Hindenburg, Paul von Beneckendorff und

Hindenburg, Paul von Beneckendorff und
   President of the Republic; appointed Hitler* Chancellor in January 1933. Born into the Junker* family of a Prussian officer in Posen, he was educated at cadet school and participated in both the Austro-Prussian (1866) and Franco-Prussian wars (1870-1871). In the 1870s he graduated with high honors from the War Academy, after which he assumed sundry routine assignments. In 1911, after commanding an army corps for several years, he retired at the rank of lieutenant-general.
   Short on initiative and imagination, Hindenburg was noted for his imperturb-able calm and authoritative bearing. These attributes brought his recall shortly after the outbreak of World War I. Nominal superior to Erich Ludendorff,* he was given command of the Eighth Army in East Prussia and became a national hero after stunning victories over the Russians at Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes. The myth that grew around him, enhanced by his size and aura of au-thority, led in August 1916 to appointment as Chief of the General Staff. But the strategy that ensued—including unlimited submarine warfare, the removal of Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, and the Brest-Litovsk Treaty— was the work of Ludendorff.
   Although Ludendorff's reputation was damaged by defeat, Hindenburg sur-vived with myth intact. He avoided signing the Armistice*—normally a military function—by giving the burden to Matthias Erzberger* and then escaped the indignity of dealing with Germany s socialist government by asking his new Chief of Staff, Wilhelm Groener,* to assume the task. Indeed, with Groener insulating him from postwar politics, he disassociated himself from both the Republic and its opponents.
   Hindenburg had already been dubbed the Ersatzkaiser (artificial Kaiser) dur-ing the war; thus there was an inevitability in his 1925 election to the presidency of a republic yearning for leadership. But, as with his military career, he was without the talent and understanding needed to properly address his duties. Ac-cordingly, he relied on individuals such as his son Oskar, Kurt von Schleicher,* Otto Meissner,* or Erich von dem Bussche-Ippenburg (a trusted wartime sub-ordinate)—without, however, becoming their puppet. That his reelection in 1932 depended upon support from the Left was a humiliation that he failed to un-derstand.
   Always close to reactionary elements, Hindenburg was increasingly manipu-lated by a rightist camarilla. In 1930, aroused by depression* and an enfeebled Reichstag,* he formed a Presidential Cabinet* that compelled the use of emer-gency powers for survival; it marked the end of the Republic as a parliamentary regime. Although he long resisted admonitions to appoint Hitler Chancellor, he condoned actions such as Franz von Papen s* coup against Prussia* that further weakened the Republic. Finally turning to "that Bohemian corporal (his words), he tied his prestige to Hitler by participating in the Nazis spectacles. Yet until his death he remained an impediment to the full force of Hitler s revolution.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; Dorpalen, Hindenburg; Wheeler-Bennett, Hindenburg.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • Hindenburg, Paul von —   Paul von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, wie sein voller Name lautete, wurde am 2. Oktober 1847 in Posen als Sohn eines preußischen Offiziers und Gutsbesitzers geboren. Er nahm als junger Offizier am Deutsch Französischen Krieg 1870/71 teil,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg — Wappen der von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg Von Beneckendorff und Hindenburg ist der Name eines Adelsgeschlechtes, das zu Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts entstand als Johann Gottfried von Hindenburg die beiden älteren Adelsgeschlechter von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Hindenburg, Paul von — in full Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg born Oct. 2, 1847, Posen, Prussia died Aug. 2, 1934, Neudeck, Ger. German field marshal and second president (1925–34) of the Weimar Republic. Born to an aristocratic family, he… …   Universalium

  • Hindenburg, Paul von — p. ext. Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (2 oct. 1847, Posen, Prusia–2 ago. 1934, Neudeck, Alemania). Mariscal de campo alemán y segundo presidente (1925–34) de la República de Weimar. Nacido en una familia… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Paul Ludwig von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg — noun German field marshal and statesman; as president of the Weimar Republic he reluctantly appointed Hitler as chancellor in 1933 (1847 1934) • Syn: ↑Hindenburg, ↑Paul von Hindenburg • Instance Hypernyms: ↑general, ↑full general, ↑field marshal …   Useful english dictionary

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