The ‘Victor of Tannenberg’

Anna von der Goltz

in Hindenburg

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780199570324
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722240 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

The ‘Victor of Tannenberg’

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter discusses the sudden emergence of the Hindenburg myth after the Battle of Tannenberg in 1914. It shows that the German population played a central role in exalting this little-known General to mythical heights from below. Once public passion had caught fire, however, the government happily stoked the flames of the cult. The chapter examines popular manifestations of the Hindenburg myth in some detail, including memorabilia and the ‘Iron Hindenburg’ nailing statue erected in central Berlin in 1915. Special attention is also given to the myth's impact on Kaiser Wilhelm II's public standing. While the Kaiser's government actively encouraged Hindenburg's popularity, his myth quickly developed its own momentum; Hindenburg started to eclipse the Kaiser in the eyes of the public, eventually undermining the monarchical idea.

Keywords: Tannenberg; myth; memorabilia; Kaiser Wilhelm II

Chapter.  10953 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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