Military Wiki
Karl Freiherr von Plettenberg
Karl Freiherr von Plettenberg during WWI
Born (1852-12-18)December 18, 1852
Died 10 February 1938(1938-02-10) (aged 85)
Place of birth Neuhaus, Kingdom of Prussia
Place of death Bückeburg, Germany
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
Service/branch Army
Years of service 1870–1917
Rank General of Infantry
Commands held
Battles/wars Franco-Prussian War
World War I
Awards Pour le Mérite
Relations Kurt Freiherr von Plettenberg

Karl Freiherr[lower-alpha 1] von Plettenberg (18 December 1852 in Neuhaus – 10 February 1938 in Bückeburg) was a Prussian officer, and later General of Infantry during World War I. He was Commandant-General of the Guards Corps, Adjutant General of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II and a recipient of Pour le Mérite.[1]

Life and Military Career

Karl von Plettenberg was born on 18 December 1852 in Neuhaus into the Westphalian old noble Plettenberg family from the Sauerland. His father was Eugen von Plettenberg, an officer (Major and cavalry squadron commander). His mother was Minette von der Borch.

World War I

Karl von Plettenberg was in command of the Guards Corps at the outset of World War I, assigned to the 2nd Army as part of the right wing of the forces that invaded France and Belgium as part of the Schlieffen Plan offensive in August 1914. He led the Guards Corps at the First Battle of the Marne and the First Battle of Ypres.

He was decorated with the Pour le Mérite on 14 May 1915,[2] and on 27 January 1916 awarded à la suite of the 1st Foot Guards Regiment. After criticism of the war by Erich Ludendorff and Paul von Hindenburg during the "battles of material" on the Western Front, Plettenberg was forced into retirement on 24 January 1917.[1]

Later life

After his retirement, he returned to Bückeburg where he died on 10 February 1938. Plettenbergstraße, a street in the town, is named after him.[1]


His oldest son, Karl-Wilhelm, was a lieutenant in the 1st Foot Guards Regiment of the Guards Corps at the outbreak of the war. He died on 30 August 1914 during the Battle of St Quentin.[1]

His second son, Kurt von Plettenberg (1891–1945), was plenipotentiary of the House of Hohenzollern (the royal house of Prussia) and one of the inner circle of the July 20th plot against Hitler. He committed suicide on 10 March 1945 by jumping from a window during interrogation by the Gestapo.



  1. Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron), which is now legally a part of the last name. The female forms are Freifrau and Freiin.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Karl Freiherr von Plettenberg". The Prussian Machine. Retrieved 23 January 1913. 
  2. "Orden Pour le Mérite". Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 Rangliste der Königlich Preußischen Armee und des XIII. (Königlich Württembergischen) Armeekorps für 1914, Hrsg.: Preußisches Kriegsministerium, Ernst Siegfried Mittler & Sohn, Berlin 1914, page 47
  • Karl-Friedrich Hildebrand, Christian Zweng: Die Ritter des Ordens Pour le Mérite des I. Weltkriegs, Band 3: P–Z, Biblio Verlag, Bissendorf 2011, ISBN 3-7648-2586-3, S. 451-453
  • Hanns Möller: Geschichte der Ritter des Ordens pour le mérite im Weltkrieg, Band II: M–Z, Verlag Bernard & Graefe, Berlin 1935, S. 442-444

External links


Military offices
Preceded by
General der Kavallerie Hermann Freiherr von Vietinghoff genannt Scheel
Commander, IX Corps
12 April 1910 - 1 March 1913
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Ferdinand von Quast
Preceded by
General der Infanterie Alfred von Loewenfeld
Commander, Guards Corps
1 March 1913 - 6 February 1917
Succeeded by
General der Infanterie Ferdinand von Quast

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).