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Johannes Poeppel
Poeppel and German chancellor Helmut Schmidt in 1981
Nickname Hans Poeppel
Born (1921-07-20)20 July 1921
Died 29 September 2007(2007-09-29) (aged 86)
Place of birth Schivelbein, Farther Pomerania (today Świdwin, Poland)
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Germany Federal Republic of Germany
Years of service 1939-1945
1955 - 1981
Rank General
Unit Artillerieregiment 32 (1939-1945)
General Staff, 1. Korp
Staff Officer to the Chief of Staff
Deputy General of the army (1978-1981)
Commands held Field Artillery Battalion 31.
Panzergrenadierbrigade 1 (1970-1973)
6 Panzergrenadierdivision (1973-1978)

Johannes 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]


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

Resumption of Military career

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 Department 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 General of the Army and a year later Inspector General (Generalinspekteur des Heeres). Poeppel retired on 1 October 1981.[3]

Personal life

Poeppel was married in 1947 to a woman from a neighboring property in Pommerania, "the girl next door," the couple had two children. Their son, Burkhardt, is also a Bundeswehr officer; their daughter, Susanne is an advanced degree student. 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 links

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