Who's Who - Max Hoffmann
Max Hoffmann (1869-1927), a
brilliant strategist widely regarded as the architect of the German Eighth
Army's sweeping victory at
and to a lesser extent at the Masurian Lakes, was born in Homberg an der
Efze on 25 January 1869.
Immediately prior to the outbreak of war in the summer of 1914 Hoffmann served as an Oberstleutnant in East Prussia, attached to the German Eighth Army as Deputy Chief of Staff.
Hoffmann's fame primarily rests upon his brilliantly conceived strategy of double-enveloping the Russian Second Army, under Samsonov, at Tannenberg in August 1914, effectively bringing about its entire destruction.
Success at Tannenberg -
Ludendorff (who received most of the contemporary credit, much to
Hoffmann's resentment) essentially expelled the Russians from East Prussia,
with subsequent victory at the
Battle of the Masurian Lakes in September resulting in the withdrawal of
Russian First Army. With Rennenkampf's withdrawal, both Russian
invasion armies had been successfully repelled; the Russians did not
subsequently re-enter German territory until 1945.
Following these initial successes in the East Hoffmann was promoted to Oberst and attached to headquarters in Brest-Litovsk; his background in the East both prior to and during the early stages of the war rendered him the primary authority on Eastern matters.
In 1917 Hoffmann was promoted to Generalmajor, by which time he had been handed command of the Eastern armies
as Chief of Staff to Prince Leopold. Hindenburg and Ludendorff had
returned to Berlin in August 1916 in triumph, Hindenburg to assume the role
of Chief of Staff (from
Ludendorff his Quartermaster-General.
In 1917 Hoffmann led the German offensive against Russia which brought about the sweepingly favourable German peace terms at Brest-Litovsk (in which he served as military representative), freeing up German resources in the East for transferral to the West.
'Kitchener's Army' comprised Men recruited into the British Army a result of Lord Kitchener's appeal for volunteers.
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