Oskar von Watter

Oskar Walther Gerhard Julius Freiherr[lower-alpha 1] von Watter (born 2 September 1861 in Ludwigsburg; died 23 August 1939 in Berlin) was a German Generalleutnant, and came from an old Pomeranian noble family.

Oskar Freiherr von Watter
Born(1861-09-02)2 September 1861
Ludwigsburg, Kingdom of Württemberg
Died23 August 1939(1939-08-23) (aged 77)
Berlin, Germany
Allegiance German Empire
 Weimar Republic
Years of service1879–1920
Commands held
Battles/warsWorld War I
AwardsPour le Mérite with Oakleaves

World War I

In April 1913 Von Watter took over the command of the 10th Brigade of Field Artillery, which he kept until 3 March 1915. With this force, General von Watter took part in the early fighting of World War I in France. Subsequently, he took over the 54th Infantry Division, which he commanded until 5 March 1918. This division was initially also deployed in France, but it was later sent to fight on the eastern front by the river Narew, and from September 1915 was again at the western front. On 23 December 1917 he was awarded the Pour le Mérite for military bravery.[1] Until 11 November 1918 he was commander of the XXVI Reserve Corps. A few days before the end of the war, on 3 November 1918, he was awarded the oak leaves of the "Pour le Mérite" (signifying a second award).[2]


On the orders of the Reich government, units of the Reichswehr and Freikorps under the command of Von Watter marched into the Ruhr area on 2 April 1920 and suppressed the Ruhr Uprising taking place. After extrajudicial shootings resulting in more than a thousand dead, on 12 April 1920 Von Watter issued the order that from then on, "illegal behaviour" would be dealt with – nine days after Reich President Friedrich Ebert had forbidden the summary trials taking place.

On his initiative, to the south of the castle Horst in Essen in 1934 a monument was erected in memory of the Freikorps soldiers who died in 1920 during the suppression of the Ruhr Uprising.

Von Watter died on 23 August 1939 in Berlin and was buried in the Invalid's Cemetery.


  1. Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.


  1. "Orden Pour le Mérite". Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  2. "Oskar Freiherr von Watter". The Prussian Machine. Retrieved 22 December 2012.