German general, Erich Ludendorff photo by Unknown author-Wikimedia

Top 10 Outstanding Facts about Erich Ludendorff


General Erich Ludendorff was a German general who rose to fame in the latter stages of World War I, he was from a family of minor nobles on Kruszewnia in the Prussian province of Posen.

He was famous for the victory of the battle of Tannenberg and was removed from his position for being meddlesome in the political affairs of Germany.

He became a prominent leader, and a promotor of the myth stab-in-back, which blamed the defeat of Germany by treasons and conspiracy by Marxists and Jews.

He contributed to the development of the Nazi movement with his radical conspiracies and devoted his final years to the study of military theory.

Here are the top 10 outstanding facts about Erich Ludendorff.

1.He was the son of an aristocrat

Born on April 9th, 1865 near Posen in the province of Posen and the kingdom of Prussia, the Erich family was a minor noble Junker class of pre-1914 Germany.

He was an excellent student, received his early schooling from his maternal aunt, and knew mathematics.

Despite his later obsession with wars and military ideologies, he grew up in a happy and stable home.

His brilliance was displayed when he passed the entrance exams for the cadet school with distinction. His excellent performance led him to be put in a class two years ahead of his peers.

2.He was quick in climbing the ranks

General Paul von Hindenburg, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Erich Ludendorff photo by
Robert Sennecke –Wikimedia

He was first commissioned as a subpattern into the 57th Infantry Regiment in 1885.Erichs quick wit handed him a promotion to Lieutenant and served in the 2nd marine Battalion, based at Kei and Wilhelmshaven, and in the 8th Grenadier Guard at Frankfurt.

He progressed to join the War Academy, where he was recommended to the general staff by general Mackle to which he was appointed chief of staff in 1894.

He directed the mobilization section from 1904 to 1913. It’s here he met close friend Max Bauer, a brilliant artillery officer. With a ripening career ahead of him, he became a fully-fledged colonel by 1911.

His main focus was writing detailed orders to mobilize troops into position. He was famously known as “the old sinner.”

3.He was an aggressive individual

As a rising warrior, Erich was more concerned with facts that can merge into action. He disregarded convections that barred military offices from politics.

In 1913, he openly criticized ruling social democrats for pouring investments in the navy, he vigorously lobbied for Reichstag to receive additional men.

Though he received funds for the new corps, he paid the price for his blunt and aggressive personality, he obtained the grudge of the government officials.

They demanded the outspoken Erich be cut from the general staff. He was transferred to the regimental duties as a commander of Lower Rhine Fusiliers.

4.He was part of the Schlieffen Plan

Ludendorff at 30 years found himself working on the staff of Alfred Von Schlieffen, the brain behind the prewar Germany strategy.

The plan proposed for the Kaiser’s army to invade France by way of a flanking attack through Belgium. Erich assisted with the polishing of the invasion strategy for France.

5.He was Germany’s unofficial ruler

General lieutenant Erich Ludendorff photo by unknown author-Wikimedia

In 1916, regained his position as the chief of staff, a first quartermaster general, with the agreement that he would have joint responsibility with Hindenburg.

Hindenburg was almost 70 and it was agreed that he would be a figurehead while Erich became the ruler behind the scenes.

With so much power in his hands, he soon gained a rapid reputation for micromanagement which irritated many of the commanders on the front. His control extended further into civil society.

The German end goal was victory and Hindenburg’s role as the overseer of the militarization of the wartime national economic plan, known as then the Hindenburg program.

His presence soon dominated every facet of Germans life. His active involvement in the war popularized him and the public adored and idolized him.

6.He was forced to resign

Generalleutnant Erich Ludendorff photo by Nicola Perscheid-Wikimedia

In 1918, Ludendorff and Hindenburg planned an offensive attack with the hope of pushing allies to retreat. They had success with their plans but at the cost of a hundred thousand German soldiers’ death.

With the lack of empathy and care displayed by their leaders, the solders deserted the battlefield in great numbers and by mid-July 1918, the German push had turned into a massive German retreat.

On October 25th,1918 Ludendorff was forced to resign and on November 9th Hindenburg resigned and Kaiser abdicated the throne. Erich went from being a war hero to the most widely despised in post-war Germany.

7.He was exiled

The fallen commander left Germany in disguise in blue spectacles , a false beard and a fake Finnish passport. He was aided by his brother and a network of friends, settling in Swedish, and was later asked to leave by the Swedish government.

8.He has run for  presidency

He returned to Berlin in February 1919. Despite the humiliation he faced in Germany after losing the war, Erich dint gives up on politics, he even ran for the presidency in the 1925 March election but lost to his old comrade, Hindenburg.

9.He was a pagan worshiper

Erich adopted extreme political and religious beliefs with the influence of his second wife, Mathilde.

He is said to have started worshiping pagan gods from Norse mythology together with his wife they formed a religious movement known as Society for the knowledge of God, which exist to date, he detested not only Christianity but also Judaism regarding them as a weak force.

10.His funeral was attended by Hitler

Every mortal tale has an ending and Ludendorff was no exception, he succumbed to liver cancer at the age of 72 in a private clinic Josephinum in Munich.

He was given a state funeral against his adamant last wishes and it was organized and attended by Hitler.