Paul Otto Felix Freiherr Kreß von Kressenstein
(13.09.1850 - 19.02.1929)
place of birth: Germersheim, Bayern
Königreich Bayern: Kriegsminister,
Bavarian Generaloberst Otto Freiherr Kreß von Kressenstein
served during the Great War as Imperial Bavarian Minister
of War. Otto was born into the home of Major Joseph Freiherr Kreß von Kressenstein
from an old patrician family of Nürnberg. The major was a participant
in the Franco-Prussian War and was killed in action in February
of 1871. Otto's mother was an officer's daughter from Augsburg. Young
Otto likewise saw action in the Franco-Prussian War as 20-year
old lieutenant in the Bavarian cavalry. He received the Iron Cross 2nd
Class, having been engaged at Weißenburg, Wörth, Sedan,
and the siege of Paris.
Following the hostilities,
Sekonde-Lieutenant Kreß von Kressenstein continued in the regimen of a
career cavalry officer, studying at the Bavarian War Academy and in 1897
taking command of his own regiment, Imperial Bavarian 6. Chevauleger-Regiment in
Bamberg. Interestingly, he was in command of this regiment approximately
50 years after his own grandfather had formed it into an elite unit.
After heading up the Bavarian Cavalry Brigade from 1902 to 1904,
Generalleutnant Kreß von Kressenstein took over the officer of
Inspector General of Bavarian Cavalry.
Successful commands of 1st Infantry Division and III. Army Corps
caught the eye of King Luitpold, who selected him in 1912 to replace
Graf von Horn as Bavaria's War Minister. General Kreß was
simultaneously tasked with overseeing the military cabinet and all Royal
Bavarian Army administrative functions. He was subsequently noted for
his eloquent and effective representation in Parliament of the common
Bavarian soldier's fair treatment. He likewise fought for the welfare of
civilian workers in the military industry, drawing praise from Bavaria's
Social Democrats who continually supported Kreß in Parliament.
The First World War brought General Kreß von Kressenstein into
perpetual conflict with other members who formed newly-crowned King
Leopold III's cabinet, particularly Bavaria's Minister of Interior.
General Kreß also suffered a deteriorating relationship with the
military authorities in Berlin; he viewed as oppressive and unjust the
ever-increasing expectations placed upon the Bavarian military
contingent as the War continued with no end in sight. His relationship
with King Ludwig III also worsened, to the point that he stepped down
from his office on 8 December 1916 and was replaced by Generalleutnant
Philipp von Hellingrath. In retirement, Kreß von Kressenstein continued
to write on military issues, but passed away in 1929 after suffering
from a long-term illness. His son Franz was also a cavalry officer who
commanded XII. Army Corps until 1938. Son Hans was a professor and
Director of Internal Medicine at the Freie Universität Berlin.