Carl Adolf Maximilian Hoffmann was a German military strategist. As a staff officer at the beginning of World War I, along with Hindenburg and Ludendorff, masterminded the devastating defeat of the Russian armies at Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes. He held the position of Chief of Staff of the Eastern Front, at the end of 1917, he negotiated with Russia to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. In 1922, he tried to set up a coalition without success. He studied at the Prussian Military Academy and joined the Prussian Army in 1887 as part of the 4th Thuringian Infantry Regiment, Hoffmann attended the War College in Berlin, graduating in 1889 and winning appointment to the General Staff. During the Russo-Japanese War, he served as Germanys military observer with the Japanese First Army in Manchuria. At the outbreak of World War I Lieutenant Colonel Hoffmann was the deputy chief of staff of the German Eighth Army, the only German military unit defending East Prussia from a Russian attack. The remainder of the German Army, following the Schlieffen Plan, was massed in the west attempting to gain the victory that would knock France out of the war.
The Russian First army invaded East Prussia across its eastern frontier, they learned that the Russian Second Army was approaching their southern frontier. To avoid being cut off the alarmed Eighth Army commander, Maximilian von Prittwitz, proposed to retreat over the River Vistula and his chief of staff were immediately relieved in favor of Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff. The two Russian armies were too far apart to readily aid one another, which Hoffmann knew from intercepted radio messages. He knew from his experience in Manchuria of the deep dislike the two Russian commanders had for other, which would further disincline them to support one another. Hoffmann started to concentrate the Eighth Army against Alexander Samsonovs Russian Second Army in the south, Hindenburg and Hoffman encircled and annihilated the invading army in the Battle of Tannenberg. Next the Eighth Army turned east and mauled Paul von Rennenkampfs Russian First Army at the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes, eventually Hoffmann was able to bring all of the forces on the Eastern front under their command.
Following the February Revolution the new Russian government under Alexander Kerensky attempted to reinvigorate Russian support for the war by attacking along a broad front, Hoffman withdrew for sixty miles, all the while urging Ludendorff to shift men from the Western Front to knock Russia out of the war. In mid-July 1917 six divisions were sent by train from Flanders, using these reinforcements, Hoffmann counter-attacked along the entire front and within a fortnight entered Riga. This rout fatally weakened Kerensky, led to the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia, and thus to the collapse of Russian resistance, at a conference in December 1917 the Kaiser pressed Hoffmann for his recommendation for the post-war German–Polish border. He suggested taking from Poland a modest defensive strip, the supreme command wanted much of Poland, furious that he would even give his opinion, Ludendorff wanted him sent to command a division, which the Kaiser refused to do
Hans von Seeckt
During the years of the Weimar Republic he was chief of staff for the Reichswehr from 1919 to 1920 and commander in chief of the German Army from 1920 until he resigned in October 1926. During this period he engaged in the reorganization of the army and laid the foundation for the doctrine, tactics and training of the German army. Seeckt served as a member of parliament from 1930 to 1932, Seeckt was born in Schleswig on 22 April 1866 to an old Pomeranian family, which had been ennobled in the eighteenth century. Though the family had lost its estates, Seeckt was an aristocrat and his father was an important general within the German Army. Seeckt followed his father into service, joining the Army in 1885 at the age of 18. He served in the elite Kaiser Alexander Guard Grenadiers, joined the Prussian General Staff in 1897, in 1913, Seeckt became the Chief of Staff of the III Corps based in Berlin. At the outbreak of the First World War, Seeckt held the rank of lieutenant colonel, on mobilisation, III Corps was assigned to the 1st Army on the right wing of the forces for the Schlieffen Plan offensive in August 1914 on the Western Front.
He was promoted to colonel on 27 January 1915, in March 1915, he was transferred to the Eastern front to serve as chief of staff to General August von Mackensen of the German Eleventh Army. He played a role in the planning and executing Mackensens highly successful campaigns. Here Seeckt implemented a change in handling the thrust of the offensive and this was a break from the established method of securing flanks by advancing along a uniform front, using reserve formations to assist in overcoming strong points. By pressing the reserves forward into the Russian rear areas the Russian positions were destabilized, for his contributions he received the Pour le Mérite, Prussias highest military honor. In June 1915, Seeckt was promoted to the rank of Generalmajor, as was the case in the Gorlice offensive, Seeckt played a major role in the planning and execution of the operations in Serbia between 6 October and 24 November 1915. The saying spread through the German army Where Mackensen is, Seeckt is, for his achievements he was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Pour le Mérite.
In June 1916 he became chief of staff for the Austro-Hungarian Seventh Army in Galicia, in 1917, Seeckt was sent to Central Power ally the Ottoman Empire to replace Colonel Friedrich Bronsart von Schellendorff as Chief of Staff of the Ottoman Army. In choosing Seeckt Germany was sending a first rate staff officer, the alliance between the Ottoman Empire and Germany was weak. Since the start of the conflict German efforts to influence Turk strategy met with limited success, neither Bronsart nor Seeckt were able to get much consideration for grand strategy for the Ottoman Empire. Though Enver Pasha would take counsel from the German officers, he would disregard their opinion if it differed from his own view, a common view in the German high command was that internal division in a nation undermines a nations ability to successfully conduct a military campaign. Seeckt held this view, even to the point of supporting the leadership of the Ottoman Empire as they conducted a genocide of the Armenians along their border in 1915
The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising or Yihequan Movement a violent anti-foreign and anti-Christian uprising that took place in China between 1899 and 1901, towards the end of the Qing dynasty. The uprising took place against a background of severe drought and the disruption caused by the growth of foreign spheres of influence and Chinese Christians sought refuge in the Legation Quarter. Diplomats, foreign civilians and soldiers as well as Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter were placed under siege by the Imperial Army of China, Chinese officialdom was split between those supporting the Boxers and those favoring conciliation, led by Prince Qing. The supreme commander of the Chinese forces, the Manchu General Ronglu, the Eight-Nation Alliance, after being initially turned back, brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army, and captured Beijing on August 14, lifting the siege of the Legations. Uncontrolled plunder of the capital and the surrounding countryside ensued, along with the execution of those suspected of being Boxers.
The Empress Dowager sponsored a set of institutional and fiscal changes in an attempt to save the dynasty by reforming it. The Righteous and Harmonious Fists arose in the sections of the northern coastal province of Shandong long known for social unrest, religious sects. American Christian missionaries were probably the first to refer to the well-trained, athletic men as Boxers, because of the martial arts. Their primary practice was a type of possession which involved the whirling of swords, violent prostrations. The opportunities to fight back Western encroachment and colonization were especially attractive to unemployed village men, the tradition of possession and invulnerability went back several hundred years but took on special meaning against the powerful new weapons of the West. The Boxers, armed with rifles and swords, claimed supernatural invulnerability towards blows of cannon, rifle shots, the Boxer groups popularly claimed that millions of soldiers of Heaven would descend to assist them in purifying China of foreign oppression.
The Big Swords, emboldened by this support, attacked their local Catholic village rivals. The Big Swords responded by attacking Catholic churches and burning them, the line between Christians and bandits, remarks one recent historian, became increasingly indistinct. As a result of pressure in the capital, Yuxian executed several Big Sword leaders. More martial secret societies started emerging after this, the early years saw a variety of village activities, not a broad movement or a united purpose. Martial folk religious societies such as the Baguadao prepared the way for the Boxers, like the Red Boxing school or the Plum Flower Boxers, the Boxers of Shandong were more concerned with traditional social and moral values, such as filial piety, than with foreign influences. One leader, for instance, Zhu Hongdeng, started as a healer, specializing in skin ulcers. Zhu claimed descent from Ming dynasty emperors, since his surname was the surname of the Ming imperial family and he announced that his goal was to Revive the Qing and destroy the foreigners
Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria
Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria, was the de facto ruler of Bavaria from 1886 to 1912, due to the incapacity of his nephews, King Ludwig II for three days and King Otto for 26 years. Luitpold was born in Würzburg, the son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and his wife. He was the brother of King Maximilian II of Bavaria. Luitpold was in line to succeed to the throne of the Kingdom of Bavaria, the Greek law of succession required that Ottos heir should belong to the Greek Orthodox Church. Otto was deposed in 1862 and replaced by Prince William of Denmark, Otto died in 1867, leaving Luitpold and his descendants as representatives of Ottos claim. However, Luitpold never pursued that claim, at the age of fourteen Luitpold joined the Bavarian Army and was promoted Captain of the Artillery in 1835. During the revolutions of 1848 Prince Luitpold mediated and facilitated an audience of discontented citizens with his father, during the rule of his brother Maximilian II, Luitpold did not play a significant political role.
With the reign of his nephew Ludwig II Prince Luitpold had increasingly to represent the house due to the kings long absence from the capital. In the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 Luitpold was commander of the 3rd Royal Bavarian Division, in 1869 he became Inspector General of the Bavarian Army, during the Franco-Prussian War 1870/71 he represented Bavaria in the German General Staff. In that capacity he handed over Ludwigs Kaiserbrief on 3 December 1870, Otto criticized the celebration as ostentatious and heartless in a letter to his brother. In 1876 Luitpold was appointed Field Marshal, on 10 June 1886, Luitpolds nephew King Ludwig II was declared mentally incompetent and Luitpold was named Regent. Following Ludwig IIs mysterious death a few later, his brother Otto assumed the throne. However, Otto was likewise mentally incapable of reigning, and Luitpold continued to serve as regent, Prince Luitpold was even accused by some people of the murder of his nephew, but soon the decent and affable prince became one of Bavarias most popular rulers.
One of his first actions was to several of the palaces of Ludwig II to the public. His governments gradually moved away from the previous anti-Catholic Kulturkampf policies, during the regency of Prince-Regent Luitpold relations between Bavarians and Prussians remained cold as Bavarians resented Prussias strategic dominance over the empire. Luitpold continued to serve as regent until 1912, when he contracted bronchitis and he was succeeded by his eldest son, Prince Ludwig, who remained as regent for another year before becoming king in his own right as Ludwig III. He is buried in the crypt of the Theatinerkirche in Munich, in connection with the unhappy end of the preceding rule of King Ludwig II this break in the Bavarian monarchy looked even stronger. Today the connection of two developments is regarded as a main cause for the unspectacular end of the Bavarian kingdom without opposition in the course of the November revolution of 1918
The cross is a white eight-pointed cross having the form of four V-shaped elements, each joining the others at its vertex, leaving the other two tips spread outward symmetrically. This is placed on a red background or worn on a black mantle, the term is often wrongly applied to all forms of eight-pointed crosses irrespective of colour or background. The geometric shape of a cross is found in antiquity. The association with Amalfi may go back to the 11th century, claims by Amalfi that it first appears on their coins in the 11th century is only a reference to a common style of the 8-point cross pattee. Therefore, Amalfis claim to the Maltese Cross is through extension from the founder of the order, the term Amalfi Cross only developed after the 8-point cross was introduced on Malta in 1567. The Knights Hospitaller during the Crusades used a plain Latin cross, these 8-points do not signify that the shape required was that of the four-arrowhead form of 1567, or anything near it, as there are many variants of an 8-point cross.
The association with Malta arose after the Knights Hospitaller moved from Rhodes to Malta in 1530, the first evidence for use of the Maltese Cross on Malta appears on the 2 Tarì and 4 Tarì Copper coins of the Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette. The 2 and 4 Tarì Copper coins are dated 1567 and this provides a date for the introduction of the Maltese Cross. The Maltese cross was depicted on the two mils coin in the old Maltese currency and is now shown on the back of the one and two Euro coins, introduced in January 2008. John remains the symbol of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, of the Order of Saint John and its orders, of the Venerable Order of Saint John. In past centuries, numerous other orders have adopted the cross as part of their insignia. In Australia, the cross is part of the state emblem of Queensland. In 1967, flight tests were conducted at Fort Rucker, Alabama, to determine the most highly visible, however, in the late 1970s, the FAA administrator repealed this standard when it was charged that the Maltese Cross was anti-semitic.
In the United States today, there are still some helipads that remain bearing their original Maltese Cross emblem, the Maltese cross is displayed as part of the Maltese civil ensign. The Maltese euro coins of one and two euro denomination carry the Maltese cross and it is the trademark of Air Malta, Maltas national airline. Austrias two highest decorations, the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria and the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art, have the eight-pointed Cross as their basis. In Belgium, the cross is the basis of two of the countrys royal orders of merit, the Order of Leopold and the Order of Leopold II. The Order of Bravery is the highest military decoration of the Kingdom of Bulgaria and of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Pour le Mérite, Imperial Germanys highest award for military valor, was a blue-enameled Eight-pointed Cross with golden eagles between the arms
The design was a Christian cross with a bust of Albert the Bold at the centre. In 1875, however, it was discovered the bust was in fact the wrong Albert, Albert the Perennial, the grade structure of the Albert Order changed several times. At first, there were five classes, Grand Cross, Commanders Cross 1st Class, Commanders Cross 2nd Class, Knights Cross and these provided the basis for a series of changes over the following forty years. On 18 March 1858, the Small Cross was renamed as the Honour Cross, a Merit Cross with Swords was added on 29 October 1866 and this was extended on 9 December 1870 with the Merit Cross with Swords on Ring. The medals were abolished on 2 February 1876 and the Knights Cross was split into two classes. On 30 April 1884, a gold Great Cross was added and on 11 June 1890, if, however, a recipient was subsequently awarded a higher grade in the Order, he could lose the bravery distinction attached to the superseded grade. This anomaly was solved in 1906 by allowing the addition of Swords by replacement of insignia, a recipient, had to pay the cost of replacement and this appears to have inhibited the numbers of such replacements
Ludwig II of Bavaria
Ludwig II was King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death in 1886. He is sometimes called the Swan King or der Märchenkönig and he held the titles of Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Duke of Franconia, and Duke in Swabia. He succeeded to the throne aged 18, two years Bavaria and Austria fought a war against Prussia, which they lost. However, in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 Bavaria sided with Prussia against France and he commissioned the construction of two lavish palaces and the Neuschwanstein Castle, and was a devoted patron of the composer Richard Wagner. Ludwig spent all his royal revenues on these projects, borrowed extensively and this extravagance was used against him to declare him insane, an accusation which has since come under scrutiny. Today, his architectural and artistic legacy includes many of Bavarias most important tourist attractions, born in Nymphenburg Palace, he was the elder son of Maximilian II of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach, and his wife Princess Marie of Prussia.
His younger brother, born three years later, was named Otto, like many young heirs in an age when kings governed most of Europe, Ludwig was continually reminded of his royal status. King Maximilian wanted to both of his sons in the burdens of royal duty from an early age. Ludwig was both extremely indulged and severely controlled by his tutors and subjected to a regimen of study. There are some who point to these stresses of growing up in a family as the causes for much of his odd behavior as an adult. Ludwig was not close to either of his parents, King Maximilians advisers had suggested that on his daily walks he might like, at times, to be accompanied by his future successor. The King replied, But what am I to say to him, after all, my son takes no interest in what other people tell him. Later, Ludwig would refer to his mother as my predecessors consort and he was far closer to his grandfather, the deposed and notorious King Ludwig I, who came from a family of eccentrics. Ludwigs childhood years did have happy moments and he lived for much of the time at Castle Hohenschwangau, a fantasy castle his father had built near the Alpsee near Füssen.
It was decorated in the Gothic Revival style with frescoes depicting heroic German sagas. The family visited Lake Starnberg, as an adolescent, Ludwig became close friends with his aide de camp, Prince Paul, a member of Bavarias wealthy Thurn und Taxis family. The two young men together, read poetry aloud, and staged scenes from the Romantic operas of Richard Wagner. The friendship ended when Paul became engaged in 1866, during his youth Ludwig initiated a lifelong friendship with his cousin, Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria, Empress of Austria
Robert Ritter von Greim
Robert Ritter von Greim was a German Field Marshal and pilot. In the last days of World War II, Hitler appointed Greim as commander of the Luftwaffe in place of Göring, when Germany surrendered, Greim was taken prisoner by the American forces, he committed suicide in prison on 24 May 1945. Born Robert Greim on 22 June 1892 in Bayreuth, in the Kingdom of Bavaria, a state of the German Empire and he joined the Bavarian Army on 14 July 1911, some years before the First World War. After completion of training, he was posted to Bavarias 8th Field Artillery Regiment on 29 October 1912 and commissioned as a Lieutenant a year later. After war broke out in August 1914, he commanded a battery in fighting at the Battle of Lorraine and around Nancy, Saint-Mihiel and he became a battalion adjutant on 19 March 1915, and on 10 August 1915 he transferred to the German Air Service. On 10 October 1915, while flying two-seaters in FFA 3b as an artillery spotting observer, Greim claimed his first aerial victory and he served with FAA204 over the Somme.
After undergoing pilot training, Greim joined FA 46b on 22 February 1917 and he transferred to Jagdstaffel 34 in April 1917. He scored a kill on 25 May 1917, and on the day he received the Iron Cross First Class. On 19 June, he rose to command Jasta 34, Greim became an ace on 16 August 1917, when he shot down a Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter. By 16 October, his victory tally totaled 7, there was a lull in his successes until February 1918. On the 11th, he had a victory and on the 18th he notched up aerial victory number 8. On 21 March 1918, the day of his ninth credited victory and he flew with them until at least 18 June, when he notched up his 15th success. On 27 June 1918, while Greim was engaging a Bristol Fighter, the departing cowling damaged his top wing, along with the lower left interplane strut, but Greim managed to land the machine successfully. By 7 August 1918 he was commanding Jagdgruppe 9, and scored his 16th victory, on 23 August, he cooperated with Vizefeldwebel Johan Putz in what was arguably the first successful assault by aircraft on armored tanks.
On 27 September, he scored kill number 25 while flying with Jagdgruppe 9 and he returned to Jasta 34 in October 1918. The Jasta had been re-equipped with cast-offs from Richthofens Flying Circus, the new equipment was warmly welcomed as being superior to the older Albatros and Pfalz fighters that they had been previously equipped with. Greims final three victories came during this time, while he was flying Albatros D. Vs, Fokker Triplanes, and Fokker D. VIIs. By the wars end he had scored 28 victories and had awarded the Pour le Mérite on 8 October
Order of the Red Eagle
The Order of the Red Eagle was an order of chivalry of the Kingdom of Prussia. It was awarded to military personnel and civilians, to recognize valor in combat, excellence in military leadership and faithful service to the kingdom. As with most German orders, the Order of the Red Eagle could only be awarded to commissioned officers or civilians of equivalent status. However, there was a medal of the order, which could be awarded to non-commissioned officers and enlisted men, lower ranking civil servants and other civilians. The predecessor to Order of the Red Eagle was founded on November 17,1705 and this soon fell into disuse but was revived in 1712 in Brandenburg-Bayreuth and again in 1734 in Brandenburg-Ansbach, where it first received the name Order of the Brandenburg Red Eagle. The statutes were changed in 1777 and the Order named therein as the Order of the Red Eagle, the Order was conferred in one class, limited to fifty knights. The Kingdom of Prussia absorbed both Brandenburg-Bayreuth and Brandenburg-Ansbach in January,1792, and on June 12,1792, King Frederick William II again revived the order as a Prussian royal order.
After the Order of the Black Eagle, the Red Eagle was the second highest order of the kingdom in order of precedence, in 1810, King Frederick William III revised the statutes of the Order, expanding it into three classes. In 1830, a breast star was authorized for the Second Class, the statutes were further revised in 1861, and a Grand Cross was established as the highest class of the Order. By 1918, an affiliated soldiers medal had been available to commoners. The monarchy collapsed on November 9,1918, a new German constitution was signed into law, August 11,1919, effectually putting a legal end to the monarchy. Among these were, All classes but the Medal of the Red Eagle Order could be awarded with swords for distinction in wartime, the swords passed through the arms of the cross behind the center medallion. All classes above the 4th Class could be awarded with Swords on Ring, indicating that the recipient of that class without swords had earlier received a class of the order with swords. A pair of crossed swords were worn above the cross on the ring or above the medallion on the upper arm of the breast star.
All classes could be awarded with or without crown as an added distinction, the Grand Cross, 1st and 2nd Class could be awarded with oak leaves, indicating prior receipt of the next lower class of the order, and/or with diamonds, as a special distinction. Royal family members were awarded the Grand Cross with crown, the Maltese cross badge was suspended from a miniature of the Prussian crown, which covered the usual suspension ring. The Grand Cross was awarded at least once with crossed marshals batons, the crossed batons were worn above the Maltese cross badge of the Grand Cross, on its suspension ring. The 3rd Class could be awarded with bow, indicating prior receipt of the 4th Class, prussians who were Knights of the Order of St. John of Malta
House Order of Hohenzollern
The House Order of Hohenzollern was a dynastic order of knighthood of the House of Hohenzollern awarded to military commissioned officers and civilians of comparable status. Associated with the versions of the order were crosses and medals which could be awarded to lower-ranking soldiers. The House Order of Hohenzollern was instituted on December 5,1841 by joint decree of Prince Konstantin of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and these two principalities in southern Germany were Catholic collateral lines of the House of Hohenzollern, cousins to the Protestant ruling house of Prussia. On August 23,1851, after the two principalities had been annexed by Prussia, the order was adopted by the Prussian branch of the house. Also, although the two principalities had become a region of the Prussian kingdom, the princely lines continued to award the order as a house order. The Prussian version was known as the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern. The Princely House Order continued to be awarded, after the fall of the German Monarchy, Prince Karl Antons second son, Karl Eitel Friedrich of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, had become prince and king of Romania as Carol I.
Carol I had died childless and was succeeded by his nephew Ferdinand I and this form of the order existed until the Romanian monarchy was abolished in 1947, King Michael awarded a slightly altered order in exile. The Royal House Order of Hohenzollern came in the classes, Grand Commander Commander Knight Member Member was a lesser class for soldiers who were not officers. The Members Cross, especially swords, was a rare distinction for non-commissioned officers. Another decoration, the Members Eagle was often given as an award to lesser officials such as schoolteachers. The Eagles were solely civilian awards, and could not be awarded with swords, all other grades could be awarded with swords. When awarded with swords it was worn on the ribbon of the Iron Cross, all grades could be awarded with swords. During World War I, the grade of the Princely House Order was often awarded to officers. 40, a regiment raised in the principalities of Hohenzollern. Soldier in the regiments sister reserve and Landwehr regiments received the decoration.
Unlike the Royal House Order, awards of the Princely House Order were made on the ribbon of the order regardless of whether they were with or without swords. As with the Prussian and Hohenzollern versions, crossed swords could be used to indicate a wartime or combat award, the badge of the House Order of Hohenzollern was a cross pattée with convex edges and curved arms