Beck, Ludwig August Theodor, born on 29-06-1880 in Biebrich, Rheinland
. His father Ludwig Sr. was not a soldier, but a staunch hatter. He entered the German army in 1898, age 18, and his outstanding performance in military theory quickly destined him for a brilliant career with the General Staff, which he joined as a Hauptmann in October 1913. During World War I Beck held several staff positions on the Western front. The bloodbaths of the battles of the Marne and Verdun and the slow and bitter retreat of the German armies in 1917-1918 seem to have left a deep impression on him
At the end of the war Beck, now a major, remained with the army and in the next 15 years served in a succession of command and staff positions. In October 1933 he was named head of the so-called Troops Office—a cover name for the General-Staff office, which had been outlawed by the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919. In 1935 his title was changed to chief of the General Staff of the army. In this position Beck played a large role in the rapid rearmament ordered by Hitler. He initially approved of this action, but he soon became wary of the aggressive foreign policy that accompanied the call to arms. In 1935 Beck attached a memorandum to an operational plan of war against Czechoslovakia in which he warned Hitler against such an undertaking and threatened to resign if Hitler should go through with the attack. From 1936 to 1938 Beck’s warning memorandums became more frequent as Adolf Hitler) (did you know) marched into the Rhineland and prepared to intervene in Austria . In the summer of 1938 Hitler’s designs on Czechoslovakia became more evident, and Beck worked feverishly for a general resignation of the entire army leadership. But he remained alone in his departure from office in August 1938.
He was promoted to the rank of Generalleutnant in 1932 and, two years later, he replaced Generaloberst der Infanterie, Wilhelm Adam as chief of the Truppenamt, the camouflaged General Staff (the Treaty of Versailles explicitly forbade the existence of the General Staff. Originally a supporter of the Nazis, he broke with Adolf Hitler (see Alois), (and Parents) when he learned of the plan to invade Czechoslovakia, he argued in a memo to Hitler, dated 05-05-1938, that German was no match for the combined force of the United Kingdom and France, with the latter fielding the strongest army in Europe.
As on 22-05-1938, Hitler responded by calling Beck’s thinking that of the older generation of German Army Generals. Beck in the Bendlerhof in Berlin, eventually became the major leader of the conspiracy against Hitler. He would have been provisional Head of the State had the 20 July plot succeeded. The 20 July threaten for Hitler at the Bendlerblock in Berlin was saved by Major Otto Ernst Remer commander of the Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland who refused to arrest Joseph Goebbels after talking to Hitler in the Wolfschanze by phone. When Hitler discovered that Beck is plotting against the regime, he was removed from office. Replaced by Generaloberst der Infanterie, Franz Halder , Beck continued to work closely with other opponents of Hitler including Carl Goerdeler, Goedeler was hanged age 60 on 02-02-1945, Admiral, Wilhelm Canaris, Hans Oster and Ulrich Hassell. Hassel was executed age 62, on 08-09-1944.
Ullrich Hassel. Carl Goerdeler.
In the early months of 1944, Beck approached Fieldmarshal, Erwin Rommel about joining the July Plot. Rommel refused, criticizing the tactic of assassination claiming that it would turn Hitler into a martyr. Instead he suggested that he should be arrested and brought to trial. Rommel later would be accused of involvement in the July bomb attack and with orders of Hitler, through the General Wilhelm Burghof, he committed suicide age 50 on 02-05-1945 and Generalleutnant der Artillerie, Ernst Maisel, Rommel was pussed to commit suicide, as he did in his hometown Herrlingen.
Death and burial ground of Beck, Ludwig August Theodor.
When the plot failed, Beck on 20-07-1944, age 64, also chose to commit suicide with a pistol, but in failure he only severely wounded himself and an army sergeant was brought in to put a bullet in his head. He was the only July Plot conspirator to not have been executed by firing squad. The other Oberst der Kavallerie, Graf Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, Oberleutnant, Werner von Haeften, General der Infanterie, Friedrich Olbricht and Albert Mertz von Quirnheim were executed on the inner court of the Bendler Building, the Wehrmacht headquarters in Berlin.
In 1956 the former Hitler Youth School in Sonthofen, Bavaria, now a Military Trainings Camp, an impressive building complex, is called after General Ludwig Beck, to remember him
Ludwig Beck was buried temporary on the Alter Sankt Matheaus Friedhof in Berlin, together with the other victims, but later removed by the SS, burned and the ashes scattered on a secret place.