May 17, 2022 11:28 am

Marshal Von Mackensen, the Prussian myth that appeared hidden by surprise at the end of WWII

at the end of the Second World War, two Russian refugees tipped off that a Reichsmarshal was hiding out on a farm in western Germany. The information was correct, but the prey was not what the Russian colonel imagined who, with a machine gun in hand, quickly appeared in the area in search of a Nazi name of the relevance of Runstendt or even Goering, who were on the run. . It was not such, but an old man unable to hold a weapon.

«The war had not produced anything so pathetic, nor is it likely that while hostilities last, and even after, Europe will light up another scene that will make us forget the one he told us yesterday, with that

cinematographic style so dear to the mentality of the North American public, a New York Information Agency”, narrated Mariano Daramas in the pages of ABC on April 22 of the last year of the war. The old man who appeared on the farm was the Mariscal Von Mackensen, «the nonagenarian soldier, the oldest soldier and the oldest soldier in the world, combatant and survivor of the war of 1970 and 14—a century of history and three Franco-German wars—».

A monument to Ares

Marshal Von Mackensen, a living monument of Prussia and later Germany, was wearing his Great War uniform when the Russian soldiers arrived, the same uniform he had walked victorious thirty years before at the head of the troops that invaded Serbia and Romania. At ninety-five, the marshal was more skeleton than tissue, but he was still standing upright on his own two feet, and lucid enough to know that Germany had lost a contest again. “The capture of From Mackensen it takes the war back to the past and sews it with it, discovers its buried and past roots, gives it, in short, a vaginal meaning and, perhaps for this reason, illuminates its posthumous destiny for the first time, ”ABC wrote before the news.

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Marshal Mackensen, reviewing a group of ex-combatants.

This former Prussian cavalry lieutenant was already before the battle of Sedan (1870), war that gave rise to the definitive unification of Germany, active soldier, of barracks and not of academy. “The barracks, which never knows about politics or salons,” Daramas added about an officer who, although he avoided diving into politics, could not prevent politics from splashing on him. During the Nazi dictatorship, Hitler exhibited the marshal as a trophy on the occasion of various public events such as the one held in Potsdam with other German milestones of the Great War. It is also, and consequently, the only hierarchy, absolutely the only one, to whom National Socialist Germany has surrendered. Von Mackensen never approached the mountain, but it was the mountain, on the periodic occasion of the marshal’s birthday, who paid homage to him, “said ABC about the Nazi interest in revering him.

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During World War I, von Mackensen led the eleventh german army and led the offensive against Poland in 1915. He defeated the Russians at Brest-Litovsk and at Pinsk (August and September 1915), occupied Serbia and Romania in 1917, but could not prevent the German defeat, which occurred at the diplomatic tables more than on the battlefields. At the end of the war he was taken prisoner by the allies in Neusatz and decided to leave the Army. From 1924 he lent his public image as a hero of the First World War in support of the monarchist cause and on the side of the conservative forces.

Against and with the Nazis

During the German general elections of 1932 he supported von Hindenburg, another of the heroes of the first World War, against Hitler, but it was then, after the latter came to power, that Mackensen became a National Socialist symbol. Which didn’t stop him from protesting the Nazi assassinations of generals like Ferdinand von Bredow and Kurt von Schleicher during the Night of the Long Knives (1934), as well as the atrocities committed during the Invasion of Poland in 1939. Hitler and Goebbels arrived to suspect Mackensen’s disloyalty, but they did nothing against that old man.

He remained a convinced monarchist until the end, which was shown by his attendance at the funeral of the last Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1941, held in exile in the Netherlands already occupied by German troops. He died on November 8, 1945, months after the Russian visit, having survived Old Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany and the postwar Allied military occupation.

“Scion of a lineage that began to discover Julius CaesarVon Mackensen is the only mortal idea of ​​this war, and the men of our time—the scholar, the poet, the doctor, the banker, the engineer, and, of course, the soldier—whatever their fame and their nature, they will have to react to the example of his long and conscientious life and his symbolic and theatrical fall, with more admiration than pity and less grief than envy”, concluded the ABC text signed in April 1945.

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