Erich von Manstein was born in Berlin on November 24, 1887 as Fritz-Erich von Lewinski, the son of General of the Artillery Eduard von Lewinski and his wife Helene. His father died when he was only 9 years old, and he was adopted by Georg von Manstein. Manstein (the younger) joined the army at age 13, entering into the Kadettenkorps(Cadet training corps) in Lichterfelde outside Berlin.
Manstein served with distinction in the first World War, with the ranks of Oberleutnant and (later)Hauptmann, also receiving two years of education in the Preußischen Kriegsakademie(Prussian War Academy) during the war.
Rising through the ranks of the Hundred Thousand Man Army of the Weimar Republic, 1939 found Manstein as Chief of Staff of the eastern High Command. After the conquest of France, Manstein serves almost exclusively on the eastern front, notably being involved in a failed attempt to relieve Paulus at Stalingrad.
Manstein was tried before the Nuremberg war crime tribunal and aquitted, but four years later, in 1949, he was tried again by a British military court in Hamburg and condemned to twelve years imprisonment. In October 1949 he starts serving his sentence in the Werl penitentiary of Westphalia. He is prematurely released in 1953 due to an eye disease.
Erich von Manstein died peacefully in Irschenhausen, Upper Bavaria on June 11, 1973.
This page is almost entirely based upon http://www.dhm.de/lemo/html/biografien/MansteinErich/, but abridged and translated from German