The Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) was part of the command structure of the Wehrmacht armed forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. Created in 1938, the OKW had nominal oversight over the German Heer, the Kriegsmarine, and the Luftwaffe.
Rivalry with the armed services branch commands, mainly with the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH), prevented the OKW from becoming a unified German General Staff in an effective chain of command. However it did coordinate operations among the three services. During the war the OKW, subordinate to Adolf Hitler as Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht, acquired more and more operational powers. By 1942 OKW had responsibility for all theaters except for the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union. Hitler manipulated the bipolar system to keep ultimate decisions in his own hands.
The OKW was indicted as a criminal organization after the war, but was ultimately acquitted.
Oberkommando der Wehrmacht in In the Presence of Mine Enemies
With Germany's triumphs in both the Second and the Third World Wars, Oberkommando der Wehrmacht became the central governing office of the Wehrmacht of the Greater German Reich. It was responsible for the day-to-day running of Germany's empire, including the deployment of troops in occupied countries and collecting the annual tributes from those countries.