Gustav Adolf Joachim Rüdiger
Graf von der Goltz (8 December 1865 –
4 November 1946) was a German army general during the First World
War. After the Armistice of 11 November 1918, Goltz commanded
the army of the Baltic German-established Government of Latvia, which
in 1919 was instrumental in the defeat of the Russian
their local allies in Latvia, but suffered a defeat against Estonia
and was eventually unsuccessful in retaining German control over the
Baltic region after the War.
4 External links
Goltz was born in Züllichau, Brandenburg. A Major-General commanding
the German infantry division of Guards on Foot in France, he was
Finland in March 1918 to help the nationalist
government in the civil war against the Finnish "Reds" and Soviet
Russian troops. He commanded the German expedition unit ("Baltic Sea
Division") which landed at Hanko, Finland, between 3 April and 5 April
1918, and then marched on the socialist-controlled capital Helsinki,
which surrendered after the Battle of
Helsinki on 13 April 1918. The
German military intervention aided the nationalist government of
Finland to gain control over most of the country by May 1918.
After the 11 November 1918, armistice, von der Goltz and his division
Helsinki on 16 December 1918. The Inter-Allied Commission of
Control insisted that the German troops remain in the
Baltic states to
prevent the region from being re-occupied by the Red Army. As many of
the demoralised German soldiers were being withdrawn from Latvia, a
Freikorps unit called the Iron Division (Eiserne Division) was formed
and deployed in
Riga and used to delay the Red advance. New volunteers
Germany and remnants of the German 8th Army were
subsequently added to the Iron Division, which was assigned under the
command of Goltz. Also,
Baltic Germans and some
Latvians formed the
Baltische Landeswehr, led by Major Alfred Fletcher.
Goltz in Finland
In late February 1919, only the seaport of
Liepāja remained in the
hands of the German and Latvian forces. In March 1919, General von der
Goltz was able to win a series of victories over the Red Army, first
occupying Ventspils, the major port of Courland, and then advancing
south and east to retake Riga.
Bolsheviks had been driven out from most of Latvia, the
Allies ordered the German government to withdraw its troops from the
Baltic region. However, the Germans succeeded in negotiating a
postponement, arguing that this would have given the
Bolsheviks a free
hand. General von der Goltz then attempted to seize control of Latvia
with the assistance of the local German population. The Latvian
nationalist government was deposed while the Freikorps, Latvian and
White Russian units moved on to capture
Riga on May 23, 1919. The
Latvian nationalists sought assistance from the Estonian army which
had been occupying northern
Latvia since earlier that year.
In June 1919, General von der Goltz ordered his troops not to advance
east against the Red Army, as the Allies had been expecting, but
north, against the Estonians. On June 19, the Iron Division and
Landeswehr units launched an attack to capture areas around Cēsis,
but in the battles over the following few days, they were defeated by
the 3rd Estonian Division (led by Ernst Põdder). On the morning of
June 23, the Germans began a general retreat toward Riga. The Allies
again insisted that the Germans withdraw their remaining troops from
Latvia and intervened to impose a ceasefire between the Estonians and
Freikorps when the Estonians were about to march into Riga. The
British insisted that General von der Goltz leave Latvia, and he
turned his troops over to the West Russian Volunteer Army.
Count von der Goltz later claimed in his memoirs that his major
strategic goal in 1919 had been to launch a campaign in cooperation
with the White Russian forces to overturn the Bolshevik regime by
St. Petersburg and to install a pro-German anti-Bolshevist
government in Russia.
As President of the United Patriotic Organizations he participated in
Harzburg Front in the early thirties.
From 1924 to 1930, he headed the German government department on the
military education of young German youth. On 17 July 1931 he handed
over the command of the Economic Policy Association Frankfurt am Main
to the Reich President Paul von Hindenburg.
He was married to Hannah Caroline von Hase (1873–1941), a
granddaughter of Karl Hase. He died on the Kinsegg estate, in the
village of Bernbeuren, Germany, in 1946. His son of the same name,
Rüdiger von der Goltz, became a lawyer.
Goltz, Rüdiger von der: Meine Sendung im
Finland und im Baltikum,
Bermond-Awaloff, Pavel: Im Kampf gegen den Bolschevismus. Erinnerungen
von Pavel Bermond-Awaloff (Berlin, 1925)
Bischoff, Josef: Die letzte Front. Geschichte der Eiserne Division im
Baltikum 1919 (Berlin, 1935)
Darstellungen aus den Nachkriegskämpfen deutscher Truppen und
Freikorps, vol. 2: "Der Feldzug im Baltikum bis zur zweiten Einnahme
von Riga. Januar bis Mai 1919", Berlin 1937; vol. 3: "Die Kämpfe im
Baltikum nach der zweiten Einnahme von Riga. Juni bis Dezember 1919"
Die baltische Landeswehr im Befreiungskampf gegen den Bolschevismus.
Ein Gedenkbuch, herausgegeben vom baltischen Landeswehrein (Riga,
Kiewisz, Leon: Sprawy łotewskie w bałtyckiej polityce Niemiec
1914-1919 (Posen, 1970)
Łossowski Piotr, Między wojną a pokojem. Niemieckie zamysły
wojenne na wschodzie w obliczu traktatu wersalskiego. Marzec-kwiecień
1919 (Warsaw, 1976)
Paluszyński, Tomasz: Walka o niepodległość Łotwy 1914-1921
Paluszyński, Tomasz: Walka o niepodległość Estonii 1914-1920
Von den baltische Provinzen zu den baltischen Staaten. Beiträge zur
Entstehungsgeschichte der Republiken Estland und Lettland, vol. I
(1917–1918), vol. II (1919–1920) (Marburg 1971, 1977)
^ Regarding personal names: Until 1919,
Graf was a title, translated
as Count, not a first or middle name. The female form is Gräfin. In
Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names.
^ Tucker, Spencer; Priscilla Mary Roberts (2005). World War I.
ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-85109-420-2.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rüdiger von der Goltz.
Count von der".
Encyclopædia Britannica (12th
ed.). 1922. The name and pre-1918 data for this article seem to
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