Walter Nicolai 
(01.08.1873 - 04.05.1947)
place of birth:  Braunschweig  (Brunswick)
Königreich Preußen:  OHL,. Oberstleutnant


Imperial German officer Walter Nicolai was born to the family of a former infantry captain/company commander, who died when Walter was only four years of age. His mother came from a simple peasant family but was able to get her son into the cadet corps, where he spent his formative years. Beginning his military service in 1893 as a lieutenant in an infantry regiment in Gottingen, Nicolai boosted his service career by marrying his commander's daughter.

As a student at Berlin's Military Academy, Walter specialized in foreign languages, learning Russian, French, and English. As an officer assigned to do intelligence work at the Great General Staff, Nicolai also became proficient in Japanese. Following the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, he was sent to the military intelligence section of I. Army Corps in Königsberg where he studied Russian military doctrine. He also served as a company commander in an infantry regiment before finally landing in 1912 back with the Prussian Great General Staff to temporarily head up its intelligence section, a post he would keep until war's end.

Major Nicolai
spent his pre-war years in Berlin working with Ludendorff to build up Germany's intelligence capabilities while improving relations with sister security services in Austria and Italy. At war's outbreak, Nicolai became the permanent commander of OHL's intelligence and counter-intelligence office, Section IIIb,
overseeing 90 officers and military civil servants and heading up the war propaganda effort as well. His chief task during the war, however, remained the managing of the flow of reconnaissance information. There were some field commanders, most notably the Crown Prince, who greatly resented Nicolai's "meddling" when he placed his intelligence officers, or "OHL spies", within the staffs of numbered armies. Major Nicolai also cultivated a heated rivalry with Colonel Max Bauer as Section IIIb delved deeper into Germany's domestic policies.

As the war
ground to a halt, now Lieutenant Colonel Walter Nicolai took the cessation of hostilities in stride, but his efforts to find employment within post-war Germany's Reichswehr proved fruitless. Upon retiring from military service in early 1920, he received a ceremonial promotion to full colonel and kept the right to wear a uniform. Reichswehr commander Hans von Seeckt indicated to Nicolai that he should keep himself ready should the Fatherland ever need his extensive intel experience, but neither the Weimar Republic nor the Third Reich ever thought to call him back into duty. Despite this fact, in 1945 the Russian NKVD apprehended the former security chief at his home in Nordhausen, believing that he had been a key figure in Hitler's intelligence service. Nicolai died in 1947 while still under arrest at the Butyrka Hospital in Moscow.
 

 
 
Oberstleutnant .................. 27.01.1918
 
 
 

  
 
Curriculum Vitae
   
00.00.1893 Sekonde-Lieutenant
22.03.1893 2. Kurhessisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 82 - Göttingen
01.10.1897 2. Kurhessisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 82 - Göttingen   (Bn Adjutant)
01.10.1900 Preußische Kriegsakademie - Berlin
22.04.1902 Oberleutant
22.07.1903 2. Kurhessisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 82 - Göttingen
01.04.1904 Großer Generalstab - Berlin 
00.10.1904 Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität - Berlin  (Japanese Language Studies)
01.07.1906 I. Armeekorps - Königsberg  (Graf von der Goltz' military intel chief, IIIb)
11.09.1907 Hauptmann
22.03.1910 3. Thüringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 71 - Erfurt  (Coy Cdr)
20.07.1912 Großer Generalstab - Berlin  (Cdr Sektion IIIb - Military Intelligence)
01.10.1912 Major
   
Great War
   
03.08.1914 Großes Hauptquartier, Chef des IIIb - Erkundungsdienst   (Secret Intelligence Section Chief at Great HQ)
27.01.1918 Oberstleutnant
27.02.1920 Oberst  (Charakter)
27.02.1920 zur Disposition gestellt
   
   
 

06.05.1914

 

 

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