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Otto von Lossow
January 15, 1868 - November 25, 1938
Allegiance Kingdom of Bavaria / Germany
Service/branch Bavarian Army, Reichswehr
Years of service 1888-1924
Rank Generalmajor
Commands held Wehrkreis VII (1923-1924)
Battles/wars Gallipoli
Awards Bavaria: Military Merit Order, 2nd Class with Swords
Prussia: Order of the Red Eagle, 2nd Class with Crown and Swords
Austria-Hungary: Military Merit Cross, 2nd Class with War Decoration
Ottoman Empire: Liakat Medal in Gold with Sabers
Ottoman Empire: Order of Osmanieh
Ottoman Empire: Order of Medjidie
Ottoman Empire: Turkish War Medal (so-called "Gallipoli Star")

General Otto von Lossow (January 15, 1868 - November 25, 1938) was a Bavarian Army and then German Army officer, who played a prominent role in the events surrounding the attempted Beer Hall Putsch by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in November 1923.

Military career

Lossow was born in Hof in the Kingdom of Bavaria. He entered the Bavarian Army in 1888. He served in a variety of assignments, and was trained as a general staff officer. He served with the German contingent of the relief expedition during the Boxer Rebellion.

Immediately prior to World War I, Lossow was a lieutenant colonel and a general staff officer without a specific assignment. On mobilization in August 1914, he was assigned to be the chief of the general staff of the II. Bavarian Reserve Corps. Lossow served with the corps until July 1915, when he became the German military attaché in Istanbul (then still called Constantinople in German records) in the Ottoman Empire, where he assisted the Ottoman Army and the German military mission in planning the ongoing response to Allied landings in Gallipoli. He remained in the Ottoman Empire for the rest of the war, becoming in April 1916 the "German Military Plenipotentiary at the Imperial Embassy in Constantinople." Despite the title, he was junior to many of the German officers in the Ottoman Empire serving as advisors to and commanders of Ottoman military formations.[1]

In 1919, Lossow, now a major general (Generalmajor), was part of the transitional force which would become the Reichswehr, the 100,000-man army permitted to Germany under the Treaty of Versailles.

  • From 1920 to 1923, he was the commander of the infantry school. On January 1,
  • 1923, he became the commander (Befehlshaber) in Wehrkreis VII, the Reichswehr military region which covered Bavaria. He held this assignment through the attempted Beer Hall Putsch until his replacement in March 1924. [2]
  • 1935 Portraitbust Otto von Lossow by Arno Breker.
  • 1938 death in Munich.

Beer Hall Putsch

Generalmajor von Lossow became briefly prominent in German history as being, with Gustav Ritter von Kahr, Minister President of Bavaria and Colonel Hans Ritter von Seisser, head of the Bavarian State Police (Landespolizei), part of the triumvirate who at this time exercised political control in Munich.[3]

The political situation in Germany was, at the time of the attempted coup and for some time afterwards, unstable, and the Bavarian Government under Ritter von Kahr tended to take a line independent of that of the national government of the Weimar Republic in Berlin. When ordered to arrest three of the leaders of some of the armed bands then currently operating in Bavaria, the triumvirate refused. General von Lossow was ordered by the Commander-in-Chief of the army, General Hans von Seeckt, to arrest the three men and to suppress the daily newspaper of the Nazi party, the Völkischer Beobachter.

This he hesitated to do, and was sacked from his command by General von Seeckt and replaced by General Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein. Ritter von Kahr, however, defied Seeckt and announced that von Lossow would retain the command. During the Beer Hall Putsch he was briefly held as a prisoner by Hitler and the SA together with Ritter von Kahr and Ritter von Seisser. After Hitler left the Beer Hall to supervise the activities of the putschists, Lossow, Ritter von Kahr, and Ritter von Seisser were released, ostensibly to fulfill Hitler's orders at their respective offices. All went instead to the barracks of the local infantry regiment, where General Jakob Ritter von Danner, Munich garrison commandant and technically Lossow's deputy, met them. Ritter von Danner, who had been directed independently by General von Seeckt to put down the coup, asked if their statements at the Beer Hall was merely a ruse to escape Nazi custody. The triumvirate agreed, fearing the consequences of their initial cooperation with the putschists, and acted to put down the putsch attempt. Lossow ultimately escaped any disciplinary action for his behavior during the putsch attempt, but never held another command.[4]

Notes

  1. ^ World War I career details are from Das Bayernbuch vom Weltkriege, Vol. 1, published by the Bavarian War Archives in 1930.
  2. ^ Post-World War I career details are from Günter Wegner, Stellenbestezung der deutschen Heere 1815-1839, Vol. 1 (Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück 1990).
  3. ^ "Ritter von" (roughly "Knight of") was a lesser German title of nobility. Bavarian commoners who received their kingdom's highest military order, the Military Max Joseph Order, such as Hans Seisser, or the Merit Order of the Bavarian Crown, such as Gustav Kahr, received a non-hereditary patent of nobility and added "Ritter von" to their names. After the fall of the German Empire, when noble titles were abolished, most nobles simply changed their names so that the former title became part of their surname. Thus Kahr and Seisser are properly referred to as "Ritter von Kahr" and "Ritter von Seisser" rather than "Kahr" and "Seisser".
  4. ^ See Anthony Read, The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle, Chapter IV, (W. W. Norton & Company 2004, ISBN 0393048004), for more on the personalities involved in the Beer Hall Putsch. Read misidentifies Jakob Ritter von Danner as "Hans".
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