Erich Ludendorff(redirected from Erich von Ludendorff)
Born Apr. 9, 1865, in Kruszevnia, near Poznańi;; died Dec. 20, 1937, in Tutzing, Bavaria. German military and political figure; general of the infantry (1916). Son of a landholder.
Ludendorff graduated from a cadet corps in 1881. He began serving on the General Staff in 1894 and was chief of the operations department of the General Staff from 1908 to 1912. He was chief quartermaster of the Second Army at the beginning of World War I (1914-18). Ludendorff served as chief of staff of the Eighth Army from Aug. 23 to November 1914, chief of staff of the Eastern Front from November 1914, and first quartermaster general on the staff of the supreme command from August 1916.
In his capacity as General P. Hindenburg’s immediate assistant, Ludendorff virtually directed the military operations on the Eastern Front from August 1914 and the operations of Germany’s entire armed forces from August 1916. He was active in setting up a military dictatorship in the country. Between March and July 1918 he tried unsuccessfully, by launching repeated offensives, to break the resistance of the Anglo-French troops on the Western Front. Ludendorff retired on Oct. 26, 1918, and emigrated to Sweden in November 1918 after the conclusion of the cease-fire.
Ludendorff returned to Germany in the spring of 1919, became the leader of the most extreme counterrevolutionary circles, and took an active part in the Kapp putsch of 1920. Having moved very close to the National Socialists, Ludendorff headed, jointly with A. Hitler, the unsuccessful Munich putsch of November 1923. He won election to the Reichstag in 1924 on the National Socialist Party ticket. He was an advocate of the doctrine of “total war” and the ruthless suppression of the toiling masses. Ludendorff was the author of memoirs and several works on military theory.
WORKSKriegsfiihrung und Politik, 3rd ed. Berlin, 1923.
Der totale Krieg. Munich, 1936.
In Russian translation:
Moi vospominaniia o voine 1914-1918, vols. 1-2. Moscow, 1923-24.