Hans von Seeckt
Johannes Friedrich "Hans" von Seeckt (22 April 1866 – 27 December 1936) was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 military officer noted for his organization of the German Army (Reichswehr
The Reichswehr formed the military organisation of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when it was renamed the Wehrmacht ....

) during the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...


Early life

Seeckt was born in Schleswig on April 22, 1866 to an old Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

n family, which had been ennobled in the eighteenth century. Though the family had lost its estates, Seeckt was "a thorough-going aristocrat" and his father was an important general within the German Army, finishing his career as military governor of Posen
Posen may refer to:Places in Europe:* Poznań, Poland * Grand Duchy of Posen, autonomous province of Prussia, 1815–1848* Province of Posen, Prussian province, 1848–1918...

. Seeckt followed his father into military service, joining the Army in 1885 at the age of 18. He served in the elite Kaiser Alexander Guard Grenadiers, then joined the Prussian General Staff in 1897.

First World War

At the outbreak of the First World War, Seeckt held the rank of colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 and served as chief of staff in the German III Army Corps. Seeckt marched with the Corps in the German offensive, and "distinguished himself" in fighting near Soissons
Soissons is a commune in the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France, located on the Aisne River, about northeast of Paris. It is one of the most ancient towns of France, and is probably the ancient capital of the Suessiones...

, then in March 1915, he became chief of staff to General August von Mackensen
August von Mackensen
Anton Ludwig August von Mackensen , born August Mackensen, was a German soldier and field marshal. He commanded with success during the First World War and became one of the German Empire's most prominent military leaders. After the Armistice, Mackensen was interned for a year...

 of the German Eleventh Army. With the Eleventh Army, Seeckt fought in the Gorlice–Tarnów Offensive, where he was credited with engineering Mackensen's breakthrough, and received the Pour le Mérite
Pour le Mérite
The Pour le Mérite, known informally as the Blue Max , was the Kingdom of Prussia's highest military order for German soldiers until the end of World War I....

, Prussia's highest military honor.

In June 1915, Seeckt was promoted to the rank of Generalmajor, and in September he followed von Mackensen to Temesvar, where he joined the campaign against Serbia. In June 1916 he became chief of staff for the Austro-Hungarian Seventh Army in Galicia. Seeckt spent the last years of World I serving in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...



After the end of the war and the dissolution of the old imperial army it fell to Seeckt to organize the new Reichswehr within the strict restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

. He successfully laid the basis for a strong Reichswehr and disguised the new leadership, the forbidden General Staff, under the name the Truppenamt
The Truppenamt or 'Troop Office' was the cover organisation for the German General Staff from 1919 through until 1933 when the General Staff was re-created. This subterfuge was deemed necessary in order for Germany to be seen to meet the requirements of the Versailles Treaty...

, or Troop Office. He is also known for his hostile attitude towards the Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic
The Second Polish Republic, Second Commonwealth of Poland or interwar Poland refers to Poland between the two world wars; a period in Polish history in which Poland was restored as an independent state. Officially known as the Republic of Poland or the Commonwealth of Poland , the Polish state was...

, and for seeking an alliance with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 against Poland. After seeing encouraging signs from the newly established War Commissar
War commissar
The war commissar or Kriegskommissar was a Danish Army, Norwegian Army, Prussian Army, Swedish Army and Soviet army military official who was responsible for supplying military arms and provisions, and was in charge of the military budget and conscription....

's Office of Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

, Seeckt sent out a secret staff to conduct a military alliance with the Soviets, unbeknownst to the Weimar government
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

. In October 1919 Seeckt sent out his close friend Enver Pasha
Ismail Enver
Enver Pasha or Ismail Enver Pasha , title was changed with his military ranks such as Enver Efendi , Enver Bey , Enver Pasha, higher than Mirliva) was an Ottoman military officer and a leader of the Young Turk revolution...

 on a secret mission to Moscow to make contracts with the Soviets. In the summer of 1920, Enver sent Seeckt a letter from Moscow asking for German arms deliveries to the Soviet Union in exchange for Trotsky promised to partition Poland with the Reich. Through Seeckt did not hesitate to use military force against putsch attempts by the German Communists, this did not affect his relations with the Soviet Union. Seeckt regarded his informal alliance with the Soviet Union in purely non-ideological terms. Seeckt regarded the efforts of General Rüdiger von der Goltz
Rüdiger von der Goltz
Gustav Adolf Joachim Rüdiger, Graf von der Goltz was German Army general during World War I. After World War I he was the commander of the army of the Baltic German-established Government of Latvia, which played an instrumental role in the defeat of Russian Bolsheviks and their local allies in...

 and his Freikorps
Freikorps are German volunteer military or paramilitary units. The term was originally applied to voluntary armies formed in German lands from the middle of the 18th century onwards. Between World War I and World War II the term was also used for the paramilitary organizations that arose during...

to create an anti-communist, German-dominated state in the Baltic as a ludicrous attempt to turn back the clock. Seeckt was all for seeing von der Goltz conquer the Baltic states if that was possible, but was very antagonistic towards Goltz's efforts to use his proposed state as a basis for overthrowing the Bolsheviks. Seeckt saw Poland as the main enemy and the Soviet Union as a very useful ally against Poland, so he viewed Goltz's anti-Communist schemes with some hostility.

After the Allies sent the German government a list of war criminals to be tried Seeckt called a conference of Staff Officers and departmental heads on 9 February 1920 and said to them that if the German government refused or was unable to reject the Allied demands, the Reichswehr must oppose this by all means even if this meant the reopening of hostilities. He further said that if the Allies invaded Germany—which he believed they would not—then the German army in the West should retire behind the Weser and the Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

, as this was where defensive positions had already been built. In the East, German troops would invade Poland and attempt to establish contacts with the Soviet Union, wherein they would both march against France and Britain. He added that German war material would now no longer be sold or destroyed and that the army should be reduced on paper only. An Interior Minister of Prussia
Interior Minister of Prussia
This page lists Prussian Ministers of the Interior. See also Interior Ministers of Germany.-Prussian Ministers of the Interior, 1808-1918:*Count Alexander von Dohna-Schlobitten 1808-1810*Count Karl August von Hardenberg 1810-1814...

, Albert Grzesinski
Albert Grzesinski
Albert Carl Grzesinski was a German SPD politician and Minister of the Interior of Prussia from 1926 to 1930. Grzesinski was born the illegitimate son of a maid in Berlin and grew up with grandparents...

, wrote that members of Seeckt's staff said that Seeckt desired a military dictatorship
Military dictatorship
A military dictatorship is a form of government where in the political power resides with the military. It is similar but not identical to a stratocracy, a state ruled directly by the military....

, perhaps headed by Gustav Noske
Gustav Noske
Gustav Noske was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany . He served as the first Minister of Defence of Germany between 1919 and 1920.-Biography:...


Seeckt's role during the Kapp Putsch
Kapp Putsch
The Kapp Putsch — or more accurately the Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch — was a 1920 coup attempt during the German Revolution of 1918–1919 aimed at overthrowing the Weimar Republic...

 of March 1920 remains uncertain; he refused to either actively put down the rebellion or co-operate with it. His remark to the leaders of the republic, that "Reichswehr do not fire on Reichswehr", was controversial.

From 1920 to 1926 Seeckt held the position of Chef der Heeresleitung—in fact if not in name commander of the army of the new Weimar Republic, the Reichswehr. In working to build a non-political professional army within and without the confines of the Treaty of Versailles, Seeckt advanced the concept of the army as a "state-within-a-state". The military refused to accept the democratic Weimar republic as legitimate and instead the Reichswehr under the leadership of Seeckt became a “state within the state” that operated largely outside of the control of the politicians. This matched the conditions of the Versailles Treaty which were aimed at creating a long-term professional army with a ceiling of 100,000 volunteers and without significant reserves - a force which would not be able to challenge the much larger French Army. Seeckt was a monarchist by personal inclination who encouraged the retention of traditional links with the old Imperial Army. With this purpose he designated individual companies and squadrons of the new Reichswehr as the direct successors of particular regiments of the emperor's army.

In 1921, Seeckt founded the Arbeits-Kommandos (Work Commandos) commanded by Major Ernst von Buchrucker, which officially a labour group intended to assist with civilian projects, but in reality were thinly disguised soldiers that allowed Germany to exceed the limits on troop strength set by Versailles. The control of the Arbeits-Kommandos was exercised through a secert group known as Sondergruppe R comprising Kurt von Schleicher
Kurt von Schleicher
Kurt von Schleicher was a German general and the last Chancellor of Germany during the era of the Weimar Republic. Seventeen months after his resignation, he was assassinated by order of his successor, Adolf Hitler, in the Night of the Long Knives....

, Eugen Ott, Fedor von Bock
Fedor von Bock
Fedor von Bock was a German Generalfeldmarshall who served in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. As a leader who lectured his soldiers about the honor of dying for the German Fatherland, he was nicknamed "Der Sterber"...

 and Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord
Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord
Kurt Gebhard Adolf Philipp Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord was a German general who served for a period as Commander-in-Chief of the Reichswehr...

. Buchrucker's so-called "Black Reichswehr"
Black Reichswehr
Black Reichswehr was the name for the illegal paramilitary formations created by the Germans during the Weimar Republic, raised despite restrictions imposed by the Versailles Treaty.-Restrictions on German Military Forces after World War I:...

 became infamous for its practice of murdering all those Germans whom it was suspected were working as informers for the Allied Control Commission, which was responsible for ensuring that Germany was in compliance with Part V. The killings perpetrated by the "Black Reichswehr were justifed by the revival of the Femegerichte (secret court) system. These killings were ordered by the officers from Sondergruppe R. Regarding the Femegerichte murders, Carl von Ossietzky
Carl von Ossietzky
Carl von Ossietzky was a German pacifist and the recipient of the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize. He was convicted of high treason and espionage in 1931 after publishing details of Germany's alleged violation of the Treaty of Versailles by rebuilding an air force, the predecessor of the Luftwaffe, and...

"Lieutenant Schulz (charged with the murder of informers against the "Black Reichswehr") did nothing but carry out the orders given him, and that certainly Colonel von Bock, and probably Colonel von Schleicher and General Seeckt, should be sitting in the dock beside him".
Several times th officers from Sondergruppe R perjured themselves in court when they denied that the Reichswehr had anything to do with the "Black Reichswehr" or the murders they had committed. In a secret letter sent to the President of the German Supreme Court, which was trying a member of the Black Reichswehr for murder, Seeckt admitted that the Black Reichswehr was controlled by the Reichswehr, and argued that the murders were justified by the struggle against Versailles, so the court should acquit the defendant.

In 1921, Seeckt had Kurt von Schleicher
Kurt von Schleicher
Kurt von Schleicher was a German general and the last Chancellor of Germany during the era of the Weimar Republic. Seventeen months after his resignation, he was assassinated by order of his successor, Adolf Hitler, in the Night of the Long Knives....

 of Sondergruppe R, negotiate the arrangements with Leonid Krasin
Leonid Krasin
Leonid Borisovich Krasin July 1870, Kurgan – November 24, 1926) was a Russian and Soviet Bolshevik politician and diplomat.-Early years:Krasin was born in Kurgan, near Tobol'sk in Siberia. His father, Boris Ivanovich Krasin was the local chief of police...

 for German aid to the Soviet arms industry. In September 1921, at a secret meeting in Schleicher's apartment, the details of an arrangement for a German financial and technological aid for building up the Soviet arms industry in exchange for Soviet support in helping Germany evade the disarmament clauses of the Treaty of Versailles were agreed to. Schleicher created a shell corporation known as the GEFU (Gesellschaft zur Förderung gewerblicher Unternehmungen-Company for the promotion of industrial enterprise) that funnelled 75 million Reichmarks into the Soviet arms industry. The GEFU founded factories in the Soviet Union for the production of aircraft, tanks, artillery shells and poison gas. The arms contracts of GEFU in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 ensured that Germany did not fall behind in military technology in the 1920s despite being disarmed by Versailles, and laid the covert foundations in the 1920s for the overt rearmament of the 1930s.

Seeckt was a leading advocate of the policy of rapprochement with the Soviet Union, which he saw as the best way to destroy the internatioanl system established by the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

. Seeckt's pro-Soviet policies caused considerable tension with the former Foreign Minister Count Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau, who was to sent out as the Ambassador to Moscow. Brockdorff-Rantzau was just as committed as Seeckt to the destruction of Versailles, but who rather preferred to accomplish that goal through an alliance with Britain. Moreover, Brockdorff-Rantzau feared that a too close rapprochment with the Soviet Union would alienate Britain and driver her into the arms of France. In response, on September 11, 1922 Seeckt send a memo to Brockdorff-Rantzau entitled "Germany's Attitude to the Russian Problem". Some of Seeckt's salient points were:
"Germany must pursue a policy of action. Every State must do that. The moment it stops pursuing a forward policy it ceases to be a State. An active policy must have a goal and a driving force. For carrying it out it is essential to to assess one's own strength correctly and at the same time understand the methods and aims of the other powers.

The man who bases his political ideas on the weakness of his own country, who sees only dangers, or whose only desire is to remain stationary, is not pursuing a policy at all, and should be kept far away from the scene of activity.

The years 1814/15 saw France in complete military and political collapse, yet no one at the Congress of Vienna followed a more active policy than Talleyrand-to France's advantage. Has the world ever seen a greater catastrophe than that suffered by Russia in the last war? Yet with what vigor the Soviet Government recovered, both at home and abroad! Did not the Sick Man of Europe seem to be dead once more and for all, and buried by the Treaty of Sèvres? Yet today, after the victory over Greece, he stands up to England with confidence. He followed an active Turkish policy.

Have not Germany's first stirrings in active politics, the Treaty of Rapallo, clearly brought her at last nearer to being more respected?.

This treaty splits opinion into different camps when the Russian problem is considered. The main point about it is not its economic value, thought that is by no means inconsiderable, but its political achievement. This association between Germany and Russia is the first and almost the only increase in power which he have so far obtained since peace was made. That this association should begin in the field of economics is a natural consequence of the general situation, but is strength lies in the fact that this economic rapprochment is preparing the way for the possibility of a political and thus also a military association. It is beyond a doubt that such a double association would strengthen Germany-and also Russia...The whole policy of reconciliation and appeasement towards France-no matter whether it is pursued by a Stinnes or by General Ludendorff-is hopeless as it aims at political success. The question of orientation towards the West, as far as France is concerned is ruled out...

England is drifting towards another historic conflict with France, even through she does not face imminent war. That lurks in the background. A glance at the East is surely sufficient even for those who before Genoa did not wish to use their eyes and ears. The British interests in the Dardanelles, Egypt and India are certainly infinitely more important at the moment than those on the Rhine, and an understanding between Britain and France at Germany's expense, that is, a concession by Britain in return for an immediate advantage, is by no means improbable. Yet even such an understanding would be only temporary. The moment is coming, and must come, when Britain will be looking for allies on the Continent. When that moment arrives she will prefer the mercenary who is growing in strength, and will even have to make him stronger.

A rapprochement between Germany and Russia would not have a decisive influence on Britain's attitude either in making a concession to France or in searching for an ally. British policy is ruled by other more compelling motives than anxiety about some far-distant threat from a Russia made strong with the help of Germany...

With Poland we come now to the core of the Eastern problem. The existence of Poland is intolerable and incompatible with Germany's vital interests. She must disappear and will do so through her own inner weakness and through Russia-with our help. Poland is more intolerable for Russia than for ourselves; Russia can never tolerate Poland. With Poland collapses one of the strongest pillars of the Peace of Versailles, France's advance post of power. The attainment of this objective must be one of the firmest guiding principles of German policy, as it is capable of achievement-but only through Russia or with her help.

Poland can never offer Germany any advantage, either economically, because she is incapable of development, or politically, because she is a vassal state of France. The restoration of the frontier between Russia and Germany is a necessary condition before both sides can become strong. The 1914 frontier between Russia and Germany should be the basis of any understanding between the two countries...

I will touch one or two more objections to the policy demanded towards Russia. Germany today is certainly not in a position to resist France. Our policy should be to prepare the means of doing so in the future. A French advance through Germany to go to the help of Poland would make nonsense from the military point of view, so long as Germany does not voluntarily co-operate. The idea springs from the notions of our 1919 diplomats, and there have been three years of work since then. War on the Rhine between France and Russia is a political bogy. Germany will not be Bolshevized, even by an understanding with Russia on external matters.

The German nation, with its Socialist majority, would be averse from a policy of action, which has to reckon with the possiblity of war. It must be admitted that the spirit surrounding the Peace Delegation at Versailles has not yet disappeared, and that stupid cry of 'No more war!' is widely echoed. It is echoed by many bourgeois-pacifist elements, but among the workers and also among the members of the official Social Democratic Party there are many who are not prepared to eat out of the hands of France and Poland. It is true that there is a widespread and understandable need for peace among the German people. The clearest heads, when considering the pros and cons of war, will be those of the military, but to pursue a policy means to take a lead. In spite of everything, the German people will follow the leader in the struggle for their existence. Our task to prepare for this struggle, for we shall not be spared it".
Seeckt's memo won Brockdorff-Rantzau over to his policy

After Seeckt had met Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 for the first time on 11 March 1923 he wrote: "We were one in our aim; only our paths were different". On the night of September 29–30, 1923 the Black Reichswehr under the leadership of Major Buchrucker attempted a putsch. Seeckt was prompt in his response, ordering the Reichswehr to crush Buschrucker's putsch by laying siege to the forts he had seized outside of Berlin. After two days, Buchrucker surrendered. Seeckt firmly resisted Hitler's Putsch
Beer Hall Putsch
The Beer Hall Putsch was a failed attempt at revolution that occurred between the evening of 8 November and the early afternoon of 9 November 1923, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff, and other heads of the Kampfbund unsuccessfully tried to seize power...

 on November 8–9, 1923, insisting that the Bavarian Division of the Reischswehr remain loyal to the state. The British historian John Wheeler-Bennett
John Wheeler-Bennett
Sir John Wheeler Wheeler-Bennett , GCVO, CMG, OBE, FBA, FRSL was a conservative English historian of German and diplomatic history, and the official biographer of King George VI.-Early career:...

 wrote that Seeckt was loyal to the Reich, not the Republic and that ideologically Seeckt sympathized with Erich Ludendorff
Erich Ludendorff
Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff was a German general, victor of Liège and of the Battle of Tannenberg...

, Buchrucker and Hitler. Seeckt was only opposed to the Munich Beerhall putsch and Buckrucker's putsch because the stated aim of the Nazis and the Black Reichswehr was to reject the peaceful settlement of the Ruhrkampf
Occupation of the Ruhr
The Occupation of the Ruhr between 1923 and 1925, by troops from France and Belgium, was a response to the failure of the German Weimar Republic under Chancellor Cuno to pay reparations in the aftermath of World War I.-Background:...

 that had been agreed to in September and instead go to war with France in 1923. Seeckt knowing the most probable outcome of such war preferred that the Weimar Republic stay in existence, at least for the moment when painful compromises were necessary. Wheeler-Bennett wrote that if there was any chance that Germany could had defeated France in 1923, then Seeckt would had gladly joined forces with the Nazis. Seeckt strongly opposed the Locarno Treaties
Locarno Treaties
The Locarno Treaties were seven agreements negotiated at Locarno, Switzerland, on 5 October – 16 October 1925 and formally signed in London on 3 December, in which the First World War Western European Allied powers and the new states of central and Eastern Europe sought to secure the post-war...

 which he viewed as appeasement of France and was sceptical of German membership of the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 because he believed it was compromising Germany's connections with the Soviet Union. In particular, Seeckt objected to joining the League as one of the conditions for League membership was the commitment not to engage in aggression against other League members, something that put something of a damper on Seeckt's plans for aggression against Poland.

Seeckt was eventually forced to resign on 9 October 1926 after permitting Prince Wilhelm
Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (1906-1940)
Prince Wilhelm of Prussia was the eldest child and son of Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. At his birth, he was second in line to the German throne, and was expected to one day succeed to the throne after the deaths of his father and grandfather, both of...

, the grandson of the former emperor
William II, German Emperor
Wilhelm II was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. He was a grandson of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe...

 to attend army manoeuvres in the uniform of the old imperial First Foot Guards without first seeking government approval.

While running the military, Von Seeckt only allowed skilled men to be in the 100,000 man army. He locked them into a mandatory 12 years of confirmed military service with full board and pay, allowing for a form of stability that rarely existed in the midst of massive economic depression of Germany. He gained the loyalty of his men by paying them six times the amount of a French army soldier.

Later years

From 1930-1932 Seeckt sat in the Reichstag
Reichstag (Weimar Republic)
The Reichstag was the parliament of Weimar Republic .German constitution commentators consider only the Reichstag and now the Bundestag the German parliament. Another organ deals with legislation too: in 1867-1918 the Bundesrat, in 1919–1933 the Reichsrat and from 1949 on the Bundesrat...

 as a member of the DVP
German People's Party
The German People's Party was a national liberal party in Weimar Germany and a successor to the National Liberal Party of the German Empire.-Ideology:...

, after failing to be adopted as a candidate for the Centre Party
Centre Party (Germany)
The German Centre Party was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. Formed in 1870, it battled the Kulturkampf which the Prussian government launched to reduce the power of the Catholic Church...

. In the presidential election of 1932
German presidential election, 1932
The presidential election of 1932 was the second and final direct election to the office of President of the Reich , Germany's head of state during the 1919-1934 Weimar Republic. The incumbent President, Paul von Hindenburg, had been elected in 1925 but his seven year term expired in May...

 he wrote to his sister, urging her to vote for Hitler. In October 1933, Seeckt arrived in China to head the German military mission. At the time of his arrival, Sino-German relations were in a bad state owning to the racial arrogance of the Germans, and Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

 was considering firing the Germans and bringing in a French military mission. In order to save the military mission, Seeckt ordered the German officers to behave with more tact towards the Chinese and to start showing some respect for Chinese sensibilities. In this way, Seeckt saved Germany's position in China. From 1934-1935 he served as an adviser to Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

. But on returning to Germany from China he became disillusioned with Hitler.

Von Seeckt died in Berlin on December 27, 1936 and was buried at Invalidenfriedhof.

Further reading

  • Craig, Gordon
    Gordon A. Craig
    Gordon Alexander Craig was a Scottish-American historian of German history and of diplomatic history.-Early life:...

    . The Politics of the Prussian Army 1640-1945. Oxford University Press, 1964.
  • Corum, James. The Roots of Blitzkrieg: Hans von Seeckt and German Military Reform. University Press of Kansas, 1992.
  • The American Heritage Picture History of World War II Volume One. New York: American Heritage Publishing Company, 1966
  • Albert Seaton. The German Army 1933-45. ISBN 0 297 78032 9

See also

  • Sino-German cooperation
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