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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Kluck, Alexander H. R. von

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Edition of 1920. See also Alexander von Kluck on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

KLUCK, klůk, Alexander H. R. von, German general: b. Münster, Westphalia, 20 May 1846. He entered the army in 1865 and served in the Austrian campaign of 1866 and the Franco-German War, 1870-71. In the latter he was twice wounded at Metz and awarded the Iron Cross (second class) for bravery. At the opening of the European War he commanded the first German Army (the right wing) in the invasion of Belgium and the subsequent drive on Paris. Von Kluck had long been regarded as one of the best infantry leaders in the German army. Starting from Aix-la-Chapelle, he marched through Visé, took Brussels and Louvain, fought the battles of Mons and le Cateau, and finally came almost into touch with the outer defenses of Paris. Instead, however, of moving straight on to the French capital from Senlis, he turned in a southeasterly direction, leaving Paris and the British forces on his right. This unexpected move led to what has been called the turning-point of the war. Unknown to von Kluck General Joffre had placed a new French army under Maunoury at the left of the British, and another army under Foch at the right, adjoining the command of Franchet d'Esperey, which stood immediately on the British right. Maunoury attacked von Kluck on his exposed flank and caused that gap in the German line into which General Foch threw all his strength, thereby deciding the battle of the Marne and forcing the Germans to retreat beyond the Aisne. Most military writers maintain that the strategy of von Kluck was responsible for the breakdown of the original German plan of campaign. Toward the end of March 1915, while inspecting an advanced portion, he was struck by shrapnel, which caused seven wounds. Shortly afterward he received the Order Pour le Mérite. In October 1916 the Militär Wochenblatt announced that Field-Marshal von Kluck had been placed on half-pay, in accordance with his request to be allowed to retire. His son, Lieutenant Egon von Kluck, was killed early in 1915. See Foch, General; War, European: Battle of the Marne.