Werner Thomas Ludwig Freiherr von Fritsch (4 August 1880 – 22 September 1939) was a prominent German general. A veteran of World War I, Fritsch reached the rank of general in 1932. He was initially an enthusiastic supporter of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. However, he soon grew to distrust the SS, and was a vocal critic of Hitler's plans to launch a war by 1938. Displeased, Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Göring brought charges in early 1938 that Fritsch was a homosexual, forcing Fritsch to resign that February. While a subsequent inquiry acquitted him, Fritsch's reputation was ruined, and Hitler had firmer control over the Wehrmacht. Still, Fritsch supported Nazism's anti-Semitic policies. When World War II broke out in September 1939, Fritsch was recalled to duty. While inspecting the lines in Poland, a bullet hit his leg, severing an artery. Fritsch bled to death within a minute.
When the Second World War broke out in October 1938, a conspiracy, including Werner von Fritsch sought to overthrow Adolf Hitler. The plot, however, was quickly detected by the German government, and the conspirators were either killed or arrested and transferred to Dachau. The German government took great care to insure that the plot was kept out of the press. Even as late as January 1939, the full details of the scheme were unknown to many Germans.
Subsequent investigations by the SS led to the "discovery" of more plotters, particularly those who'd associated with Fritsch in the past.
Harry Turtledove spells the name "Fritsche". However, given Fritsch's opposition to war in 1938, "Fritsche" is most probably Werner von Fritsch.