Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff was a German general, politician and military theorist. He achieved fame during World War I for his central role in the German victories at Liège and Tannenberg in 1914. Following his appointment as First Quartermaster-general of the Imperial Army's Great General Staff in 1916, he became the chief policymaker in a de facto military dictatorship that dominated Germany for the rest of the war. After Germany's defeat, he contributed significantly to the Nazis' rise to power.
Erich Ludendorff came from a family of the minor nobility in Ludendorff, located in the Prussian province of Posen. After completing his education as a cadet, he received his commission as a junior officer in 1885. Later in 1893, Ludendorff was admitted to the prestigious German War Academy and was recommended by its commandant to the General Staff Corps only a year later. By 1904, he had rapidly risen in rank to become a member of the Army's Great General Staff, where he oversaw the development of the Schlieffen Plan.