Erich von Falkenhayn

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Erich Georg Anton von Falkenhayn (1861-1922) was a general in the army of Imperial Germany, serving from 1914 to 1916 as Chief of the German General Staff and thus as overall director of the German war effort for most of the first half of World War I.

Taking over as Chief of the General Staff from his predecessor, General Helmuth von Moltke, in September 1914, following lack of German success in the First Battle of the Marne, Falkenhayn attempted to bring the war to a successful conclusion for Germany in both the west and the east. His tactics were frustrated by the developing trench warfare on the Western Front, which made successful attacks extremely difficult, while his policy in the east was challenged by rival generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff. His failure to achieve a breakthrough at the Battle of Verdun, combined with his expressed position that Germany might have to settle for a negotiated peace, led to his replacement by Hindenburg in August 1916.