Maximilian von Prittwitz

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Maximilian von Prittwitz
Maximilian-vp-1.jpg
General von Prittwitz in 1915
Born 27 November 1848
Bernstadt, Province of Silesia, Kingdom of Prussia now Bierutów, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland
Died 29 March 1917(1917-03-29) (aged 68)
Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Allegiance  Prussia
 German Empire
Service/branch Prussian Army
Imperial German Army
Years of service 1866–1914
Rank Generaloberst
Commands held German Eighth Army
Battles/wars Austro-Prussian War, Franco-Prussian War and First World War

Maximilian Wilhelm Gustav von Prittwitz und Gaffron (27 November 1848 – 29 March 1917) was an Imperial German general. He fought in the Austro-Prussian War, the Franco-Prussian War, and briefly in the First World War.

Family[edit]

Prittwitz came from an old aristocratic Silesian family in Bernstadt (now Bierutów, Poland). His father was Gustav von Prittwitz, a Prussian general, and his mother was Elizabeth von Klass.

On 19 May 1874 Prittwitz married Olga von Dewitz (30 August 1848 – 9 January 1938), the daughter of Kurt von Dewitz, a landowner and his wife Euphemia, née von der Groeben. Their only son died 23.5.1918.

Early military career[edit]

After attending a school in Oels, Prittwitz joined the 3rd Guard Grenadier Regiment and fought in the Austro-Prussian War. He was then commissioned as a junior officer in the 38th Fusileers with which regiment he served in the Franco-Prussian War. After attending the Prussian Military Academy Prittwitz was appointed to the 6th Jaeger Battalion. He subsequently held a number of General Staff positions, interspersed with company and battalion commander appointments in various infantry regiments. In 1913 he was appointed as Generaloberst (full general), in command of the XVI. Army Corps in Metz.

World War I[edit]

On 2 August 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War, Prittwitz was appointed commander of the German Eighth Army and assigned to defend East Prussia from an expected Russian attack.[1]

When the Russian advance threatened his rear, Prittwitz suggested a retreat to the west of the Vistula River. This meant abandoning East Prussia, which the German General Staff found unacceptable. Prittwitz was promptly replaced as Eighth Army commander by Paul von Hindenburg on 23 August 1914.[2] Hindenburg, and his chief of staff Erich Ludendorff, then destroyed the two invading Russian armies at the Battles of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes.

Prittwitz retired to Berlin, where he lived for three years before dying of a heart attack. He was buried in the Invalidenfriedhof in Berlin.

References[edit]

  1. ^ German Army Groups, 1914–1919, The Eastern Front, viewed on 11 October 2012
  2. ^ Stone N. (1975) The Eastern Front 1914–1917, Hodder & Stoughton, London: 348 pp.

See also[edit]


Military offices
Preceded by
Formed from I Army Inspectorate
(I. Armee-Inspektion)
Commander, 8th Army
2 August 1914 – 23 August 1914
Succeeded by
Generaloberst Paul von Hindenburg