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621651.  Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:08 am Reply with quote

Paul von Hindenburg. This was the man who gave his name to a zeppelin, a causeway, a town and a battlecruiser. The first is, of course, the infamous Hindenburg ship which was destroyed by a fire in 1937.

Despite having great prominence during his time in power, even eclipsing the Kaiser at one point, analysts call him the "Wooden Titan" (no jokes, please), i.e. a man who hid his supposed leadership beneath the decisions of others and his own weak-willed nature.

He also had a very bushy moustache.

Ian Dunn
621683.  Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:01 am Reply with quote

Gluben wrote:
He also had a very bushy moustache.

You're not joking.

gerontius grumpus
624071.  Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:21 pm Reply with quote

Early in 1917 the German army on the western front fell back to the Hindenburg line, a sytem of well organised, heavily defended entrenchments and concrete bunkers. It took advantage of higher ground like the Vimy ridge.
In April 1917 the allies attacked the Hindenburg line in the battle of Arras and suffered losses at a higher rate than the battle of the Somme.
It was in this battle that the poet Edward Thomas was killed.

624167.  Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:31 pm Reply with quote

The Hindenburg disaster is pictured on the cover of Led Zep I

624254.  Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:34 am Reply with quote

he is still relished, rightly or wrongly, by a good few of the conservative crowd in germany, which i've never really understood. ok, so he wasn't a nazi, but still without him hitler could have never come to power. a family down the road from us had a plaque of him on the wall of their back porch...



624282.  Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:07 am Reply with quote

In fairness to von Hindenburg, he really really didn't like Hitler, albeit for slightly suspect reasons (he thought Hitler was common, and in any case he didn't really like Austrians much).

Hindenburg had been rather reluctant to stand for President in the 1932 election - he was 84 by then, and was suffering from Alzheimer's Disease - but was prevailed upon to stand as the only person with a chance of beating Hitler.

After that election, he thought he had a deal with Hitler - in return for a few concessions from the establishment, Hitler would not seek to become Chancellor. Hitler didn't see it like that, and ultimately Hindenburg - very reluctantly - offered Hitler the Chancellorship as the only way to avoid him staging a coup d'état.

Sure, Hindenburg was very much an "aristocratic Old Tory", and a lot of his views wouldn't go down too well today except among the far right. But he was really the only alternative to Hitler that Germany had at the time, and I don't think there's a great deal he could have done to prevent things turning out the way they did.

624286.  Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:18 am Reply with quote

hm yeah, you might be right there, and i do very much believe that if hitler hadn't been there someone else would have done exactly the same thing or worse, it was that time of history, so to speak. so, would a third reich with hindenburg at the helm really have been that different? i fear not, because the seeds for all that had been sewn long before...



624292.  Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:32 am Reply with quote

It's impossible to say, but for sure he shared some of Hitler's ambitions for Germany, if not his methods for accomplishing them.

Hindenburg died in 1934 at the age of 86, so you have to imagine that Hitler would have seized power then if it hadn't happened earlier.

His own preference had been for Germany to return to being a kingdom after his death, with one or other of the Prussian noblemen as King. (He didn't especially want to restore the Hohenzollern dynasty.) But he felt that as President, he was rather bound by the Weimarer Verfassung which proclaimed the country a republic, so he didn't talk much about that preference outside his own circles.

Had there been a return to monarchy and had Hitler not been on the scene, the fact that whoever had become King would undoubtedly have been related to the British royal family just might have kept international peace. Mind you, it didn't work like that in 1914 ...


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