1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Moltke, Helmuth von

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MOLTKE, HELMUTH VON (1848-1916), Prussian general, chief of the German general staff at the outbreak of the World War, was born at Gersdorf in Mecklenburg on May 23 1848, and was the nephew of the great Moltke. From 1902 to 1904 he was in command of the 1st Div. of the Guards Corps with the rank of lieutenant-general. In 1906 he was appointed chief of the general staff of the army. He was responsible for the general conduct of the German operations at the beginning of the World War and is now known to have been acting upon the plan for the invasion of the north-east of France and a rapid advance upon Paris which had been drawn up by his great predecessor, Gen. von Schlieffen. In important particulars, however, he appears to have deviated from Schlieffen's plan, and in particular to have failed to concentrate sufficient force in the blow which was delivered on the north-east. He has likewise been charged with having failed to coordinate the positions of the German forces on the eve of the battle of the Marne, and having allowed to be issued confusing orders which contributed to the German defeat in that decisive battle. About the same time his health had become seriously impaired, and on Oct. 25 1914 he was relieved of his post and was succeeded by Gen. von Falkenhayn. He was entrusted in Berlin with the office of chief of the home substitute for the general staff (Der stellvertretende Generalstab), which had the task of organizing and forwarding the reserves and of controlling the Territorial army corps, corresponding to those at the front. General von Moltke died suddenly at a celebration in the Reichstag building on June 18 1916. He left memoirs entitled Die “Schuld” am Kriege, which up to 1921 had not yet been published.