The First Nazi: Erich Ludendorff, the Man Who Made Hitler Possible

Written by Alex Rovt Denise Drace-Brownell Will Brownell
Review by Janice Derr

General Erich Ludendorff (1865-1937) was one of the highest-ranking German generals during World War I, second only to General Paul von Hindenburg, yet he is little-known today. Ludendorff wanted Germany to be prepared to exist in a state of constant warfare, viewing peace only as a brief interlude. His ultimate goal was for the German empire to encompass Africa, the Middle East, Central Europe, Persia, and India. Despite being outmanned and unable to compete with American and British naval technology, Ludendorff refused to back down. At the end of the war, Ludendorff resigned, but still refused to fully admit defeat. He strongly promoted the “stab-in-the-back” legend, which asserted Germany would have won the war if it had not been betrayed by some of its own people, particularly the Jews. After the war, Ludendorff became heavily involved in right-wing politics and lent credibility to the Nazi party. Though a bit dense for the casual reader, this book will appeal to those interested in World War I military history.