Alfred Jodl was born on 10 May 1890 in Bavaria into a family of army officers and embarked upon a military career. He served in the artillery during the First World War. Jodl was promoted in 1935 to the rank of Major General. Being a staunch supporter of the Nazi party, he was nominated, in 1939, to the position of Chief of Staff for war operations of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW). By virtue of this title and with Wilhelm Keitel at his side, he held a key role in the conduct of military operations. It is he who directed the most important operations of the Reich during the Second World War, with the exception of the attack against the Soviet Union.
Jodl was accused of having taken advantage of his position in the military hierarchy, of using his personal influence and his close contacts with the Fuhrer to promote the accession to power of the Nazi conspirators and their consolidation of power in Germany based on count 1 of the indictment. In addition Jodl participated in the military planning and in the preparation of the Nazi conspiracy aimed at waging wars of aggression according to counts 1 and 2 of the indictment. He authorised, directed and took part in acts constituting war crimes according to count 3, and in crimes against humanity, according to count 4 of the indictment.
In particular, Jodl kept up strong military pressure against Austria. It was he who signed the order given by Hitler to invade that country on the 11 March 1938. He also took an active part in the attack against Czechoslovakia. Together with Hitler, Keitel and Raeder, he made preparations for the invasion of Norway. He was also involved in the invasions of Denmark, the Netherlands and Greece.
In addition Jodl was accused of having given or signed a number of criminal orders. By way of example, in October 1944, he ordered the evacuation of all the inhabitants of northern Norway and the burning down of their houses.
On 7 May 1945, in Reims, Jodl signed the order for the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht. Shortly afterwards, he was arrested and indicted before the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal.
Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.