Wilhelm Groener

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Groener, Wilhelm


Born Nov. 22. 1867, in Ludwigsburg; died Sept. 4. 1939, in Bornstedt (Potsdam). German military figure and writer. Lieutenant general (1916).

In 1884, Groener joined the Württemberg army. In 1912 he became the head of the railroad department of the General Staff, and during World War I he was the head of the railroad field administration. In 1916 and 1917 he directed the administration of military industry and was deputy minister of war. In August 1917 he began commanding a division and a corps on the western and then on the eastern front. In March 1918 he became chief of staff of General G. Eichhorn’s Kiev Group of Armies. From October 1918 to June 1919 he was first quartermaster general, replacing General E. Ludendorff in that post, and he led the retreat of the German army and then the fight against the revolutionary movement. He resigned in protest of the Treaty of Versailles. From 1920 to 1923 he was minister of transportation and from 1928 to 1932 he was minister of the Reichswehr. Then he retired. In his works he greatly praised General A. Schlieffen and especially his plan for war against France.


Der Weltkrieg und seine Probleme. Berlin. 1920.
Der Feldherr wider Willen. Berlin. 1930.
In Russian translation:
Zaveshchanie Shliffena. Moscow, 1937.
References in periodicals archive ?
General Wilhelm Groener (1867-1939), head of the Prussian army's railroad department, openly spoke of the "great symphony" of the Schlieffen plan.
Horrific losses in France's Argonne Forest region put the final nail in the coffin, and on November 9, 1918, a cease-fire was announced, and General Wilhelm Groener ordered what remained of the army to withdraw from the front lines.
The Minister of the Reichswehr Wilhelm Groener detected in them an "insult" against his troops and a "defamation," and accordingly brought charges: not against Tucholsky - who, long wary of the dominant political tendency of the late Weimar period, by now made his residence in Sweden - but rather against the editor of the Weltbuhne, Carl von Ossietsky.
Wilhelm Groener (1867-1939) was almost uniquely distinguished among German generals for having been regarded both by some of his contemporaries as well as by knowledgeable historians of the Weimar Republic as a democrat and even a pacifist.
The second, fateful appearance of Wilhelm Groener on the German stage began on the eve of that last crisis when in 1928 he was appointed Minister of Defence, a portfolio he continued to hold in the cabinet of Socialist Chancellor Hermann Muller which was installed following elections to the Reichstag in May of the same year.
Wilhelm Groener, the army chief of staff, if the Spartacists had acted to seize power at that moment, "no one could have hindered them." But the Spartacists spent the month of December bitterly debating whether or not to form a new party distinct from the Social Democrats.