Collection MF321-MF322 - HALDER, GENERALOBERST FRANZ: JOURNAL, 1938-1942

Key Information

Reference code





  • 1939-1942 (Creation)

Level of description



2 reels

Scope and content

The Private War Journal of Generaloberst Franz Halder, Chief of the General Staff of the Supreme Command of the German Army, 1939- 1942 is a microfilmed copy of the desk journal of Generaloberst Franz Halder. In 1938, Generaloberst [Col Gen] Franz Halder took office as Chief of the General Staff of the German Army, Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH), openly declaring himself opposed to the Nazi leadership of the German Armed Forces. By 1939, however, Hitler had begun to direct much of the operational decision making of the OKH. Although Halder would continue to voice opposition to the more impractical military directives, he nonetheless complied with the strategic demands proposed by Hitler and the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), the Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces. From 1938-1942, Halder's duties were confined to operational decision making and desk planning, analysing reports sent to him by his subordinates and conferring with officers of the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH), the Supreme Command of the German Army, over administrative, operational, and logistical matters. Halder's short-hand notes and daily entries in his Kriegstagebücher summarised each day's work and acted as an aide mémoire to events, 1938-1942. The journal reflects the detail, routine, and bureaucracy encountered by Halder and his staff, as well as the decision making process between Halder, the General Staff, and Adolf Hitler. Kept by Halder personally, the journal should not be confused with the official War Diaries kept by the Supreme Command of the German Army. Intended to serve as a notebook, the diary does not furnish a complete record of all activities, 1939-1942; rather it reflects the German High Command decision making structure as well as the character of many German senior officers, including FM (Karl Rudolf) Gerd von Runstedt, FM Erich von Manstein, and Col Gen Heinz Guderian. After the war, the journal was introduced by the Prosecution as a documentary exhibit in the record of the case entitled the United States of America vs Wilhelm von Leeb et al, brought before Military Tribunal V (FM Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb, Commander Army Group North, was tried for minor war crimes in 1948). The journal was subsequently translated and reduced to typewritten form from the original notes under the guidance of Phillip Willner, Chief of the Reporting Branch (German) of the Office of Chief of Counsel for War Crimes, Office of the Military Government for Germany. It was then reviewed with Halder for continuity and published soon thereafter.

System of arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born Würzburg, Germany, 30 Jun 1884; entered 3 Royal Bavarian Field Artillery Regt, 1902; Second Lt, 1904; attended Artillery School, Munich, Germany, 1906-1907; attended Bavarian Staff College, 1911-1912; promoted to Lt, 1912; Ordnance Officer, 3 (Bavarian) Infantry Corps Headquarters, 1914; General Staff Officer, 6 (Bavarian) Div, 1915; Capt, 1915; Staff Officer, German 2 Army Headquarters, 1917; General Staff Officer, German 4 Army, 1917; General Staff Officer, Bavarian Cavalry Div, 1917; General Staff Officer, Supreme Commander, East, 1917; Staff Officer, German 15 Reserve Corps Headquarters, 1917; Staff Officer, Army Group Crown Prince Rupprecht, West, 1917; Adjutant, Bavarian General Staff, 1918; Training Branch, Reichswehr Ministry, 1919; Tactics Instructor, Staff Courses, Munich, Germany, 1921; Officer Commanding 4 Mountain Battery, 7 Artillery Regt; Maj, 1923; Director of General Staff Training, Munich, 1927-1929; Lt Col, 1929; Chief of Staff, Wehrkreis, the Divisional Military District of the German Army, Westphalia, 1931; Col, 1931; Maj Gen, 1934; General Officer Commanding, German 7 Div, 1935; Lt Gen, 1936; Commander, German Army Manoeuvres Staff, 1936; Head, Training Branch, General Staff of the Army, 1936; General of the Artillery, 1938; Chief of the General Staff, Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH), Supreme Command of the German Army, 1938; awarded Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, 1939; suffered nervous collapse, having been forced to alter plans at the last moment for a German winter offensive in the West, 1940; Col Gen, 1940; instructed staff to formulate plans for an Eastern offensive, 1940; removed from office following the failure of German advances in the East, 1942; arrested by the Gestapo on suspicion of complicity in the Jul assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler's life, 1944; dismissed from the German Army, 1945; imprisoned at Flossenburg and Dachau concentration camps, 1945; prisoner of war, United States, 1945-1947; released, 1947; Head, Historical Liaison Group, Historical Division, US Army, 1948-1961; awarded Meritorious Civilian Service Award of the USA, 1961; died 2 Apr 1972; Halder's journal first published in translated form, 1950.

Custodial history

University Publications of America, Inc., Bethesda, MD, USA.

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies may be printed off the microfilm/microfiche for research purposes and are charged at cost.

Enquiries concerning the copyright of the original material should be addressed to University Publications of America Inc.

Language of material

  • English
  • German

Script of material

Finding aids

This collection level description.

Existence and location of originals

US Attorney General's Office

Related descriptions

Publication note

Published forms of journal available in Arnold Lissance (ed.), The Halder Diaries (Infantry Journal, Washington, DC, 1950) and Charles Burdick and Hans-Adolf Jacobsen (eds.), The Halder War Diary, 1939-1942 (Greenhill, London, 1988).


Compiled Sep 1999

Alternative identifier(s)

Place access points

Genre access points

Rules and/or conventions used

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000.


Accession area