Erich Ludendorff

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A field marshal is born, not made!

Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff (April 9, 1865December 20, 1937) was a German general, the victor of the Battle of Liège and the Battle of Tannenberg. From August 1916, his appointment as Quartermaster general made him the leader (along with Paul von Hindenburg) of the German war efforts during World War I. The failure of Germany's great Spring Offensive in 1918 in quest of total victory was his great strategic failure and he was forced out in October 1918.

After the war, Ludendorff became a prominent nationalist leader, and a promoter of the Stab-in-the-back myth, which posited that the German loss in World War I was caused by the betrayal of the German Army by Marxists, Bolsheviks, and Jews who were furthermore responsible for the disadvantageous settlement negotiated for Germany in the Treaty of Versailles. He took part in the failed Kapp Putsch (coup d’état) with Wolfgang Kapp in 1920 and the Beer Hall Putsch of Adolf Hitler in 1923, and in 1925, he ran unsuccessfully for the office of President of Germany against his former superior Hindenburg.

Quotes

  • By the Revolution the Germans have made themselves pariahs among the nations, incapable of winning allies, helots in the service of foreigners and foreign capital, and deprived of all self-respect. In twenty years' time, the German people will curse the parties who now boast of having made the Revolution.
    • "My War Memories, 1914–1918" - by Erich Ludendorff - 1919
  • The fifth act of the great drama in Flanders opened on the 22nd October. Enormous masses of ammunition, such as the human mind had never imagined before the war, were hurled upon the bodies of men who passed a miserable existence scattered about in mud-filled shell-holes. The horror of the shell-hole area of Verdun was surpassed. It was no longer life at all. It was mere unspeakable suffering. And through this world of mud the attackers dragged themselves, slowly, but steadily, and in dense masses. Caught in the advanced zone by our hail of fire they often collapsed, and the lonely man in the shell-hole breathed again. Then the mass came on again. Rifle and machine-gun jammed with the mud. Man fought against man, and only too often the mass was successful.
    • "My War Memories, 1914-1918" - by Erich Ludendorff - 1919
  • What the enemy allows to us and praises in us, must be bad for us.
    • Kriegsführung und Politik (Berlin, 1922), p. 334, quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 114
  • We must all understand that only manly discipline—unconditional subordination to selfless leaders guided only by their public spirit, relegation of our own thoughts, and confidence in the Führer—can guarantee that the moral force of the individual shall be aggregated into a power that will effect the re-building of the nation and the Fatherland.
    • Kriegsführung und Politik (Berlin, 1922), p. 337, quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 27
  • The un-Germanness in and about us...lies primarily in a lack of racial sense ... in international, pacifistic and defeatistic thinking and, finally, in the considerable advancement of the Jewish people within our boundaries.
    • Kriegsführung und Politik (Berlin, 1922), pp. 337-338, quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 147
  • For example, Italy and Soviet Russia, superficially considered, each seem to constitute a united people. But any scrutinising glance will perceive there tensions which will disintegrate the peoples of these two States immediately the outbreak of war permits them to explode.
    • Der Totalkrieg (Berlin, 1933), quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 139
  • During the years of the so-called peace, politics—total politics—have only a meaning in as much as they prepare for total war.
    • Der Totalkrieg (Berlin, 1933), quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 357
  • There is but one hope, and this hope is embodied in the national groups which desire our recovery.
    • "The Black Book: The Nazi Crime Against the Jewish People" - Page 18 - World War, 1939-1945 - 1981
  • He is the only man...who has any political sense. Go and listen to him one day.
    • About Hitler. Quoted in "Will Germany Crack?: A Factual Report on Germany from Within" - Page 134 - by Karl Boromäus Frank, Anna Caples - 1942
  • A field marshall is born, not made!
    • In an attempt to regain Ludendorff's favor, Hitler paid Ludendorff an unannounced visit in 1935 and offered to make him a field marshal. Infuriated, Ludendorff thundered back with this statement. Quoted in "World War I: Encyclopedia" - Page 716 - by Spencer Tucker, Priscilla Mary Roberts - History - 2005
  • I will give up troops gladly as long as I know that they will be used in the right place to bring victory.
    • "The Origins of the Military Dictatorship of Hindenburg and Ludendorff" by Jon Bridgman - 1960
  • I reject Christianity because it is Jewish, because it is international, and because, in cowardly fashion, it preaches Peace on Earth.
    • Deutsche Gottglaube, quoted in W. W. Coole (ed.), Thus Spake Germany (London: George Routledge & Sons, 1941), p. 9

About Ludendorff

  • He became the perfect regimental commander...the younger officers came to adore him.
  • Erich Ludendorff was not a sentimentalist. He had come to take charge, to issue orders, to win a crucial victory.
  • Erich Ludendorff was considered the brains of the new German command. He pushed for the resumption of unlimited submarine warfare, which ultimately brought America into the conflict.

External links

Wikipedia
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