Franz Xaver Dorsch
Franz Xaver Dorsch was a German civil engineer
Civil engineer
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering; the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.Originally, a...

 who became the chief engineer of the Organisation Todt
Organisation Todt
The Todt Organisation, was a Third Reich civil and military engineering group in Germany named after its founder, Fritz Todt, an engineer and senior Nazi figure...

 (OT), a civil and military engineering group in Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 that was responsible for a huge range of engineering projects at home and in the territories occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. He played a leading role in many of the Third Reich's biggest engineering projects, including the construction of the Siegfried Line
Siegfried Line
The original Siegfried line was a line of defensive forts and tank defences built by Germany as a section of the Hindenburg Line 1916–1917 in northern France during World War I...

 (Westwall), the Atlantic Wall
Atlantic Wall
The Atlantic Wall was an extensive system of coastal fortifications built by Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1944 along the western coast of Europe as a defense against an anticipated Allied invasion of the mainland continent from Great Britain.-History:On March 23, 1942 Führer Directive Number 40...

 and numerous other fortifications in Germany and occupied Europe. Following the war, he founded the Dorsch Consult consulting engineering company in Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...



Dorsch was born in Illertissen
Illertissen is a town in the district of Neu-Ulm in Bavaria. It is situated approximately 20 km south from Ulm nearby the river Iller.-Coat of arms:...

 in the Allgäu
The Allgäu is a southern German region in Swabia. It covers the south of Bavarian Swabia and southeastern Baden-Württemberg. The region stretches from the prealpine lands up to the Alps...

 region of Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

. He served in the German Army during the First World War from 1 June 1917 to 2 January 1919, leaving with the rank of sergeant. After demobilising he joined the paramilitary Freikorps
Freikorps are German volunteer military or paramilitary units. The term was originally applied to voluntary armies formed in German lands from the middle of the 18th century onwards. Between World War I and World War II the term was also used for the paramilitary organizations that arose during...

 and participated in the crushing of the Bavarian Soviet Republic
Bavarian Soviet Republic
The Bavarian Soviet Republic, also known as the Munich Soviet Republic was, as part of the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the short-lived attempt to establish a socialist state in form of a council republic in the Free State of Bavaria. It sought independence from the also recently proclaimed...

 in May 1919. Later that year he enrolled as a student of civil engineering at the Technische Hochschule Stuttgart, now the University of Stuttgart
University of Stuttgart
The University of Stuttgart is a university located in Stuttgart, Germany. It was founded in 1829 and is organized in 10 faculties....

, and qualified as an architect in 1928. From 1929 to 1933 he worked with Fritz Todt
Fritz Todt
Fritz Todt was a German engineer and senior Nazi figure, the founder of Organisation Todt. He died in a plane crash during World War II.- Life :Todt was born in Pforzheim to a father who owned a small factory...

, later to become the founder of the Organisation Todt, at the Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 engineering firm of Sager und Wörner.

Both men were early supporters of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. Dorsch joined the embryonic Nazi Party and its paramilitary wing, the Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

, in 1922 and he participated in the unsuccessful Beer Hall Putsch
Beer Hall Putsch
The Beer Hall Putsch was a failed attempt at revolution that occurred between the evening of 8 November and the early afternoon of 9 November 1923, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff, and other heads of the Kampfbund unsuccessfully tried to seize power...

 of 8–9 November 1923. He was later entitled to wear the Golden Party Badge
Golden Party Badge
The Golden Party Badge was a special badge of the Nazi Party. The first 100,000 members who had joined and had uninterrupted service in the Party were given the right to wear it...

 and the Blood Order
Blood Order
The Blood Order , officially known as the Decoration of 9 November 1923 , was one of the most prestigious decorations in the Nazi Party...

 of the Nazi Party in recognition of his early service. In July 1933, Todt was appointed by Hitler as the Generalinspektor für das deutsche Straßenwesen ("Inspector General for German Roadways"), charged with the task of building the German autobahn network. Todt recruited Dorsch to serve as his deputy and Leiter (head) of the OT Zentrale office in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, working on the autobahn project. In 1938 Dorsch played a leading role in the building of the Siegfried Line
Siegfried Line
The original Siegfried line was a line of defensive forts and tank defences built by Germany as a section of the Hindenburg Line 1916–1917 in northern France during World War I...

 (known as the Westwall in German), a vast defence system stretching more than 630 kilometres (391.5 mi) along German's western borders from the Netherlands to Switzerland.

From December 1941 he directed the construction of the Atlantic Wall
Atlantic Wall
The Atlantic Wall was an extensive system of coastal fortifications built by Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1944 along the western coast of Europe as a defense against an anticipated Allied invasion of the mainland continent from Great Britain.-History:On March 23, 1942 Führer Directive Number 40...

 along the western coastline of occupied Europe, though his work was criticised by the military for ignoring input from the Army and Navy. On 8 February 1942 Fritz Todt was killed in an air crash. He was replaced by Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

, Hitler's chief architect. Speer retained overall control of the OT as Minister of Armaments and War Production but gave Dorsch the authority to run it as he saw fit, in effect making him the operational chief of the OT. In recognition of his service, Dorsch was awarded the Knight's Cross of the War Merit Cross
War Merit Cross
The War Merit Cross was a decoration of Nazi Germany during the Second World War, which could be awarded to civilians as well as military personnel...

 with Swords on 13 May 1943.

However, the relationship between Speer and Dorsch was strained. A major bone of contention was the fact that the OT only had responsibility for building projects outside the Reich. It was now increasingly being employed for construction work at home and needed to have control of the domestic construction industry. Dorsch and Speer fought a bitter battle over the issue, with Dorsch demanding that he be put in charge of all building activity inside the Reich so that new projects could be managed by the OT. Dorsch was secretly an ally of Speer's arch-enemy, Martin Bormann
Martin Bormann
Martin Ludwig Bormann was a prominent Nazi official. He became head of the Party Chancellery and private secretary to Adolf Hitler...

, who recruited him as an agent of the Parteikanzlei (the Nazi Party head office) to spy on Speer; as Speer later put it, Dorsch made him feel "insecure in my own Ministry". In the spring of 1944, Dorsch instigated a move to oust Speer; although he was unsuccessful, Speer's position was seriously weakened.

Hitler took command of the OT away from Speer and gave it to Dorsch in April 1944. Dorsch was invited to submit proposals for a scheme, which Speer vigorously opposed, to move German industrial facilities into "concrete factories" or underground facilities to protect them from Allied bombing. Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

, the Reich Minister of Aviation, also ordered Dorsch to undertake the construction of underground aircraft hangars for the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

. Dorsch was put in charge of the armaments ministry's building office and served as the minister's deputy as general commissioner for construction industry matters, as well as retaining his existing post as the head of the OT. He was thus in charge of virtually all the Third Reich's building projects in the final year of the war. Hitler's directive to build bombproof factories gave Dorsch the authority he needed to take control of the whole German construction industry and by September 1944 he controlled a workforce of 780,000 people, mostly forced labourers from abroad, who were engaged in construction projects within the Reich.

Dorsch avoided prosecution following the war and was commissioned by the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

to write a 1,000-page study of the Organisation Todt, which was published in 1947. In 1950, he set up the firm of "Reg.Baumeister Xaver Dorsch, Ingenieurbüro" which became the consulting engineering company Dorsch Consult in 1951 and Dorsch Gruppe in 2006. The company now employs 1,600 people and is Germany's largest independent planning and consulting company.

Xaver Dorsch died in Munich on 8 November 1986.
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