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Hans von Seeckt.jpg

Hans von Seeckt (22 April 1866-27 December 1936) was a Colonel-General of the Imperial German Army and Reichswehr armed forces of Germany, and he served as commander-in-chief of the Reichswehr from 1920 to 1926.


Hans von Seeckt was born on 22 April 1866 in Schleswig, Prussia to an old Pomeranian family. Seeckt held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel at the start of World War I, and he served as August von Mackensen's chief of staff during the war against the Russian Empire. In 1915, he assisted in directing the successful Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive, and he was sent to become Chief-of-Staff of the Ottoman Empire's army in 1917. He supported the Young Turks during the Armenian Genocide, arguing that the actions were necessary to save Turkey from internal decay. 

After the end of the Great War, Seeckt remained an officer in the Weimar Republic's Reichswehr. Von Seeckt was made commander-in-chief in 1920, and he was responsible for choosing the 4,000 officers who would remain in the military. Seeckt chose the best officers to remain in the reduced military, and his monarchist and conservative views led to him banning Jews from serving in the military and favoring an alliance with the Soviet Union to get revenge against Poland. Von Seeckt criticized the Freikorps as a group stuck in the past, and he sought to establish a military dictatorship ruled by Gustav Noske. Seeckt planned out the defense of Germany in the scenario of an invasion from France, hoping to hold the British and French at the Weser River as the Germans and Soviets launched a joint invasion of Poland; the Soviets and Germans would then team up to conquer London. Seeckt's reforms of the military effectively led to the creation of Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht, as he built up a strong army. Seeckt later headed to China and advised the Republic of China's generals, hoping to structure the Chinese military in a German fashion. He helped in advising Chiang Kai-shek against Mao Zedong's communists, and he retired in 1935. Seeckt died in Berlin in 1936 at the age of 70.