Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg was the most famous German commander to emerge from World War I. With the outbreak of war, Hindenburg was brought back from retirement and placed in command of German forces in East Prussia where the Russians to support the French mounted a massive offensive. Along with Ludendorff, he oversaw the brilliant German successes on the Eastern Front in 1914.

    Many authors credit Ludendorff, who was his chief of staff, more than Hindenburg for the victories. The Russian offensive forced the Germans to transfer forces from the attack on France. This saved Paris, but the victories at Tannenberg (August 1914) and the Primtkin Marshes shattered whole Russian armies. It was the beginning of the demise of Tsarist Russia, although the Russians fought on until 1917. Further operations by Hindenburg and Ludendorff succeeded in seizing Poland and the Baltic provinces from the Russians (1914-15). The successes in the East compared to the stagnant Western Front brought great prestige in Germany to both Hindenburg and Ludendorff. Hindenburg was appointed commander of Germany's Eastern Armies (September 1914). Hindenburg was promoted to Field Marshal and replaced General Falkenhayn as commander of all German and Central Powers armies after the costly and ultimately failed attack on Verdun. Hindenburg made Ludendorff quartermaster general. Hindenburg as military commander with Ludendorff at his side became in essence dictators of Germany, over shawdowing the Kaiser. They intervened intensively in civilian affairs. They controlled both industry and labor in an effort to mobilize Germany for total war. They did not, however, take steps to maintain agricultural production or to effectively ration food supplies, a filure which was to cause great suffering on the home front and the breaking of civilian morale. They had some military successes. They stopped Allied ooffenses and strengthened the Hindenburg Line, pulling back to a line from Lens through Saint-Quentin to Reims. They defeated the Romanian Army and forced Russia to make peace, accepting crushing terms (1917).

    Hindenburg and Ludendorff with the forces freed from the Eastern Front launced the final German offensive tht failed in Spring 1918. The French Army nearly broke, but bolstered by newly arrived American troops, the Allied lines held. German losses in the offensive weakened their position. The French Army after Verdun and other battles was no longer capable of offensive operations, however, the Americans and British launched an offensive which cracked the Hindenburg Line (September 1918). Ludendorff had to resign, but Hindenburg retained his command of the army.

    When the Allies refused to negotiate with the German military, Hindenburg turned control over to civilian politicans who negotiated the Armistace (November 1918). He managed to get his defeated army out of Belgium and France and restore order in the major cities where revolts had broken out.

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