Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg was a German general and statesman who led the Imperial German Army during World War I and later became President of Germany from 1925 until his death in 1934. During his presidency, he played a key role in the Nazi seizure of power in January 1933 when, under pressure from advisers, he appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany.
Paul von Hindenburg was born on 2 October 1847 to a family of minor Prussian nobility in Posen. Upon completing his education as a cadet, he enlisted in the Third Regiment of Foot Guards as a second lieutenant. He then saw combat during the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars. In 1873, he was admitted to the prestigious Kriegsakademie in Berlin where he studied for 3 years before being appointed to the Army's General Staff Corps. Later in 1885, he was promoted to the rank of major and became a member of the Great General Staff. Following a five-year teaching stint at the Kriegsakademie, Hindenburg steadily rose through the army's ranks to become a lieutenant-general by 1900.