WW1 GERMAN POSTCARD GENERAL BESELER
Hans Hartwig von Beseler (27 April 1850 – 20 December 1921) was a German Colonel General. He entered the Prussian Army in 1868, fought in the Franco-Prussian of 1870-1871 and had a successful military career until his retirement in 1910. Beseler was ennobled in 1904 by William 11, German Emperor.
At the outbreak of WW1 in 1914 Beseler was brought out of retirement and was given command of the 3rd reserve Corps in the German First Army led by Generaloberst Von Kluk. The German army took Brussels on 20 August and the German command considered the Belgian Army defeated. The main force of the German armies marched toward france, leaving the 3rd Reserve Corps behind. Beseler was ordered to take possession of the city of Antwerp on 9 September. The Siege of Antwerp ended on 10 October, when the Antwerp Mayor Jan De Vos, surrendered the city. Beseler followed the Belgian army and was halted in the Battle of the Yser.In the spring of 1915, Beseler was sent to the Eastern Front with Max Von Gallwitz's 9th Army where he led the Successful of Novogeorgievsk.
On 27 August 1915 Beseler was made Military Governor of the German-occupied part of the zone of Polish lands, and served as such until the end of the war. Beseler hoped to assemble three divisions of Polish volunteers for use by the Central Powers, and to this end wanted to present a "facade of independent Poland". The official title was Governor-general of Generalgouvernement Warschau. Beseler also gave his support to the Polish Border Strip plan, which would see mass expulsions of Poles and Jews from territory annexed by the German Empire from Russian-held parts of Poland, and subsequent colonization of this area by German settlers.
After the Act of the 5th November of 1916, Beseler stayed and still wielded real power as the General Governor Warsaw, the German-occupied part of Poland, alongside the Austrian Governor General Karl kuk , who resided in Lublin. He was also the titular commander of the so-called Polnische Wehrmacht. After the Act of 5 November was declared, he organized a ceremony in Warsaw's Royal Castle with such gestures as the unfurling of a Polish flag and the Polish national anthem being played; the event backfired as the Polish crowds started shouting "Out with the Germans!". On 4 October 1916 Beseler issued a decree allowing forced labour of Polish men aged between 18 and 45.
After Poland declared independence on 11 November 1918 and all German soldiers in Warsaw were disarmed, Beseler fled in disguise to Germany. A broken and disillusioned man, attacked by the German Conservatives and Nationalists as having been too liberal towards the Poles, but disliked in Poland for being too Prussian, Beseler died in 1921 in Neu-Babelsberg near Potsdam. He was buried in Berlin.