- Biography & Memoir
The gripping biography of the First World War general who inspired Hitler’s rise to power
General Erich Ludendorff was one of the most important military commanders of the last century, yet today, is one of the least known. One of the top two German generals of the First World War, Ludendorff dominated not only his superior - General Paul von Hindenburg - but also Kaiser Wilhelm II. For years, he was the de facto military dictator of Germany.
Ludendorff not only controlled all aspects of the First World War, he refused any opportunity to make peace; he antagonised the Americans until they declared war; he sent Lenin into Russia to forge a revolution in order to shut down the Russian front; and then he pushed for total military victory in 1918, in a rabid slaughter known as ‘The Ludendorff Offensive’.
Shortly after Germany lost the war in 1918, Ludendorff created the murderous legend that Germany had lost only because Jews had conspired on the home front. He soon forged an alliance with Hitler, endorsed the Nazis and wrote manically about how Germans needed a new world war to redeem the Fatherland. This savage man had staggering designs to build a gigantic state that would dwarf even the British Empire. Ludendorff quite simply wanted the world – and changed the 20th century beyond recognition.
‘A chilling, well-researched biography that opens a whole new window on the world wars and the German psyche at the time.’ Kirkus Review
‘Recommended for readers interested in the history of World War I and the components that led to World War II’ Library Journal
'A very accessible book about a little known chapter of history. This book exposes the critical role of General Ludendorff in shaping the course of WWI and the rise of the Nazis. A chilling view into the mind of a man who had a profound impact on the 20th Century… It is impossible to fully appreciate the Nazis without understanding Ludendorff... This book makes many chilling connections, and will provide insight and spark thoughts for experts and novices alike' J. Furman Daniel, III, Research Professor in Grand Strategy, International Security and Military History, George Washington University
'A hero for early tactical victories in World War I, German General Erich Ludendorff should be remembered more for his spectacular strategic failures. It was Ludendorff who ultimately led Germany to defeat, served as midwife to the Russian Revolution, aided the early rise of Hitler, and helped set the stage for World War II and the Holocaust. In this important and compelling history, the authors' clear narrative and patient research succeed in connecting dots that have long been overlooked'
'Erich Ludendorff was among the most important military figures of World War I. From August 1916 almost until the armistice in November 1918, Ludendorff led the Imperial German army to victory over the new Soviet Union and to crushing defeat at the hands of the Western Allies and the United States. A brilliant tactician and an abysmally poor politician and strategist, Ludendorff summed up the strengths and weaknesses of the German General Staff. After the war, he was instrumental in propagating the myth that Germany was undefeated [the stab-in-the-back legend], wrote the first book extolling 'total war;' briefly aided Hitler's new Nazi movement, and then drifted ever further into the haze of rightwing conspiracy theories that poisoned the Weimar Republic. His is a fascinating story of talent, discipline, obsession, and denial'