Kesselring, Albert (älˈbĕrt kĕsˈəlrĭng) [key], 1885–1960, German field marshal. An artillery staff officer in World War I, he later joined the air force and rapidly rose in rank during the Hitler regime. In World War II, he commanded air operations in Poland, on the Western Front, in central Russia, and in the Mediterranean area. Late in 1943, Kesselring was made supreme commander in Italy, and in Mar., 1945, he replaced Rundstedt as commander in chief in the West. He was convicted of war crimes by a British tribunal in 1947, but his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Freed by an act of clemency in 1952, he was elected (1953) president of the Stahlhelm, a veterans' organization in West Germany.
See his memoirs (1953; tr. 1953, repr. 1970).
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