Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord
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Kurt Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord (26 September 1878 – 24 April 1943) was a German general who served for a period as Commander-in-Chief of the Reichswehr/German Army. He was an ardent opponent of Hitler and the Nazi regime.
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- I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.
- Regulations are for the stupid.
- Quoted in, The Silences of Hammerstein
- I am ashamed to have belonged in an army, that witnessed and tolerated all the crimes.
- von Alvensleben, Udo (1971): Lauter Abschiede. Tagebuch im Kriege. Berlin: Ullstein, p. 257.
Quotes about Hammerstein
- Like me, he came from the Third Regiment of Footguards and was, next to General von Schleicher, who had also served in our regiment, probably one of the cleverest people I've ever met. The saying 'Regulations are for the stupid,' by which he meant all average people, was his and was characteristic of the man. He would have been a outstanding commander in wartime. As Chief of Army Command in peace time, he lacked a feeling for the importance of detail just as he viewed 'diligence' with a feeling of pity, since this virtue was indispensable to the average person. He himself made modest use of it, something he could also afford due to his quickness of mind and his keen intelligence. His military talent was complemented by a markedly clear political judgement, formulated on the basis of a sober examination of the political situation and its conditions. He probably had less time for the imponderables of psychological factors. From the start, his mental attitude, related to the fact that his whole frame of mind was that of a grand seigneur, inevitably made him a firm opponent of the clamorous National Socialists.
- "Hitler's most brilliant general", Erich von Manstein, quoted in The Silences of Hammerstein