German general and statesman. He fought at the Battle of Königgratz (Sadowa) and in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) and retired in 1911. He was recalled to active service at the outbreak of World War I and crushed the Russians at Tannenberg in east Prussia (August 1914). In 1916 he became chief of the general staff. After the failure of Germany's offensive (1918) he advised the need to sue for peace. After the war he came to tolerate the Weimar Republic and in 1925 was elected as President in succession to Ebert. Re-elected (1932), he did not oppose the rise of Hitler, but appointed him as Chancellor (January 1933) on the advice of Franz von Papen.