POSTCARD – KAISER WILHELM AND GENERALFELDMARSCHALL AUGUST VON MACKENSEN.
This postcard shows Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) and Generalfeldmarschall August von Mackensen (1849-1945) in Galicia. The career of August von Mackensen was nothing short of amazing. He joined the army and was posted to Leib-Husaren-Regiment Nr 2. It was with this regiment that he was awarded the 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class as a young Leutnant. He later served as an adjutant to Generalfeldmarschall Alfred von Schlieffen and then to Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Kaiser knighted him in 1899 and he served as a Brigade and Division commander. Prior to WW I, he became commander of the XVII. Armeekorps. With the outbreak of the war, he was assigned to the army commanded by Generaloberst Paul von Hindenburg on the Eastern Front. They made an unbeatable team and routed the Russians in numerous battles. In November 1914, he was given command of the German IX. Armee and was also awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite. Ultimately, he was given command of Heeresgruppe Mackensen, which consisted of Germany’s IX. and XI. Armees, as well as the Austro-Hungarian IV. Armee. This was followed by his June 1915 promotion to Generalfeldmarschall and the award of the Orden Pour le Mérite’s Oak Leaves.
Ultimately, he was given command of all German forces in the East when von Hindenburg was promoted to Chief of the General Staff. Von Mackensen was also in command of Austro-Hungarian, Bulgarian, and even Turkish forces in the East. When Russia signed an armistice in 1917 and pulled out of the war, von Mackensen remained as the East’s military governor. Also in 1917, he became one of the five men who was awarded the 1914 Grand Cross of the Iron Cross. [The others included Kaiser Wilhelm II, Generalfeldmarschall Paul von Hindenburg, Generalfeldmarschall Prinz Leopold of Bavaria, and General der Infanterie Erich Ludendorff].
This postcard shows the Kaiser and von Mackensen standing in front of a building with several other generals. The Kaiser has a great coat draped over his shoulders. Below that, one can see his medal-bedecked uniform. Von Mackensen is wearing a feldgrau uniform, NOT the Leib-Husaren-Regiment Nr 1’s attila. On his tunic is the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class. Looped through the buttonhole is an Iron Cross 2nd Class. [We cannot tell whether it is a 1914 or an 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class]. He is wearing his Pour le Mérite at his throat. In the background we do see an officer in the 1. Leib-Husaren-Regiment Nr 1’s uniform and busby. He is wearing an adjutant’s sash, and probably is von Mackensen’s adjutant. The postcard has never been mailed.