The Full Wiki

Wilhelm Groener: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wilhelm Groener (1932)

Karl Eduard Wilhelm Groener (November 22, 1867 - May 3, 1939) was a German soldier and politician.


He was born in Ludwigsburg, Württemberg, the son of a regimental paymaster. He entered the Württemberg Army in 1884, and attended the War Academy from 1893 until 1897, whereupon he was appointed to the General Staff (1899). For the next seventeen years he was attached to the railway section, becoming head of it in 1912. In November 1916 he moved into the Prussian War Ministry as deputy war minister and was in charge of war production. In August 1917 Groener served as chief of staff of an army group in the Ukraine.

Groener as deputy war minister (1917) (on the left is his wife)

On the resignation of Erich Ludendorff on October 29, 1918, Groener became First Quartermaster General (Deputy Chief of the General Staff) under Field Marshal von Hindenburg. Germany's military situation was worsening under the onslaught of the enemy, and social unrest and rebellion among both the German armed forces and the civilian population threatened to break out into revolution. In November, Groener advised Kaiser Wilhelm II that he had lost the confidence of the armed forces and recommended abdication to the monarch.

With the Kaiser's abdication on November 9, 1918 the Marxist Spartacist League had declared a soviet republic in Berlin. Social Democrat leaders Friedrich Ebert (newly-named Chancellor) and Philipp Scheidemann sought to forestall the Communists' action and — evidently on the spur of the moment — Scheidemann proclaimed the Republic.

Groener, who was second-in-command of the German Army and who had known Ebert from the soldier's days in charge of war production, contacted the socialist leader that evening. The two men concluded the so-called Ebert-Groener pact, which was to remain secret for a number of years. For his part of the pact, Ebert agreed to suppress the Bolshevik-led revolution and maintain the defeated Army's role as one of the pillars of the German state; Groener in turn agreed to throw the weight of the still-considerable Army behind the new government. For this act, Groener earned the enmity of much of the military leadership, much of whom sought the retention of the monarchy.

Groener subsequently oversaw the retreat and demobilisation of the defeated German army after World War I ended with the armistice of November 11, 1918.

After his resignation from the army (September 30, 1919), Groener was in and out of retirement during the 1920s. He served as Transportation Minister between 1920 and 1923. He succeeded Otto Geßler as Defence Minister in 1928, a post he held until 1932. In 1931 he also became acting Interior Minister, and favoured the banning of the Nazi storm troopers (SA). After Franz von Papen replaced Heinrich Brüning as Chancellor, Groener retired from public life.

Groener was married twice: Helene Geyer (1864-1926), with one daughter, Dorothea Groener-Geyer {b.1900}, and Ruth Naeher-Glück, with whom he had a son. Groener died in Bornstedt bei Potsdam on May 3, 1939.


  • Eschenburg, Theodor "The Role of the Personality in the Crisis of the Weimar Republic: Hindenburg, Brüning, Groener, Schleicher" pages 3–50 from Republic to Reich The Making Of The Nazi Revolution edited by Hajo Holborn, New York: Pantheon Books, 1972.
  • Groener, Wilhelm. Lebenserinnerungen: Jugend-Generalstab-Weltkrieg. Edited by Friedrich Frhr. Hiller von Gaertringen. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1957.
  • Groener-Geyer, Dorothea. General Groener: Soldat und Staatsmann. Frankfurt a. M.: Societäts-Verlag, 1955.
  • Haeussler, Helmut H. General William Groener and the Imperial German Arm. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin for Dept. of History, University of Wisconsin, 1962.
  • Hürter, Johannes. Wilhelm Groener: Reichswehrminister am Ende der Weimarer Republik (1928-1932). Munich: Oldenbourg, 1993.
  • Rakenius, Gerhard W. Wilhelm Groener als Erster Generalquartiermeister: Die Politik der Obersten Heeresleitung 1918/19. Boppard a.R.: Boldt, 1977.
  • Stoneman, Mark R. “Wilhelm Groener, Officering, and the Schlieffen Plan.” PhD diss., Georgetown University, 2006. abstract
  • Wheeler-Bennett, Sir John. The Nemesis of Power: German Army in Politics, 1918-1945. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishing Company, 2005.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Paul von Hindenburg
Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Hans von Seeckt
Political offices
Preceded by
Gustav Bauer
Transportation Minister of Germany
Succeeded by
Rudolf Oeser
Preceded by
Otto Geßler
Defence Minister of Germany
Succeeded by
Kurt von Schleicher
Preceded by
Joseph Wirth
Interior Minister of Germany
Succeeded by
Wilhelm Freiherr von Gayl

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

"WILHELM GROENER (1867-), German general, was born Nov. 22 1867 at Ludwigsburg, Wurttemberg. In 1912 he was a sectional chief of the railway section of the German army with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. During mobilization in 1914 he was at the head of the German field railway service. In 1915 he was promoted to the rank of major-general, and from May 27 1916 to Aug. 1917 he was at the head of the War Office and a member of the directorate of the War Food Supply Office. He subsequently returned to the front as divisional commander and leader of an army corps, and in 1918 was chief of staff of the army group under the command of Linsingen and afterwards of Eichhorn. From Nov. 1918 to Sept. 1919 he was the successor of Ludendorff in the position of quartermaster-general. He retired as a protest against the signature of the Treaty of Versailles. During his tenure of office at the Ministry of War Gen. Groener was instrumental in maintaining, in spite of strikes and other difficulties, the cooperation of the German trade unions in securing a steady supply of munitions.

<< Sir Samuel Walker Griffith

George Grossmith >>

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address