Wilhelm Groener
Karl Eduard Wilhelm Groener (22 November 1867 – 3 May 1939) 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...

 soldier and politician.


He was born in Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, about north of Stuttgart city centre, near the river Neckar. It is the largest and primary city of the Ludwigsburg urban district with about 87,000 inhabitants...

 in the Kingdom of Württemberg
Kingdom of Württemberg
The Kingdom of Württemberg was a state that existed from 1806 to 1918, located in present-day Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It was a continuation of the Duchy of Württemberg, which came into existence in 1495...

, the son of a regimental paymaster. He entered the Württemberg Army in 1884, and attended the War Academy from 1893 to 1897, whereupon he was appointed to the General Staff
German General Staff
The German General Staff was an institution whose rise and development gave the German armed forces a decided advantage over its adversaries. The Staff amounted to its best "weapon" for nearly a century and a half....

 (1899). For the next 17 years, he was attached to the railway section, becoming head of it in 1912. In November 1916, he moved into the Prussian War Ministry
Prussian Minister of War
The Prussian War Ministry was gradually established between 1808 and 1809 as part of a series of reforms initiated by the Military Reorganization Commission created after the disastrous Treaty of Paris. The War Ministry was to help bring the army under constitutional control, and, along with the...

 as deputy war minister and was in charge of war production.
In August 1917, Groener served as chief of staff of an army group
Army group
An army group is a military organization consisting of several field armies, which is self-sufficient for indefinite periods. It is usually responsible for a particular geographic area...

 in Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

On the resignation of Erich Ludendorff
Erich Ludendorff
Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff was a German general, victor of Liège and of the Battle of Tannenberg...

 on 29 October 1918, Groener became First Quartermaster General (Deputy Chief of the General Staff) under Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg , known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934....

. Germany′s military situation was worsening under the onslaught of the enemy, and social unrest and rebellion among both the German armed forces and the civilian population threatened to break out into revolution. In November, Groener advised Kaiser Wilhelm II that he had lost the confidence of the armed forces and recommended abdication
Abdication occurs when a monarch, such as a king or emperor, renounces his office.-Terminology:The word abdication comes derives from the Latin abdicatio. meaning to disown or renounce...

 to the monarch.

With the Kaiser′s abdication on 9 November 1918 the Marxist Spartacus League had declared a soviet republic in Berlin. Social Democrat
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 leaders Friedrich Ebert
Friedrich Ebert
Friedrich Ebert was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany .When Ebert was elected as the leader of the SPD after the death of August Bebel, the party members of the SPD were deeply divided because of the party's support for World War I. Ebert supported the Burgfrieden and...

 (newly-named Chancellor) and Philipp Scheidemann
Philipp Scheidemann
Philipp Scheidemann was a German Social Democratic politician, who proclaimed the Republic on 9 November 1918, and who became the second Chancellor of the Weimar Republic....

 sought to forestall the Communists′ action, and—evidently on the spur of the moment—Scheidemann proclaimed the Republic.

Groener, who was second-in-command of the German Army and who had known Ebert from the soldier′s days in charge of war production, contacted the socialist leader that evening.
The two men concluded the so-called Ebert-Groener pact
Ebert-Groener pact
The Ebert–Groener pact or sometimes called The Ebert-Groener deal was an agreement between Friedrich Ebert , and Wilhelm Groener , 2 days before the official end of World War I...

, which was to remain secret for a number of years. For his part of the pact, Ebert agreed to suppress the Bolshevik-led revolution and maintain the defeated Army′s role as one of the pillars of the German state; Groener in turn agreed to throw the weight of the still-considerable Army behind the new government.
For this act, Groener earned the enmity of much of the military leadership, much of whom sought the retention of the monarchy.

Groener subsequently oversaw the retreat and demobilisation of the defeated German army after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 ended with the armistice
Armistice with Germany (Compiègne)
The armistice between the Allies and Germany was an agreement that ended the fighting in the First World War. It was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a complete defeat for Germany, although not technically a surrender...

 of 11 November 1918.

After his resignation from the army (30 September 1919) to protest the signing of 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...

, Groener was in and out of retirement during the 1920s. He served as Transportation Minister between 1920 and 1923. He succeeded Otto Geßler as Defence Minister in 1928, a post he held until 1932. In 1931, he also became acting Interior Minister, and favoured the banning of the Nazi
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 storm troopers
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

 (SA). When he rose to defend his views of the banning of the SA in the Reichstag, he was violently attacked by Hermann Goering. The defense minister tried to defend himself, but suffering from diabetes and heart trouble, the old man was overwhelmed by abuse from the Nazi benches. Exhausted and humiliated, Groener left the chamber, only to walk into 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....

, who told Groener he must resign as Defense minister. He appealed to President Hindenburg, but Hindenburg claimed he could do nothing about it. On 13 May, Groener resigned, humiliated and ridiculed throughout Germany, and disappeared from public life.

Groener was married twice: Helene Geyer (1864–1926), with one daughter, Dorothea Groener-Geyer {b.1900}, and Ruth Naeher-Glück, with whom he had a son. Groener died in Potsdam
Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, southwest of Berlin city centre....

Bornstedt (Potsdam)
Bornstedt is a borough of Potsdam, Germany. It is bordered by the Pappelallee and the Castle Park of Sanssouci to the south, the Amundsenstraße to the west, and by the Nedlitzer Straße to the north and east...

on 3 May 1939.

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