By Anna von der Goltz
Hindenburg finds how a formerly little-known common, whose profession to general retirement age had supplied no actual foretaste of his heroic prestige, turned a countrywide icon and dwelling fantasy in Germany after the 1st international warfare, shooting the mind's eye of hundreds of thousands. In a interval characterised via rupture and fragmentation, the legend surrounding Paul von Hindenburg introduced jointly a extensive coalition of Germans and have become essentially the most powerful forces in Weimar politics.
Charting the origins of the parable, from Hindenburg's decisive victory on the conflict of Tannenberg in 1914 to his loss of life in Nazi Germany and past, Anna Menge explains why the presence of Hindenburg's identify at the poll mesmerized an overpowering variety of citizens within the presidential elections of 1925. His myth-an ever-evolving phenomenon-increasingly transcended the dividing traces of interwar politics, which helped him safe re-election through left-wing and average citizens. certainly, the one twice in German background that the folks may decide on their head of country at once and secretly, they selected this nationwide icon. Hindenburg even controlled to defeat Adolf Hitler in 1932, making him the Nazi leader's ultimate arbiter; it was once he who made the ultimate and fateful choice to nominate Hitler as Chancellor in January 1933.
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Extra info for Hindenburg: Power, Myth, and the Rise of the Nazis (Oxford Historical Monographs)
After Poland’s partition in the eighteenth century, 1410 became a symbol for the Polish struggle for independence. The celebratory commemorations staged in Cracow on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the battle in 1910 had brought back to life the memory of the German defeat and the ‘victor of tannenberg’ 19 had caused heated public reactions in Germany. ²⁵ Different individuals claimed credit for the idea of re-naming the battle, including Max Hoffmann, one of the lesser-known architects of German victory in East Prussia, Erich Ludendorff, and ﬁnally, Hindenburg himself.
When my son wants to play with tin soldiers, he has at least an entire battalion of Hindenburgs in all imaginable sizes at his disposal. (. ⁶⁷ Hindenburg’s presence in private family homes intensiﬁed the relationship people felt they had with the Field Marshal, and ﬁrmly embedded him in people’s daily lives. Peter Eck’s son allegedly referred to him as ‘Uncle Hindenburg’, which suggests that he regarded him as an imagined member of his family. ⁶⁹ Hindenburg’s massive square head, his bushy moustache, his broad shoulders, and decorated uniform featured in almost all depictions.
As we can see, those involved in the myth-making process often genuinely subscribed to the ideas they were promoting. Naturally, once Hindenburg had been appointed, efforts to use his name and image for propaganda purposes were stepped up. ¹³³ His endorsement was valuable political currency and could often provide greater legitimacy than legal orders. ¹³⁴ The 14th Deputy Army Command in Baden explained in a report of June 1917: ‘After all, the people believe in Hindenburg . . ’¹³⁵ Hindenburg’s appointment caused a short-term upsurge in morale in the summer of 1916.