Paul von Hindenburg Fact File:
Lifespan: 1847 – 1934 *** Full Name:
Paul von Hindenburg was also known as Paul
Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von
Hindenburg *** Date of Birth (Birthday): He
was born on October 2, 1847 *** Place of
Birth: Paul von Hindenburg was born in
Posen, Prussia *** Family background: His
father was an aristocrat called Robert von
Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg ***
Education: Paul von Hindenburg began his
education at Wahlstaff and Berlin cadet
schools *** Paul von Hindenburg died on
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 1:
Paul von Hindenburg was born on October 2,
1847 in Posen, Prussia.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 2:
His father was called Robert von
Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg and he was
a Prussian aristocrat. His mother's name was
Luise Schwickart, she came from a
non-aristocratic family which embarrassed
Paul von Hindenburg; a subject he chose to
ignore. He preferred his father's family
which was one of the most highly
distinguished noble families in Prussia. He
had two younger siblings, a brother called
Bernhard and a sister called Otto.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 3:
He was educated at Wahlstaff and Berlin
cadet schools. In 1866, he was commissioned
a lieutenant and served in the
Austro-Prussian War and Franco-Prussian War.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 4:
During his army career, he received a number
of promotions: In 1878, he was appointed
captain, 1881 he became major, 1891 he
became lieutenant-colonel, 1893 colonel,
1897 major general, 1900 lieutenant general.
He retired from the army in 1911.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 5:
He married an aristocrat in 1903 called
Gertrud von Sperling. The couple had two
daughters and one son together. Their names
were Irmengard Pauline, Annemaria and Oskar.
Gertrud von Sperlind died in 1921.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 6:
He was recalled to serve in the army
following the outbreak of the First World
War in 1914. The Chief of the General Staff,
Helmuth von Moltke called on him for service
and he was given command of the Eighth Army.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 7:
He became a national hero following his
promotion to colonel general on August 26,
when the Eighth Army successfully fought
against the Russian armies during the Battle
of Tannenberg and the Battle of the Masurian
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 8:
He is credited for many victories which took
place during 1914 - 1916 on the Eastern
Front making him a very popular war hero
with the people of Germany. However, his
actual military abilities are somewhat
disputed. Many believe that it was the
strength and intelligence of his team that
really won their series of great victories
during World War I.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 9:
During World War One, he was perceived as
being an honourable, decent and strong man.
He was one of Germany's most popular men.
People across the classes believed in him
and saw him as an ideal leader.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 10:
Wooden statues of Paul von Hindenburg were
erected across Germany during the First
World War. People would pin money and
cheques for bonds to the statues.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 11:
It was so clear to the government that the
people of Germany really believed in this
man, that they launched an all-out programme
of industrial mobilisation in 1916 and named
it the Hindenburg Programme.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 12:
In August 1916, he succeeded Erich von
Falkenhayn as Chief of the General Staff.
Erich Ludendorff was his deputy, however, it
often seemed that Paul von Hindenburg
exercised the real power. In 1916, an
unofficial military dictatorship had
developed which later became known as the
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 13:
He supported the Polish Border Strip plan
which refers to the territories that the
German Empire wanted to take possession of,
forcing Poles and Jews to leave their homes.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 14:
Ludendorff advised seeking an armistice with
the Allies in September 1918. He decided
against his decision in October 1918. Paul
von Hindenburg did not resign with him. He
said that he would not desert the men under
his command. Ludendorff expected him to
resign and could never bring himself to
forgive Hindenburg for the decision he made.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 15: He retired from his army
career following the First World War. He was
investigated by a Reichstag Commission for
his responsibility for the outbreak of WWI
and the defeat. Ludendorff became worried
that the blame might be pushed onto him, and
in his defence, he wrote a letter to Paul
von Hindenburg which threatened to reveal
the truth regarding victories which he'd
been credited for during the war, he said
that he would write about what really
happened in his memoirs.”
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 16:
He was not prosecuted when he appeared
before the commission. Despite being
questioned about the responsibility of the
outbreak of war and the German defeat, he
refused to answer any questions and instead,
read out a statement which had been prepared
for him. The statement blamed the defeat on
disloyal people and unpatriotic politicians.
He was deemed as such a war hero that he was
almost shielded by the people of Germany.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 17:
He was elected President of Germany mainly
due to his great reputation during World War
One. He stepped into power on May 12, 1925.
He defended Germany's actions, shocking
people across the world, when he made the
following statement, 'the means of
self-assertion against a world full of
enemies. Pure in heart we set off to the
defence of the fatherland and with clean
hands the German army carried the sword.'
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 18:
He was re-elected President of Germany in
1932. Most of his supporters saw him as a
protection against the brutality of the
Nazis. However, Hindenburg's party supported
the Nazis as they found them useful although
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 19:
He refused to appoint Hitler despite being
pressured to do so. However, Hitler and a
former chancellor called Franz von Papen
reached an agreement in November 1932 to
form a government with Hitler taking on the
position of chancellor. Hitler used terror,
threats and manipulation to gain practically
unlimited political power.
Paul von Hindenburg Fact 20:
He remained in office until he died on
August 2, 1934. He died from lung cancer at
the age of 86 at his home in Neudeck in
Prussia. Hitler visited him the day before
he died after hearing that he was on his
death bed. As a result of his death, Hitler
became Germany's head of state and head of
government. Paul von Hindenburg was buried
in Hanover next to his wife Gertrud.
Paul von Hindenburg Influence & Legacy:
He held a long-standing career with the
German Army for which he was credited with a
series of successful victories. Following
his efforts during World War One, he became
a war hero and one of the most popular
people in Germany. He was elected President
of Germany and stepped into power in May
1925. He was succeeded by Adolf Hitler.
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