Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von Moltke, der Jüngere
(25.05.1848 - 18.06.1916)
place of birth:  Gersdorf, Großherzogtum Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Königreich 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.

Following completion 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. 

His 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.

 
 

Generalstabschef  ............ 01.01.1906  -  14.09.1914
Generaloberst ................... 27.01.1914

Eisernes Kreuz II .............. Deutsch-Französischer Krieg  1870–1871

Pour le Mérite .................... 07.08.1915
 

 

"We must attack France in the field...we cannot become mired in prolonged positional warfare along France's fortified eastern frontier."

Chief of General Staff Helmut von Moltke
* letter to Austrian CINC Conrad - 5 Aug 1914

 
 

  
 
Curriculum Vitae
   
01.04.1869 Füsilier-Regiment ,,Königin (1. Schleswig-Holsteinisches) Nr. 86 - Flensburg     
09.12.1869 Portepee-Fähnrich
23.04.1870 Grenadier-Regiment ,,Wilhelm I (2. Westpreußisches) Nr. 7 - Liegnitz
23.09.1870 Sekonde--Lieutenant
19.07.1870 Deutsch-Französischer Krieg von 1870–1871   (awarded Iron Cross during Franco-Prussian War)
16.07.1872 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß - Potsdam
01.10.1875 Preußische Kriegsakademie - Berlin
15.09.1877 Premier-Lieutenant
30.06.1878 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß - Potsdam 
00.00.1880 Großer Generalstab - Berlin
18.04.1882 Hauptmann
15.10.1888 Major
00.00.1889 Großer Generalstab:  Adjutant - Berlin  (Adjutant to Field Marshal Graf von Moltke)
28.04.1891 Flügeladjutant SM des Kaiser und Königs  (ADC in HM Wilhelm II's court)
28.04.1891 Schloßgarde Kompanie - Berlin  (Cdr, concurrent with above)
27.01.1893 Oberst-Lieutenant
18.08.1895 Oberst
12.09.1896 ,,Kaiser Alexander Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Nr. 1 - Berlin  (Cdr) 
25.03.1899 1. Garde-Infanterie-Brigade - Potsdam  (Cdr)
25.03.1899 Generalmajor
27.01.1902 1. Garde-Infanterie-Division - Berlin  (Cdr)
27.01.1902 Generalleutnant
00.00.1902 Generaladjutant SM Wilhelm II  (Adjutant General to HM Wilhelm II)
16.02.1904 Großer Generalstab, Generalquartiermeister - Berlin  (von Schlieffen's Deputy Chief of Staff, replaced von Bülow)
01.01.1906 Großer Generalstab, Generalstabschef  - Berlin  (Chief of General Staff of the Army, replaced von Schlieffen)
16.10.1906 General der Infanterie
27.01.1914 Generaloberst
   
Great War
   
02.08.1914 Großes Hauptquartier, Chef des Generalstabes des Feldheeres   (Chief of General Staff of the Field Army)
14.09.1914 zur Disposition gestellt
   
   
 

06.05.1914

 

 

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