Hindenburg, Ludendorff and Hitler

Germany's Generals and the Rise of the Nazis

Alexander Clifford

They are two of twentieth-century history's most significant figures, yet today they are largely forgotten - Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, Germany's First World War leaders.
Date Published :
December 2021
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
30 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526783332

Dimensions : 9.1 X 6.1 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 336
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They are two of twentieth-century history’s most significant figures, yet today they are largely forgotten – Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, Germany’s First World War leaders. Although defeat in 1918 brought an end to their ‘silent dictatorship’, both generals played a key role in the turbulent politics of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazis.

Alexander Clifford, in this perceptive reassessment of their political careers, questions the popular image of these generals in the English-speaking world as honorable ‘Good Germans’. For they were intensely political men, whose ideas and actions shaped the new Germany and ultimately led to Hitler’s dictatorship.

Their poisonous wartime legacy was the infamous stab-in-the-back myth. According to the generals, the true cause of the disastrous defeat in the First World War was the betrayal of the army by politicians, leftists and Jews on the home front. This toxic conspiracy theory polluted Weimar politics and has been labeled the beginning of ‘the twisted road to Auschwitz’.

Hindenburg and Ludendorff’s political fortunes after the war were markedly different. Ludendorff inhabited the far-right fringes and engaged in plots, assassinations and conspiracies, playing a leading role in failed uprisings such as Hitler’s 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Meanwhile Hindenburg was a vastly more successful politician, winning two presidential elections and serving as head of state for nine years. Arguably he bore even more responsibility for the destruction of democracy, for he and the nationalist right he led sought, through Hitler, to remold the Weimar system towards authoritarianism.

About The Author

Alexander Clifford is a school teacher by profession, a history graduate who has studied at the universities in Leeds, Munich and Northumbria, and an expert on the Spanish Civil War. He previous work on the war, Divided We Fall, an interactive novel app, followed the lives of four Spaniards during the main events of the conflict both on and behind the lines.

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