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Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff, 9 April 1865 – 20 December 1937, was a German general, victor of Liège and of the Battle of Tannenberg. From August 1916 his appointment as Quartermaster general made him joint head (with Paul von Hindenburg), and chief engineer behind the management of Germany’s effort in World War I until his resignation in October 1918.
After the war, Ludendorff became a prominent nationalist leader, and a promoter of the stab-in-the-back legend convinced that the German Army had been betrayed by Marxists and Republicans in the Versailles Treaty. He took part in the unsuccessful coups d’état of Wolfgang Kapp in 1920 and the Beer Hall Putsch of Adolf Hitler in 1923, and in 1925 he ran for president against his former colleague, Paul von Hindenburg, who he claimed had taken credit for Ludendorff’s victories against Russia. From 1924 to 1928 he represented the German Völkisch Freedom Party in the German Parliament. Consistently pursuing a purely military line of thought, Ludendorff developed, after the war, the theory of “Total War,” which he published as Der Totale Krieg (The Total War) in 1935, in which he argued that the entire physical and moral forces of the nation should be mobilized, because, according to him, peace was merely an interval between wars. Ludendorff was a recipient of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross and the Pour le Mérite.
Ferdinand Porsche, 3 September 1875 – 30 January 1951, was an automotive engineer and founder of the Porsche car company. He is best known for creating the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle (Lohner-Porsche), the Volkswagen Beetle, the Mercedes-Benz SS/SSK, several other important developments and Porsche automobiles. In addition, Porsche designed the 1923 Benz Tropfenwagen, which was the first racing car with a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.
Porsche was an important contributor to the German war effort during World War II. He was involved in the production of advanced tanks such as the Tiger I, Tiger II, Elefant, and Panzer VIII Maus, as well as other weapon systems, including the V-1 flying bombs. Porsche was a member of the German Nazi party and the SS. He was a recipient of the German National Prize for Art and Science, the SS-Ehrenring and the War Merit Cross. He was called the Great German Engineer by Nazi propaganda despite his Austrian-Czech background.
In 1996 Porsche was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and in 1999 posthumously won the award of Car Engineer of the Century.