Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von Moltke, der Jüngere
(25.05.1848 - 18.06.1916)
place of birth: Gersdorf, Großherzogtum
Preußen: Generalstabschef, Quartiermeister, Generaloberst
Helmuth the Younger, also nicknamed Julius,
was the nephew of former Prussian Chief of General Staff and
military strategist Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Elder.
He and his wife were Christian Scientists and had side interests in
cults. He also painted and played the cello. Young Helmuth was born on 25 May 1848 and was named after his uncle. He
was cited for bravery while serving as a lieutenant in the 7th Grenadier
Regiment during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
of the Imperial War College in 1878, he became
the personal adjutant
to his uncle who was serving as Chief of the Great General Staff in
Berlin. His uncle Helmuth died in 1891, and the younger Helmuth then
transferred to Kaiser Wilhelm II's inner circle as his aide-de-camp.
After commanding a brigade and a division in the Berlin area, von
Moltke took on the role as Germany's Quartermaster- General, in effect,
Chief of General Staff von Schlieffen's deputy. Likely as a result of
his friendship with the Kaiser, von Moltke succeeding Schlieffen when he
died in 1906, being selected ahead of candidates such as Hans von
Beseler, Karl von Bülow, and Colmar von der Goltz. He supposedly
accepted the posting only on condition that the Kaiser stop winning all
of Prussia's annual war games, thus making a mockery of them. Von Moltke thus
headed the Germany Army at the outbreak of World War One.
modifications to the Schlieffen Plan were basically sensible but
terribly unsuccessful, and he was unceremoniously replaced by
Falkenhayn following the failure of the Marne Campaign
as he also continued with degenerating health. Some historians argue
that it was the failure of von Kluck's First Army to maintain contact
with von Bülow's Second Army as the two approached Paris which caused
the Schlieffen Plan to ultimately fail. Others contend that
Moltke lost control of the invading armies during the August invasion
along the Western Front and was thus unable to react correctly as the First
Battle of the Marne developed in September. While it is true that
Moltke had lost effective touch with his field commanders, German
operational doctrine nonetheless emphasized personal initiative on the
part of subordinate officers. Other historians also propose that the
multitude of strategic options Moltke faced, and especially the danger
of the Russian invasion of East Prussia clouded Moltke's judgement. He
was awarded the Pour le
Merite in 1915 but suffered a heart attack and died in Berlin
on 18 June 1916.
Kreuz II ..............
le Mérite ....................
must attack France in the field...we cannot become mired
in prolonged positional warfare along France's fortified
Chief of General Staff Helmut von Moltke
* letter to Austrian CINC Conrad - 5 Aug 1914