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Since November 1938 Weidling served as Colonel of the 56th Artillery Regiment and participated in the Invasion of Poland in 1939.
In April 1940 he was appointed to the post of artillery commander of the 40th Panzer Corps, participating in the Battle of France and the first stages of Operation Barbarossa in the Soviet Union.
On January 1, 1942 Helmuth Weidling was appointed Commander of the 86th Infantry Division and a month later became a Major General. On January 1, 1943, he was promoted to Lieutenant General. On October 20 of the same year he was appointed General of the XLI Panzer Corps, and two months later he was promoted to General of Artillery.
On April 10, 1945 Weidling was relieved and assigned to the Reserve, two days later he was assigned Commander of the LVI Panzerkorps, by then the Battle of Berlin had already begun. On April 22, he was sentenced to death by firing squad, due to an erroneous information that Adolf Hitler had received, regarding his alleged flight from the front however Weidling saved his life by presenting himself directly in Hitler’s bunker with his report. Hitler was impressed with Weidling’s report and appointed him Commander of the Berlin Defense.
Weidling commented that he would have preferred to have been shot than to have received such a painful task. There were no longer men of age to be soldiers, given that the defense of Berlin was carried out by adults over 70 years old and by the Hitler Youth, young people between 14 and 18 years old, who would defend their city from the advance of the Red Army, with the fury that at that age you have.
Despite receiving the order not to surrender to the last man, Weidling surrendered the city on May 2, 1945, two days after Hitler’s suicide. After announcing the surrender of Berlin to the soldiers of the Third Reich, he suffered a cardiac arrest.
Artillery General Weidling died in 1955 prisoner of the Soviets. He was one of the few who obtained the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.
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