Mackensen, Anton Ludwig August von, born August Mackensen, 06-12-1849 in Haus Leipnitz, Region of Wittenberg, was a German soldier and Field Marshal. He commanded with success during the First World War and became one of the German Empire’s most prominent military leaders. After the Armistice, Mackensen was interned for a year. He retired from the army in 1920 and was made a Prussian state councillor in 1933 by Hermann Goering (did you know). Mackensen, a nationalist rather than a National Socialist, frequently appeared at Nazi functions wearing his imperial cavalry uniform and became a major symbol of the integration of the Second and Third Reich.
Mackensen was born in Haus Leipnitz, near the village of Dahlenberg in the Prussian Province of Saxony, to Louis and Marie Louise Mackensen. His father, an administrator of agricultural enterprises, sent him to a Realgymnasium in Halle in 1865, with the apparent hope that Mackensen would follow him in his profession. Mackensen began his military service in 1869 as a volunteer with the Prussian 2nd Life Hussar Regiment. At the beginning of World War I Mackensen remained in command of XVII Army Corps as part of the Eighth Army under first General Maximilian von Prittwitz, Prittwitz died age 66, on 29-03-1916, in Berlin.
and then General Paul von Hindenburg
and saw action in the battles of Gumbinnen and Tannenberg. On 02-11-1914 Mackensen took command of the Ninth Army from General von Hindenburg, who had been named Supreme Commander East. In 1920, Mackensen retired from the army. Although standing in opposition to the newly established republican system, he avoided public campaigns. Around 1924 he changed his mind and began to use his image as war hero to support conservative, monarchic groups. He routinely appeared in his old Life Hussars uniform. He became very active in pro-military conservative organisations, particularly Stahlhelm and the Schlieffen Society. During the German elections of 1932 Mackensen supported Hindenburg over Adolf Hitler (did you know), but following the latter’s accession to power Mackensen became a visible, if only symbolic, supporter of the Nazi regime. Mackensen’s high-profile public visibility in his distinctive black Life Hussars uniform was recognized by the Hausser-Elastolin company which produced a 7-cm figure for its line of Elastolin composition soldiers Mackensen’s fame and familiar uniform gave rise to two separate Third Reich formations adopting black dress with Totenkopf badges: the Panzerwaffe, which claimed the tradition of the Imperial cavalry; and Hitler’s “Life Guards,” the SS. Although Mackensen appeared in his black uniform at some public events presented by the German government or the Nazi party, he objected to the killings of General der Wehrmacht, Ferdinand von Bredow who died age 50 on 30-06-1934 and Kurt von Schleicher during The Night of the Long Knives purge of July 1934, and to atrocities committed during the fighting in Poland in September 1939. By the early 1940s Hitler and Josef Goebbel) suspected Mackensen of disloyalty but could do nothing. Mackensen remained a committed monarchist and appeared in full uniform at Kaiser Wilhelm II’s 1941 funeral, Doorn, the Netherlands. together with Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Reichscommissar in the Netherlands, Arthur Seyss Inquart and General der Flieger, Friedrich Christiansen. Mackensen’s sons became high Officers, Eberhard Mackensen was a Generaloberst and commander of the III Army Corps and his brother Hans Georg was a SS Gruppenführer and died age 65, on 28-09-1947 in Konstanz
Death and burial ground of Mackensen, Anton Ludwig August von.
Mackensen died at the very old age of 95, on 08-11-1945, his life having spanned the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, and post-war Allied occupation. He is buried on the Stadtfriedhof of Celle.