Erich Georg Alexander Sebastien von Falkenhayn
(11.09.1861 - 08.04.1922)
place of birth:  Burg Belchau - Graudenz Westpreußen  (Grydziadz, PL)
Königreich Preußen:  Kriegsminister,  Generalstabschef,  General der Infanterie


Born to an impoverished but aristocratic Junker family in West Prussia (parents: Fedor von Falkenhayn and Franziska von Rosenberg), young Erich was commissioned as a second lieutenant by age 19. Twenty years later, in the early 1900s, Major von Falkenhayn found himself serving  in China as a military instructor and on Count von Waldersee's general staff during the Boxer Rebellion. A favorite of Wilhelm II -- he had been one of  young Crown Prince Willy's military instructors -- Falkenhayn returned to Germany, worked his way up through several staff positions and, one year prior to war's outbreak, was named Prussian War Minister.

Following the Marne disaster
during the first month of the war, Falkenhayn was selected to replace von Moltke as Chief of General Staff. He simultaneously held this position and that of Prussian War Minister for the next five months. Highly intelligent, but indecisive and aloof, his push for unrestricted submarine warfare brought him into conflict with Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg.  He also developed the perspective that the Western Front was the most crucial area of fighting, bringing him into bitter conflict with the heroes of the East, von Hindenburg and Ludendorff.  He understood early on, however, that the war was a probably a lost cause, compelling him in 1916 to devise the desperate plan that would become the debacle of Verdun. Because of this, he was replaced by von Hindenburg as Chief of Staff, and thereafter demoted to commander the Ninth Army, a force which overran Romania within nine weeks. He was then transferred to Palestine to command Army Group Yildirim (1917-18) and recapture Mesopotamia, but his failure to halt General Allenby there saw him replaced by the capable Liman von Sanders and sent to the relatively obscure command of the Tenth Army in Lithuania, where he spent the last six months of the war. During the war, Falkenhayn was awarded both the Pour le Merite (16.2.1915) and the Order of the Black Eagle (12.5.1915).

Soon after the war, General of Infantry von Falkenhayn went into retirement and secluded himself at Schloß Lindstedt near Potsdam in order to pen his memoirs. Before dying there on 8 April 1922, he wrote "Supreme Army Command 1914-1916 and its Most Noteworthy Decisions" and "The Ninth Army and its Campaigns Against the Romanians and Russians, 1916-1917". Von Falkenhayn's elder brother Eugen also served during the war as a corps-level commander. He died on 8 April 1922 in Lindsted and is buried at the Bornstedter Friedhof near Schloß Sanssouci in Potsdam.

 
 

Kriegsminister  ................. 07.07.1913  -  20.01.1915

Generalstabschef  ............ 14.09.1914  -  29.08.1916
General der Infanterie .... 20.01.1915

Pour le Mérite .................... 16.02.1915  (Eichenlaub:  03.06.1915)
 
 
 

  
 
Curriculum Vitae
   
17.04.1880 Oldenburgisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 91 - Oldenburg
17.04.1880 Sekonde-Lieutenant
16.06.1884 Bezirkskommando Oldenburg II  (Adjutant)   
30.05.1887 Oldenburgisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 91 - Oldenburg   
01.10.1887 Preußische Kriegsakademie - Berlin
21.07.1890 Oldenburgisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 91 - Oldenburg
21.09.1889 Premier-Lieutenant
22.03.1891 Großer Generalsstab - Berlin
25.03.1893 Hauptmann
01.02.1894 IX. Armeekorps - Altona  (on Graf von Waldersee's general staff) 
12.09.1895 Infanterie-Regiment ,,von Borcke (4. Pommersches) Nr. 21 - Thorn  (Coy Cdr) 
25.06.1896 zur Disposition gestellt:  Instructional Officer attached to Chinese Army 
25.03.1899 Military Attache - Qingdao, Kiao-Chau China
25.03.1899 Major
24.02.1900 Großer Generalsstab - Berlin
29.03.1900 XIV. Armeekorps - Karlsruhe  (on Adolf von Bülow's general staff)
09.07.1900 Ostasiatisches Expeditionskorps: Boxeraufstand  (East Asian Expedition Corps, on Lessel's general staff) 
18.10.1903 Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 92 - Braunschweig  (Coy Cdr)
15.09.1905 Oberstleutnant
10.04.1906 Großer Generalsstab - Berlin  (Section Chief)
22.03.1907 XVI. Armeekorps - Metz  (Max von Prittwitz und Gaffrons' Chief of General Staff)
18.05.1908 Oberst
27.01.1911 4. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß - Berlin  (Cdr) 
20.02.1912 IV. Armeekorps - Magdeburg  (Friedrich Sixt von Armin's Chief of General Staff)
22.04.1912 Generalmajor
07.07.1913 Preußisches Kriegsministerium - Berlin  (Prussian Minister of War, replaced von Heeringen)
07.07.1913 Generalleutnant
   
Great War
   
02.08.1914 Großes Hauptquartier, Preußischer Kriegsminister   (Prussian Minister of War, mobilized with Great HQ)
14.09.1914 Großes Hauptquartier, Chef des Generalstabes  (Chief of General Staff of the Field Army, replaced Helmuth von Moltke)
20.01.1915 General der Infanterie
06.09.1916 9. Armee  (replaced Prince Leopold von Bayern)
09.07.1917 Heeresgruppenkommando "F" - "Yildirim"  (Palestine)
09.07.1917 Generalfeldmarschall  (Turkish Army)
04.03.1918 10. Armee  (replaced Hermann von Eichhorn)
25.02.1919 Offizier von der Armee
   
   
 

06.05.1914

 

 

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