Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff (9 April 1865 – 20 December 1937) was a German general, the victor of the Battle of Liège and the Battle of Tannenberg. From August 1916, his appointment as Quartermaster general (Erster Generalquartiermeister) made him the leader (along with Paul Hindenburg) of the German war efforts during World War I until his resignation in October 1918, just before the end of hostilities.
After the war, Ludendorff became a prominent nationalist leader, and a promoter of the stab-in-the-back legend, which posited that the German loss in World War I was caused by the betrayal of the German Army by Marxists and Bolsheviks who were furthermore responsible for the disadvantageous settlement negotiated for Germany in the Versailles Treaty. He took part in the unsuccessful coup d’état with Wolfgang Kapp in 1920 and the Beer Hall Putsch of Adolf Hitler in 1923, and in 1925, he ran for the office of President of Germany against his former superior Hindenburg, whom he claimed had taken credit for Ludendorff's victories against Russia.
From 1924 to 1928 he represented the German Völkisch Freedom Party in the German Parliament. Consistently pursuing a purely military line of thought, Ludendorff developed, after the war, the theory of “Total War,” which he published as Der Totale Krieg (The Total War) in 1935. In this work, he argued that the entire physical and moral forces of the nation should be mobilized, because, according to him, peace was merely an interval between wars. Ludendorff was a recipient of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross and the Pour le Mérite.
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