Lossow, Otto von

(1868-1938)
   general; a member of Bavaria's* rul-ing "triumvirate" at the time of the Beerhall Putsch.* Born in Hof in Upper Franconia, he joined a cadet corps and participated in the 1900-1901 China Expedition. After serving as Bavaria's liaison to the Prussian General Staff, he went to Turkey as an instructor in 1910. Assigned to the War Academy, he took part in Turkey's losing effort in the Balkan War of 1912-1913. Although he was posted to the Western Front in August 1914, he was reassigned to Con-stantinople in July 1915. As German military attache, he worked with War Minister Enver Pasha, advised Berlin* on Turkey's military situation, and co-ordinated weapons contracts for German industry.
   Already weakened by malaria, Lossow was emotionally devastated by Ger-many's defeat. He was attached to the Bavarian reserves and was briefly chief of the engineer corps; he became commander of Munich's infantry school in October 1919. Promoted to major-general, he was appointed chief-of-staff of the Reichswehr's* Seventh Division—the Bavarian division—in 1921. Late in 1922 the Army Command made him district commander of Bavaria.
   Until this point Lossow was a trusted subaltern of Hans von Seeckt,* Chief of the Heeresleitung. But his new duties made him accountable to both the Defense Ministry and the Bavarian Prime Minister, Eugen von Knilling*; from September 1923 he was also Gustav von Kahr's* subordinate. Since numerous Bavarians looked with disdain on "Red Berlin," Lossow fell under the sway of voices not guided by the Republic's best interests. (As a matter of context, Seeckt's own loyalty was suspect at the time.) A proponent of resisting the Ruhr occupation,* he procured illegal weaponry and appealed to Bavaria's Vaterlan-dische Verbande for assistance. He was initially impressed by Hitler,* but grew wary upon realizing the extent of his desire for confrontation with Berlin. Yet the Nazis' allure led him to defy Seeckt's order that the Volkischer Beobachter* be banned. Unable to displace Lossow, Seeckt watched helplessly as Kahr made him military commander-in-chief and thus a member of Bavaria's triumvirate with Kahr and Hans von Seisser,* chief of the Bavarian police. With his cohorts at Munich's BUrgerbraukeller on the evening of 8 November, Lossow was the first to cooperate with Hitler. He soon reversed himself, and his appeal for outside reinforcements helped secure Hitler's defeat.
   Compromised by the putsch, Lossow could no longer hold his Bavarian com-mand. To smooth negotiations with Berlin, Bavaria quickly replaced Lossow's chief-of-staff with an officer loyal to Seeckt. On 29 February 1924 Defense Minister Otto Gessler* dismissed Lossow as Landeskommandant and then dis-charged him. He was replaced by Friedrich Kress von Kressenstein; the only Bavarian general loyal to Berlin during Hitler's putsch, Kress had served with Lossow in Turkey. After interrogation at Hitler's trial, Lossow lived in seclusion.
   REFERENCES:Carsten, Reichswehr and Politics; Harold Gordon, Hitler; NDB, vol. 15.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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