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The Great War
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Hindenburg & Ludendorff
Jay Winter
"Hindenburg was very much the older man. He had come out of retirement and worked together with Ludendorf.

"He was fifty-three at the time of his promotion to second in command of the army, in effective command of the army. They had emerged out of the victory of Tannenberg in 1914 where the two of them had more or less taken over a plan that had been developed by another staff officer, Max Hoffmann, and annihilated one of the Russian invading armies.

"That gave them the prestige to stand as candidates to replace Falkenhayn when the battle of Verdun was clearly producing a stalemate. Hindenburg was a man without much imagination, totally devoted to the monarchy.

"Ludendorff was a schemer.

"He was a very sensitive politician. Any cabal that was going on in Germany would have Ludendorff somewhere nearby. He was a man who had imperial visions, Germany dominating all of Europe. And his vision of how to go about it was to give the army everything it needed and the devil take the hindmost.

"His militarization of the German war effort ultimately cost Germany the war by stripping the home front of basic essentials and the wherewithal to carry on. The only thing keeping Germany together was the myth of military invincibility, and that myth had its personification in these two men, one of them perhaps as in thousands of paperweights and pictures and doilies and posters, the grandfatherly figure who's defending the homes of the Germans, whereas Ludendorff was the man of steel, the hard man, the man who could see all of the enemies at Germany's gate and would make sure that none of them would get through.

"Ultimately, Ludendorff was the much more intelligent the much more sinister and the much more dangerous."

 
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