Keitel, Wilhelm (1882--1946), a German army officer. He signed the armistice with France in 1940, commanded the German invasion of Russia in 1941, and, in 1945, signed the German surrender to the Russians. Keitel joined the army in 1901. By winning Adolf Hitler's confidence, Keitel became high commander of the German armed forces in 1938. In 1940 he was made a field marshal. He was Hitler's military adviser at many diplomatic conferences. He was hanged for war crimes.