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Erich Ludendorff

Kaiser Wilhelm II, his generals, admiral, and Chancellor. With the Kaiser are Erich Falkenhayn, Chief of the General Staff, the two eastern commanders Generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff (later successors to Falkenhayn). Admiral von Tirpitz is seated at the far right. German Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg, in uniform, stands behind von Hindenburg.
Text:
Aus großer Zeit
From the great times

Kaiser Wilhelm II, his generals, admiral, and Chancellor. With the Kaiser are Erich Falkenhayn, Chief of the General Staff, the two eastern commanders Generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff (later successors to Falkenhayn). Admiral von Tirpitz is seated at the far right. German Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg, in uniform, stands behind von Hindenburg.

Image text

Aus großer Zeit



From the great times



Kaiser Wilhelm II, his military and civil commanders including Erich Falkenhayn, Chief of the General Staff, the two eastern commanders Generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, Admiral von Tirpitz, and German Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg

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Chief of Staff of the German Second Army, on August 6, 1914, Erich Ludendorff bypassed the forts of Liège and bluffed the Belgian defenders of the city into surrendering.

Commanding the German Eighth Army in East Prussia in 1914, General von Prittwitz panicked after hearing news of the defeat at Gumbinnen and the advance of the Russian Second Army to the south. On August 20 German Chief of the General Staff von Moltke replaced him with General Paul von Hindenburg, brought from retirement, appointing Ludendorff his chief of staff.

With the formation of the Ninth Army, they were given command of the German armies in the East.

After the defeat at the Marne, Kaiser Wilhelm replaced Moltke with Falkenhayn. With the failure of the Race to the Sea to defeat France, Falkenhayn concluded that neither side could overcome the other's defensive line in the west. In command on the Eastern Front, Hindenburg and Ludendorff launched offensives to defeat Russia, offensives Falkenhayn thought meaningless despite the sometimes enormous German advances, such as those in the 1915 Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive.

After Falkenhayn's defeat in the seige of Verdun, the Kaiser replaced him as Chief of the General Staff with von Hindenburg.

In 1917, Germany attempted to starve Britain through unrestricted submarine warfare while defending in the west. After the construction of the Siegfried Line (the Hindenburg Line) and the strategic retreat of 1917, Germany had shortened and strengthened its lines. Submarine warfare, however, brought the United States into the war.

Germany's last attempts to win the war in its five offensives of 1918 nearly broke its army, and led to revolution at home.

Ludendorff fled to Sweden in disguise.

April 9, 1865

Germany

Roles held by Erich Ludendorff

Role Start Date End Date
Combatant - General

Books by or about Erich Ludendorff (4)