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Paul Von Hindenburg's Impact On The Weimar Republic

1458 words - 6 pages

Paul Von Hindenburg was a renowned military and political leader for Germany; he is most notable for being a distinguished Field Marshal for the Imperial German Army during WWI, and being the second president of the Weimar republic. His military hero status was essential for his ability to garner support from the German public. His monarchistic views were highly influential in shaping the government while he was reigning as president, and as a result of his seat of presidency, he was a major determining factor in the eventual fate of the republic.

Born 1847, as Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg in Prussia to an aristocrat father; Robert von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, and his wife; Luise Schwickart, Hindenburg grew up a proud aristocrat, although shameful of his mother's non-aristocratic background. His upbringing as an aristocrat played a vital role in his political views, and grew up to become a staunch monarchist and conservative. It was these views which would dominate Hindenburg's agenda during his tenure as president of the Weimar Republic.

As is common in aristocracy; Hindenburg was involved in the military from a young age, joining the cadets at age 11. Hindenburg is renowned for his long and successful career in the military, and earned a status as a war hero among the German people. Prior to WWI, Hindenburg gained a reputation for himself by fighting in the Austro-Prussian war and the Franco-Prussian war. He was decorated for bravery in battle, and was chosen to represent his regiment for a variety of prestigious events; such as at the palace of Versailles in 1871 when the German Empire was proclaimed, and as an honour guard for Emperor William I's military funeral in 1888. He was eventually promoted to general of infantry, and retired in 1911, but was recalled into the military in 1914 after the outbreak of WWI.

Hindenburg was given command of the German Eighth Army, and numerous victories saw him become a distinguished commander, and was given the position of Supreme Commander of the East, and eventually promoted to Field Marshall. During and after the war, Hindenburg was seen as a national hero, and was considered to have embodied all of the positive characteristics of the collective German people. While the appeal of Hindenburg was present throughout all social classes, religions, and political view points, it was the German right-wing political groups which idolised Hindenburg the most; seeing him as a portrayal of classic Prussian ethics, and Lutheran and Junker values.

While there was support for Hindenburg at the home front, support for the war itself was dwindling, and after General Ludendorf's failed spring offensive, the situation seemed hopeless for the German military. With conditions on the home front worsening, and realising the dire situation Germany faced in the war, on the 29th September 1918, General Hindenburg, General Ludendorf and the Kaiser Wilhelm II agreed to...

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