Hans von Seeckt (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Seeckt reshaped Germany’s small post-1918 Reichswehr on modern lines, emphasizing the principles of mobility and combined attack later employed in the Blitzkrieg victories of 1940.
Johannes (Hans) Friedrich Leopold von Seeckt was born on April 22, 1866, the second surviving child and only surviving son of Captain (later General) Richard von Seeckt, and Auguste von Seeckt aus Greifswald. Gymnasium-educated and more intellectual than athletic, Hans joined the select Alexander Guards Regiment of the Prussian army as an ensign in 1885 and made second lieutenant in 1887. Hard work and intelligence earned for him a year at the War Academy in 1893, promotion to first lieutenant in 1894, General Staff assignments in 1897, and appointment to the German General Staff, with subsequent promotion to captain in 1899. Seeckt worked on the mobilization of the 1900 China Expedition and was promoted to major in 1906.
In 1893, Seeckt married Dorothea Jacobson Fabian, of German-Jewish middle-class background, in a happy though childless union. Seeckt’s foreign observer assignments plus holidays provided the couple with travel experience in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and India. Their Berlin home became a center for a varied society with broad cultural interests. By 1914, the slim, monocled, somewhat elegant major already had much the appearance of his later years.
(The entire section is 1992 words.)
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Hans von Seeckt (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: As chief of the army leadership of Germany in the 1920’s, Seeckt was the architect of the Reichswehr, the 100,000-man army imposed on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles (1919).
During World War I, Hans von Seeckt served as a staff officer. He is credited with planning the brilliant and crushing German victory over Russia at Gorlice in 1915. In 1916-1917, he served on the staff of the joint Austro-German force that overran Romania.
Back in Germany after the war, he became head of the Troops Office, overseeing the demobilization of hundreds of German soldiers. His accomplishments led to his appointment as the chief of the German army in 1920. His emphasis on discipline and professionalism enabled him to keep the German army out of politics, despite the conservative views of the majority of officers. Seeckt’s control over the officers ensured that Adolf Hitler’s first attempt to seize power, the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, failed.
In the long run, the emphasis on professional competence and discipline made the Reichswehr an apt vehicle for the expansion of the army in the 1930’s. This expansion enabled Hitler’s attacks on Poland, western Europe, and Russia in World War II.
Corum, James S. The Roots of Blitzkrieg: Hans von Seeckt and German Military Reform. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1992.
(The entire section is 262 words.)