Concept

Hans Hartwig von Beseler

Summary
Hans Hartwig von Beseler (27 April 1850 – 20 December 1921) was a German colonel general. Beseler was born in Greifswald, Pomerania. His father Georg Beseler, was a law professor at the University of Greifswald. He entered the Prussian Army in 1868, fought in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 and had a successful military career until his retirement in 1910. Beseler was ennobled in 1904 by William II, German Emperor. At the outbreak of World War I 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 Alexander von Kluck. 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 siege of Novogeorgievsk. On 27 August 1915 Beseler was made Military Governor of the German-occupied part of the zone of Polish lands, or Congress Poland, 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. In November 1915, Beseler reopened the University of Warsaw and the Warsaw Polytechnic Institute and allowed the usage of the Polish language at the university for the first time since 1869.
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