28/8/1916 The Kaiser shuffles the deck: Falkenhayn is out, Hindenburg and Ludendorff are in

Romania’s entry into the war comes as a shock to Germany. Romania is a major wheat producer and with it on the side of the Allies its harvest will no longer be available to the Germans, exacerbating their difficult food situation.

The Germans had suspected that the Romanians were negotiating with the Allies, but Falkenhayn had assured the Kaiser that they would not go to war until after the year’s grain crop had been harvested. But now Romanian troops are crossing into Transylvania with their country’s wheat still in the fields.

The Kaiser is angry at having been taken by surprise. His confidence in Falkenhayn had already been shaken by the ever-lengthening casualty lists at Verdun and the failure of operations there to defeat the French. Now he reacts to Romania’s untimely entry into the war by dismissing Falkenhayn as his army’s chief of staff. His replacement will be the Eastern Front commander, Field Marshal Hindenburg, the victor of Tannenberg. Hindenburg is joined by Ludendorff, his deputy, who takes the title of Quarter-Master General.

As for Falkenhayn, he is given the job of cleaning up after his failure to predict the entry of Romanian into the war. He is sent to command the combined German and Austro-Hungarian forces being assembled in Transylvania to meet the Romanian invasion.

image sources:

Erich von Falkenhayn (Alpha History)

Kaiser Wilhelm II (Pierre’s Photo Impressions of the Western Front 1914-1918)

Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff (Wikipedia; painting by Hugo Vogel)

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