Hans Hartwig von Beseler
(27.04.1850 - 20.12.1921)
place of birth: Greifswald, Pommern (Pomerania)
Prussian Generaloberst Hans von
Beseler was born into the family of Georg Beseler, a well-known law
instructor. He served during the Franco-Prussian War as a
lieutenant in a combat engineering company. When Beseler later became
the Deputy Chief of the Great General Staff (1899), he was regarded as
von Schlieffen's heir apparent. But when that post went instead to von
Moltke, he retired in 1911. He entered the Prussian House of Lords in
1912, but as war broke out, was reactivated to command III. Reserve
Corps. Beseler is best known for commanding the occupational forces
which captured the Fortress of Antwerp, a feat which earned him
the Pour le Merite.
With the III. Reserves transferring to the Eastern Front in
November 1914 under Gallwitz, Beseler found himself in command of the
army which captured and occupied the Fortress of Modlin (Nowo
Georgiewsk), taking over 85,000 Russian prisoners. Falkenhayn then
appointed him Governor General of Poland at Warsaw (1915). In the fall
of 1916, Beseler unrealistically promised Ludendorff that Poland could
provide the German Army with five extra divisions by the spring of 1917.
After promotion to colonel general in late 1918, Beseler committed the
unpardonable act of leaving his command without a farewell to his
troops. He died and was buried three years later at Neubabelsberg near
Potsdam, 20 December 1921. He and his wife Clara Cornelius had three
daughters. Additionally, Beseler's uncle Wilhelm Hartwig von Beseler was
president of the provisional government of Schleswig-Holstein (1848).
Kreuz II ..............
le Mérite ....................