedel (Uelzen) and became an academic assistant at the Pedagogic University of Osnabrück in 1952.[3]


After the organization of the Bundeswehr in 1955, Poeppel volunteered and was reinstated at his former rank of captain. Poeppel passed his general staff training at the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr in 1958–61 and served on the Staff of the I. Korps in Münster. He became Staff Officer to the Generalinspekteure Friedrich Foertsch and Heinrich Trettner and commanded the Feldartilleriebataillon 31 in Lüneburg. In 1967–69, he worked at the Federal Ministry of Defense in Bonn.[3]

Poeppel (r.) at his retirement next to President Karl Carstens in 1981

On 1 January 1970, Poeppel became the commander of Panzergrenadierbrigade 1 in Hildesheim until 31 March 1973 and until 31 March 1978 of the 6. Panzergrenadierdivision in Neumünster. There he was promoted to Generalmajor.[3]

On 1 April 1978 Poeppel returned to Bonn and became the Deputy Inspector of the Army and a year later Inspector (Inspekteur de sHeeres). Poeppel retired on 1 October 1981.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Poeppel was married in 1947 to Edelgard, "the girl next door" to him in Pomerania, and the couple had two children. Their son, Burkhardt, also became a Bundeswehr officer; their daughter, Susanne studied for an advanced degree at the Pädagogische Hochschule in Bonn. Poeppel was an able and ardent tennis player all his life.


  • Hans Poeppel, Wilhelm-Karl Prinz von Preußen, Karl-Günther von Hase, Die Soldaten der Wehrmacht, 6. Auflage, München 2000. ISBN 3-7766-2057-9


External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Horst Hildebrandt
Inspector of the Army
1 April 1979–1 October 1981
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Meinhard Glanz
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Rüdiger von Reichert
Deputy Chief of Staff of the Federal Armed Forces
1 April 1978–30 March 1979
Succeeded by
Generalleutnant Helmut Heinz
Preceded by
Generalmajor Franz-Joseph Schulze
Commander of 6th Panzergrenadier Division (Bundeswehr)
1 April 1973 – 31 March 1978
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Hans-Joachim Mack