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|“||Ah, you know your ancient Greeks. They understood that war is a god, a god who requires human sacrifice. And in exchange, war gives man purpose, meaning - a chance to rise above his petty mortal little self and be courageous, normal, better!||„|
|~ General Erich Ludendorff explaining his motives to Diana.|
|“||Peace is only an armistice in an endless war...||„|
|~ General Ludendorff to Diana.|
|“||As magnificent as you are, you are still no match for me...||„|
|~ General Ludendorff to Diana Prince.|
General Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff, simply known as General Erich Ludendorff, is the central antagonist of the 2017 DC Extended Universe superhero film Wonder Woman.
He is a quartermaster general in the Imperial German Army during World War I and the superior of Doctor Poison. Despite the German High Command planning an armistice with England, Ludendorff intends to win the war by using Dr. Poison's gas on the British capital of London. His brutal belief that war makes men better, and his insatiable lust for destruction, which exceeds even the God of War himself, cause Diana to mistakenly believe that Ludendorff is actually the incarnation of Ares, the God of War, and Diana sets out to eliminate him.
He was portrayed by Danny Huston, who also played William Stryker in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Marlow Roderick in 30 Days of Night, Victor Maynott in A Monster in Paris, the Axeman in American Horror Story: Coven and Wade Jennings in Angel Has Fallen.
Erich Ludendorff visited a German military base in the Ottoman Empire. Unbeknownst to him, one of his pilots was the American Spy on the British service by the name of Captain Steve Trevor. Trevor soon realized that the Germans were building chemical weapons in the base. While Ludendorff met with his chief scientist by the name of Dr. Maru, Maru unleashed her newest gas in a chamber where a test subject was located. The subject was affected by the poison gas and but did not die from its effect resulting in Maru pulled the collar string to hang the test subject to death in frustration. Afterward, Maru had a conversation with Ludendorff in which she begged him for more time to complete her formula. However, she then realized that her notebook had been stolen. Trevor had taken the notebook, so he escaped via plane while Ludendorff and Maru entered a car. Although Trevor swept back over the camp and attempted to shoot their car, Ludendorff and Maru escaped successfully.
Preventing an Armistice
|“||German Commander: "In 48 hours, this war will end. It is over."
Ludendorff: "It is over for you. It is over for all of you."
|~ Ludendorff subtly condemning the German commanders to death without their realizing it.|
Ludendorff next heads to Belgium, where the newest base for Doctor Maru's research is located. There, he is greeted by one of his captains who welcomes him at the camp. While they are entering the base, Ludendorff asks how long the captain will need to fulfill his mission. When the captain replies that they will need two days, Ludendorff interrupts him and states that he and his men have until tonight. When the man tries to argue, claiming that his man had neither food nor sleep, Ludendorff coldly replies that he had neither food nor sleep as well and that the captain does not hear him complaining. Ludendorff claims that the captain's men are weak and seem to have forgotten that an attack can take place anytime, from any corner. To remind them of that fact, Ludendorff shoots the Captain in the head to intimidate the rest of the troop.
Ludendorff then enters the base which is the new main base for Doctor Poison. He asks Maru whether she has made any progress but she reveals that it was not enough. Poison also reveals to Ludendorff that the war is over; Germany has given up. Von Hindenburg has recommended that the German emperor signs the armistice and the fighting will be over soon. Ludendorff claims that the emperor will not sign the armistice if he sees Poison's newest weapon. Although Maru seems to have lost faith since her notebook was stolen, Ludendorff tells her that he believes in her, not her book. Maru then reveals to Ludendorff that she had fabricated an additional gas for Ludendorff himself, which will restore his strength. Ludendorff inhales the gas, which gives him enhanced strength and endurance. While he is recovering from the shock, Maru suddenly has an idea which might perfect her gas.
Ludendorff returns to Germany where he enters a meeting of the German commanders. He is aghast that a peace treaty is to be negotiated but the commanders assure him that it is the wish of the emperor. Ludendorff claims that with the absolute assistance of the assembled leaders, Germany could easily win the war if they only had a little faith in him. However, the leaders reveal to him that they do not have the required faith in him anymore. The leaders are unwilling to sacrifice any more German lives but Ludendorff argues that only one more attack is required to crush the enemy. When he attempts to reveal to them how Doctor Maru created a new gas weapon, the leaders interrupt him and reveal that they have no faith in him or his witch anymore. One of the men states that the war will end in twenty-four hours and that it is essentially over. Ludendorff angrily claims that the war is only over for all of them. He then storms out of the room and signals Maru, who is waiting outside. Maru tosses a grenade containing her gas and Ludendorff locks the room - trapping the German High Command inside. When Maru asks him why he left the High Command one gas mask, claiming that it will not work against the gas, Ludendorff sadistically states that the High Command does not know that. While the members of the High Command gruesomely perished inside the room, Ludendorff inhales another dose of the gas Maru fabricated for him.
Staging a presentation
After the death of the High Command, Ludendorff and Maru plan to stage a presentation of the efficiency of Maru's gas for the German emperor as to convince him not to end the war.
Ludendorff is said to be hosting a gala shortly before the signing of the armistice. Even the German emperor is said to be there and Steve and Diana believe that this will be the best opportunity to take down Ludendorff. Diana also comes to the conclusion that Ludendorff is the human form of Ares, the God of War. Believing that killing Ares would end the war, Diana is now even more convinced to take down Ludendorff.
Steve and Diana infiltrate the castle Ludendorff is hosting his gala at. While Diana is walking through the crowd, searching for "Ares", she sees Ludendorff approaching her. However, when the music starts playing it is revealed that Ludendorff merely wants to dance with her and while they are dancing, Ludendorff asks whether she is enjoying the party. Diana replies that she is not sure what exactly they are celebrating and Ludendorff tells her that they are celebrating the victory. Diana asks why they are celebrating victory when peace is said to be so close. Ludendorff replies that peace is merely an interval in an everlasting war. When Diana seemingly agrees, Ludendorff claims that this concept is from the ancient Greeks which he noted that the Greeks understood that war is a god, a god who needs sacrifice and that in exchange, war gives men purpose. Due to this answer referring to the god Ares, Diana is strengthened in her belief that Ludendorff is actually Ares incarnate. She states that only one of the many gods believed in this theory of war and that he was wrong. Affronted, Ludendorff replies that Diana knows nothing of the gods but the two are then interrupted by a German officer who reveals to Ludendorff that the presentation is ready to start. As Ludendorff turns to leave, he tells Diana to enjoy the fireworks. When Ludendorff's back is turned to Diana, she attempts to draw her hidden sword to strike her down but she is stopped by Steve.
Due to Steve's interference, Ludendorff is able to launch the missile carrying Maru's gas. The missile strikes a nearby village, the one Diana and Steve saved earlier, and kills every inhabitant - most of them civilians. After heading to the village and finding the corpses, Diana vows to pursue Ludendorff and kill him, and by extension Ares.
Directly after launching his gas, Ludendorff heads to a nearby military base where he oversees his troops load a plane with his poison gas bound for London. While he is in a watchtower, he is suddenly confronted by Diana who grabs Ludendorff's companion and throws him off the tower. Ludendorff recognizes Diana and admits his surprise. However, he then states that he has a more important matter to attend to and swiftly draws his gun and fires it at Diana's face. However, Diana blocks the bullet with her bracelet and deflects it back on Ludendorff. The bullet hits Ludendorff's gun and knocks it out of his hand. In pain, Ludendorff asks Diana what exactly she is. Diana replies that Ludendorff will soon find out and draws her sword. Ludendorff, powered by Maru's drug, rips a boiler from a nearby wall and thrusts it into Diana. It comes to a battle between the two and Ludendorff manages to disarm Diana and pick up her sword. He throws her to the ground and states that she is no match for him. However, when he thrusts his sword down, Diana blocks it with her bare hands. She gets back up and continues the fight.
Ludendorff flees to the roof but Diana pursues him. She jumps up and ensnares him with the Lasso of Truth. She violently smashes him into the floor and, claiming that she will fulfill the mission of the Amazons, rams her sword into Ludendorff's chest, executing what she believes to be the ancient enemy Ares. However, after Ludendorff has died, she soon comes to the conclusion that Ludendorff was not Ares after all when the Germans keep loading the plane when, according to her, they should be freed of Ares' influence. She soon learned that Sir Patrick Morgan is the real Ares and that he has been feeding Ludendorff's mind with intelligence on escalating the war.
General Ludendorff is an extremely megalomaniac, ambitious, unforgiving and relentless individual, seeking to win the First World War at all costs with the chemical weapons of Doctor Poison, and not hesitating to shoot his own men or peer officers at the slightest disagreement with him, thus being an even more sinister and malicious militarist supervillain than General Zod. Indeed, Ludendorff was sufficiently charismatic as a leader to instill immense loyalty to Doctor Poison, who ultimately refused to abandon him for Steve Trevor (who was undercover, posing as a ruthless German officer interested in her). Although generally calm, Ludendorff sometimes displays fierce anger and wrath when frustrated, such as when confronted and thwarted by the sudden arrival of Wonder Woman.
Ludendorff sadistically romances war (thus unknowingly worshiping the god of war Ares), believing that it serves to improve individuals and asserting that it requires human sacrifices. Because of this state of mind, personality and better physical condition, Wonder Woman originally thought he was Ares in disguise, although she later discovered that this was not the case. In addition, although he is used as a pawn by Ares, it has been revealed that Ludendorff is more than capable of making war on his enemies even without the influence of Ares; this was demonstrated when Ares declared that although he could inspire Ludendorff and Poison to create formulas and weapons for their plans, he doesn't force them to wage war to shoot down enemies as they are capable of doing that themselves because of their free will. This implies that Ludendorff was hungry for power from the start, even before Ares came into the picture. He also demonstrates a rather sadistic sense of humor, because when he asks Doctor Poison to kill German officers who disagree with his extra-lethal mustard gas, Ludendorff throws a gas mask, laughing happily at the prospect of the condemned officers not knowing that the mask would be useless against the horrible gas.
Ludendorff was also shown to be quite intelligent and well-cultured, especially by reading a lot of ancient Greek literature, and being impressed when Diana Prince quotes an author from that time. Indeed, he was an excellent military scientist, tactician and battle strategist, travelling both himself and the German Imperial Army several victories during the 4 years of the World War l, being all the more effective due to his ruthless nature, as when several other senior German officers objected to his views, Ludendorff wiped them out on the spot with a chemical weapon, and when Wonder Woman succeeded in liberating a Belgian village from a year of German occupation on the Western Front, Ludendorff quickly wiped the village with the same chemical weapon. His intelligence, however, was sometimes undermined by his extreme arrogance and excessive confidence, Ludendorff even going so far as to assert that even Wonder Woman, while being a magnificent warrior, was no match for him. This would turn out to be the loss of Ludendorff, while Wonder Woman quickly defeated and killed him.
- The character of Ludendorff is not based on a Wonder Woman villain but on the real-life Erich Ludendorff, who was a German general. Ludendorff survived the war and became a prominent nationalist leader in Germany. After the war, Ludendorff developed the theory of "Total War" and was of the opinion that peace was merely an interval between wars. Ludendorff died in Nazi Germany on December 20, 1937.
- When the film's trailers were released and introduced Ludendorff, a lot of people worldwide have speculated that Ludendorff is Ares. In the film itself, Diana thought that Ludendorff was Ares in disguise. Coincidentally (or maybe not), Danny Huston did play Ares in the Clash of the Titans remake and its sequel.
- Erich Ludendorff is currently the first, and so far, the only historical villain of the DC Extended Universe.
- Given Ares' belief that humanity is unworthy of existence due to their inherent tendencies to power, violence, and destruction, Ludendorff symbolizes these traits due to his hatred and desire of gaining power. Thus, Ludendorff symbolizes what Ares hates about humanity.
|Extended Universe Villains|
The Suicide Squad