Ludendorff, Erich

   general and politician; an early Hit-ler cohort known for ruthless ambition and organizational genius. Born to a landlord in the village of Kruszewnia near Posen, he followed two brothers into the army. First assigned to the General Staff in 1895, he took charge of mobi-lization in 1908 and was accountable for the Schlieffen Plan's materiel prepa-rations.
   Beginning World War I as deputy chief-of-staff to General Karl von Btilow's Second Army, Ludendorff soon won fame and the Pour le Mérite (Germany's highest honor) for his seizure of the Belgian fortress at Liege. On 22 August 1914, to preclude disaster in East Prussia,* he was appointed chief-of-staff to Paul von Hindenburg.* Using plans drafted by Colonel Max Hoffmann, the duumvirate of Hindenburg and Ludendorff won two colossal victories over Rus-sian armies, thereby saving East Prussia from defeat and creating a myth of invincibility. A further victory in November brought promotion to lieutenant-general and appointment as chief-of-staff in Hindenburg's new Supreme Eastern Command.
   Arrogant to a fault, Ludendorff was soon at loggerheads with Erich von Fal-kenhayn, Chief of the General Staff, over war strategy. In August 1916, after the Verdun fiasco, Falkenhayn was replaced by Hindenburg. Ludendorff, pro-moted to general of infantry, joined Hindenburg as first quartermaster general (deputy commander). By 1917 he was virtual dictator. After Theobald von Beth-mann Hollweg's chancellorship collapsed in July 1917, neither the Kaiser nor Bethmann's two successors could check Ludendorff's influence. Having forced the ruinous declaration of submarine war in January 1917, he imposed a peace on Soviet Russia (Brest-Litovsk in March 1918) of such brutality that it com-pelled Germany to keep over a million troops on the Eastern Front—soldiers crucial to the western campaign. His western offensive of March 1918, initially spectacular, stalled in May and was rolled back by a counteroffensive in July and August. The Allied operation broke the morale of Germany's army. On 29 September 1918, nearing nervous collapse, Ludendorff informed Germany's be-wildered government that an immediate armistice* was imperative. Yet the gov-ernment of Prinz Max* von Baden, after instituting contact with the Allies, was confronted by a Ludendorff who, with renewed courage, demanded an end to talks with the enemy. Too much for Max, Ludendorff was dismissed on 26 October.
   Briefly relocating to Sweden, Ludendorff returned to Berlin* in February 1919. When he was asked to appear before the National Assembly's* committee investigating Germany's military collapse, he launched a vehement campaign against the new Republic. Contacting disgruntled nationalists, he helped estab-lish the Nationale Vereinigung (National Union) with Wolfgang Kapp* and Waldemar Pabst.* Although the brief life of the March 1920 Kapp Putsch pre-vented his entry into that ill-fated regime, he avoided subsequent criminal pro-ceedings by moving to Bavaria.* Living in a Munich villa, he turned to writing in hopes of presenting himself as a modern Clausewitz. Above all, the writings reveal his total commitment to social Darwinism and a belief in war as intrinsic to nature.
   During the Weimar era Ludendorff is chiefly known for his 1922-1924 col-laboration with Hitler.* Motivated by his own anti-Semitic* nationalism, he envisioned himself the leader of Hitler's proposed "march on Berlin," but the collapse of the Beerhall Putsch* ended the dream. He served ineffectually in the Reichstag* during 1924-1928, first with the Volkischer-Block (an anti-Semitic umbrella group) and then without affiliation. His pitiful 1925 campaign for President, waged in opposition to Hindenburg, induced his isolation. He was thereafter banished to the political fringes; his ugly diatribes appeared regularly in the pages of V lkswarte, a journal he founded with his second wife, Mathilde Spiess. Despite a guise of comradeship, the relationship between Ludendorff and Hitler was quite strained. Yet upon the general's death, the Nazis' bombastic memorial celebration helped establish a short-lived Ludendorff cult.
   REFERENCES:Jablonsky, Nazi Party in Dissolution; Kitchen, Silent Dictatorship; NDB, vol. 15; Roger Parkinson, Tormented Warrior; Speier, "Ludendorff."

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

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  • Ludendorff, Erich —   Am 9. April 1865 in Kruszewnia bei Posen geboren, schlug Ludendorff ab 1881 die Offizierslaufbahn ein; er erhielt eine Generalstabsausbildung und war 1908 bis 1912 Chef der Aufmarschabteilung im Großen Generalstab. Am Beginn des 1. Weltkrieges… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Ludendorff, Erich — born April 9, 1865, Kruszewnia, near Poznań, Prussian Poland died Dec. 20, 1937, Munich, Ger. German general. In 1908 he joined the German army general staff and worked under Helmuth von Moltke in revising the Schlieffen Plan. In World War I he… …   Universalium

  • Ludendorff, Erich — ► (1865 1937) General alemán. Secundó el golpe de Estado de Hitler en 1923. Se presentó como candidato nazi en las elecciones presidenciales en 1925 …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ludendorff,Erich Friedrich Wilhelm von — Lu·den·dorff (lo͞odʹn dôrf ), Erich Friedrich Wilhelm von. 1865 1937. German general and politician. He was chief of staff in the east during World War I. * * * …   Universalium

  • Ludendorff — Ludendorff, Erich …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff — (* 9. April 1865 in Kruszewnia bei Schwersenz (heute Swarzędz), Preußen, heute Polen; † 20. Dezember 1937 in Tutzing) war ein deutscher General und Politiker. Im Ersten Weltkrieg hatte er als Erster Generalquartiermeister und Stellvertreter Paul… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Erich Ludendorff — Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff (* 9. April 1865 in Kruszewnia bei Schwersenz, Provinz Posen; † 20. Dezember 1937 in München[1]) war ein deutscher General und Politiker. Im Ersten Weltkrieg hatte er als Erster Generalquartiermeister und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ludendorff — Erich Ludendorff Erich Ludendorff Naissance 9 avril 1865 Kruszewnia (province prussienne de Posnanie), aujourd hui en Pologne Décès 22 décem …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Erich Ludendorff — Naissance 9 avril 1865 Kruszewnia (Posnanie, royaume de Prusse), aujourd hui en Pologne Décès 22  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Erich Ludendorff — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Erich Ludendorff. Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff (llamado erróneamente Erich von Ludendorff) (9 de abril de 1865 – 20 de diciembre de 1937, Tutzing, Baviera, Alemania) fue …   Wikipedia Español

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