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Paul "Papa" Hausser (October 7, 1880 - December 21, 1972) was an officer in the German Army, achieving the high rank of lieutenant-general in the inter-war Reichswehr. After retirement from the regular Army he became the "father" (thus the nickname "Papa") of the Waffen-SS and one of its most eminent leaders. Battling in both the Eastern and Western fronts of World War II, he was seriously wounded twice, losing an eye in the former. After the war he became a member of the HIAG which sought to rehabilitate the reputation and legal status of the Waffen SS.
Early life and career
Hausser was born in Brandenburg an der Havel to a Prussian military family, his father Kurt Hausser was a major in the Imperial German Army. He entered the army in 1892 and from then until 1896 was at the cadet school in Köslin, and from 1896 he attended the cadet academy Berlin-Lichterfelde where he successfully graduated in 1899. On March 20, 1899 he was commissioned as a lieutenant and assigned to Infantry-Regiment 155 stationed at Ostrowo in Posen; on October 1, 1903 he became the adjutant of the regiment’s 2nd battalion and he served in this capacity for five years, until October 1, 1908. Noted for his military gift, he attended the War Academy in Berlin from October 1908 until his graduation on July 21, 1911. From 1912, onwards, including the First World War, Hausser served in a number of General Staff assignments, he stayed in the much-reduced post-war German army, the Reichswehr and by 1927 became a colonel.
He retired from the Reichswehr on January 31, 1932 with the rank of lieutenant-general. As a retiree, Hausser joined the right wing WWI veterans organization Stahlhelm, becoming the head of its Brandenburg-Berlin chapter in 1933. Soon, Stahlhelm was incorporated into the SA, and with the SA’s demise, into the SS.In November 1934 he was transferred to the SS-Verfügungstruppe and assigned to SS-Führerschule Braunschweig. In 1935 he became Inspector of SS-Junkerschule and was promoted to Brigadeführer in 1936.
World War II
Hausser served in the Polish Campaign of 1939 as an observer with the mixed Wehrmacht/SS Panzer Division "Kempf". In October 1939 SS-VT was formed as a motorized infantry division with Hausser in command. He led the division, later renamed 2nd SS Division Das Reich, through the French campaign of 1940 and in the early stages of Operation Barbarossa. For his services in Russia, Hausser was awarded the Knight's Cross in 1941 and the Oak Leaves in 1943 (he was to get the Swords for his services in Normandy) and was severely wounded, losing an eye. After recovering he commanded the newly formed SS-Panzer Corps (renamed II SS Panzer Corps in June 1943) and against Hitler's explicit orders withdrew his troops from Kharkov to avoid encirclement, only to recapture the city in March 1943. He led 1st, 2nd and 3rd SS divisions during the Battle of Kursk. After Kursk, his Corps was reformed (substituting the 1st, 2nd and 3rd SS Panzer Divisions with the 9th and 10th SS divisions) and sent to France where he commanded them in the early stages of the Normandy Campaign. After the death of the commander of Seventh Army - Friedrich Dollmann - Hausser was promoted to the command of Seventh Army. During the Falaise encirclement, Hausser remained with his troops until he was wounded (shot through the jaw). Paul Hausser ended the war as an Oberstgruppenführer on Feldmarschall Albert Kesselring's staff.
Hausser married on November 9, 1912 Elisabeth Gérard (born 1891) and had one daughter (born 1913).
Summary of his military career
Hausser is an author of several books on Waffen-SS and German military.
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