Gau Essen
Gau of Nazi Germany
1928–1945
Flag of Gau Essen
Flag
Coat of arms of Gau Essen
Coat of arms

Gau Essen on the left, bordering The Netherlands
CapitalEssen
Area 
• 
1,900 km2 (730 sq mi)
Population 
• 
2800000
Government
Gauleiter 
• 1928–1945
Josef Terboven
History 
• Established
1 August 1928
8 May 1945
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Rhine Province
North Rhine-Westphalia
Today part ofGermany

The Gau Essen was an administrative division of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945 in the northern parts of the Prussian Rhine Province. Before that, from 1928 to 1933, it was the regional subdivision of the Nazi Party in that area.

History

Establishment and government

The Nazi Gau (plural Gaue) system was originally established in a party conference on 22 May 1926, in order to improve administration of the party structure. From 1933 onward, after the Nazi seizure of power, the Gaue increasingly replaced the German states as administrative subdivisions in Germany.[1]

At the head of each Gau stood a Gauleiter, a position which became increasingly more powerful, especially after the outbreak of the Second World War, with little interference from above. Local Gauleiters often held government positions as well as party ones and were in charge of, among other things, propaganda and surveillance and, from September 1944 onward, the Volkssturm and the defense of the Gau.[1][2]

World War II

The position of Gauleiter in Essen was held by Josef Terboven throughout the history of the Gau.[3][4] After the German conquest of Norway in 1940 Hitler promoted Terboven Reichskommissar for the occupied country, where he ruled with almost absolute power. He committed suicide on 8 May 1945 by detonating 50 kilograms of explosives in a bunker.[5] While Terboven was in Norway, the Deputy Gauleiter, Fritz Schlessmann, ran the Gau in an acting capacity.[6]

As Gauleiter, Schlessmann had responsibility for air raid defense measures in Essen throughout the war. As a large industrial center and the site of the Krupp armaments works, Essen was a frequent target of Allied bombing raids. In the fall of 1944, Schlessmann was placed in charge of the local Volkssturm forces in Essen and was also charged with improving the fortifications along the area of the Westwall defensive line adjacent to his Gau. He was promoted to the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer on 9 November 1944.[7]

From February to March 1945, Operation Veritable saw the allies advance further into the Gau.

The Gau had a size of 1,900 km2 (2,741 sq mi) and a population of 2,800,000, which placed it in mid-table for size and population in the list of Gaue.[8]

Allied invasion and occupation

Near the end of World War II, the Gau was invaded by the western allies, who would gradually capture its territory until the end of the war. The timeline of the allied advance is detailed in the table below.

Date of capture Location Ref
8 February 1945 Wyler [9]
8 February 1945 Frasselt [9]
8-10 February 1945 Kranenburg [10][9]
8-12 February 1945 Kleve [9]
9 February 1945 Materborn [de] [9]
17 February 1945 Moyland [11]
19 February 1945 Goch [11]
18 February-3 March 1945 Uedem [12]
21 February 1945 Wertzhof [13]
22-27 February 1945 Weeze [13][14]
25 February 1945 Grotendonk [14]
26 February-1 March 1945 Kervenheim [de] [14][15]
27 February 1945 Kalkar [14]
1 March 1945 Baal (Hückelhoven) [de] [16]
1 March 1945 Wemb [16]
3 March 1945 Winnekendonk [de] [16]
3 March 1945 Kevelaer [16]
3 March 1945 Geldern
3 March 1945 Walbeck (Geldern) [de] [17]
3 March 1945 Straelen
4 March 1945 Moers [18]
4 March 1945 Issum [18]
4 March 1945 Hamb [de] [18]
4 March 1945 Marienbaum [18]
5 March 1945 Sonsbeck [18]
5 March 1945 Homberg
5 March 1945 Rheinhausen
5 March 1945 Kamp-Lintfort [19]
7 March 1945 Rheinberg [20]
8 March 1945 Xanten [21]
9 March 1945 Veen [de] [22]
23 March 1945 Dinslaken
26-27 March 1945 Millingen [de] [23]
26-27 March 1945 Gahlen [de] [24]
28 March 1945 Haldern [25]
31 March 1945 Emmerich [26]
7 April 1945 Altenessen [27]
11 April 1945 Essen [27]
12 April 1945 Duisburg [28]
15 April 1945 Werden
15 April 1945 Kettwig

References

  1. ^ a b "Die NS-Gaue" [The Nazi Gaue]. dhm.de (in German). Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  2. ^ "The Organization of the Nazi Party & State". nizkor.org. The Nizkor Project. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Übersicht der NSDAP-Gaue, der Gauleiter und der Stellvertretenden Gauleiter zwischen 1933 und 1945" [Overview of Nazi Gaue, the Gauleiter and assistant Gauleiter from 1933 to 1945]. zukunft-braucht-erinnerung.de (in German). Zukunft braucht Erinnerung. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Gau Essen". verwaltungsgeschichte.de (in German). Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Josef Terboven (1898-1945)". historisches-centrum.de (in German). Historisches Centrum Hagen. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  6. ^ Michael D. Miller & Andreas Schulz: Gauleiter: The Regional Leaders of the Nazi Party and Their Deputies, 1925-1945, Volume I (Herbert Albrecht - H. Wilhelm Hüttmann). R. James Bender Publishing, 2012, p.21. ISBN 1-932970-21-5.
  7. ^ Miller & Schulz 2021, pp. 205–206.
  8. ^ "Gau Köln-Aachen" [Gau Cologne-Aix-la-Chapelle]. rheinische-geschichte.lvr.de (in German). Landschaftsverband Rheinland. Archived from the original on 22 October 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e https://blattus.de/archiv/buch/Blutiger%20Winter/texte/bluwi-3.html
  10. ^ Kevelaerer Enzyklopädie
  11. ^ a b https://blattus.de/archiv/buch/Blutiger%20Winter/texte/bluwi-5.html
  12. ^ "Der Krieg in Uedem vor 75 Jahren – HVV Uedem" (in German). Retrieved 2023-09-03.
  13. ^ a b https://blattus.de/archiv/buch/Blutiger%20Winter/texte/bluwi-6.html
  14. ^ a b c d https://blattus.de/archiv/buch/Blutiger%20Winter/texte/bluwi-7.html
  15. ^ https://blattus.de/archiv/buch/Blutiger%20Winter/texte/bluwi-8.html
  16. ^ a b c d https://blattus.de/archiv/buch/Blutiger%20Winter/texte/bluwi-8.html
  17. ^ "Als für Walbeck der Krieg zu Ende ging". www.hvv-walbeck.de (in German). 2020-12-03. Retrieved 2023-09-02.
  18. ^ a b c d e https://blattus.de/archiv/buch/Blutiger%20Winter/texte/bluwi-11.html
  19. ^ "Kamp-Lintfort | Kriegsende: Als die Amerikaner in Kamp-Lintfort einmarschierten". www.kamp-lintfort.de (in German). Retrieved 2023-09-04.
  20. ^ https://blattus.de/archiv/buch/Blutiger%20Winter/texte/bluwi-12.html
  21. ^ Germany, Kirche und Leben, Münster (2020-03-12). "Xanten gedenkt der Zerstörung des Viktor-Doms vor 75 Jahren". www.kirche-und-leben.de (in German). Retrieved 2023-09-02.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  22. ^ https://blattus.de/archiv/buch/Blutiger%20Winter/texte/bluwi-13.html
  23. ^ https://millingen-online.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Das_Gefecht_am_27-03-1945_Stand_11-03-16.pdf
  24. ^ USA-SS-Chronology. S. 456
  25. ^ "Kriegsgräberstätte: Rees-Haldern-Kriegsgräberstätte - Bau, Pflege und Instandsetzung | Volksbund.de". kriegsgraeberstaetten.volksbund.de. Retrieved 2023-09-04.
  26. ^ Tenbörg, Torsten (2020-03-16). "Emmerich: So endete der Zweite Weltkrieg an Ostern 1945". www.nrz.de (in German). Retrieved 2023-09-04.
  27. ^ a b "Essen | Das Jahr 1945" (in German). Retrieved 2023-09-02.
  28. ^ Heinrich Averdunk (Neu bearbeitet von Walter Ring) (1949), Geschichte der Stadt Duisburg (2 ed.), Aloys Henn Verlag, pp. 312–336

Sources