That is Field Marshal Hindenburg seated and Colonel General Erich Ludendorff standing. These two gents are generally thought of as Germany’s most able command team in WW I. They are credited with the great German victory against Russia at Tannenberg in East Prussia in 1914. They went on to be bosses of the German War effort at the end of the war.
The First World War ended in late 1918 because the German Army could no longer sustain the burden of combat against; the French, the British, and the Americans in the context of the massive introduction of tanks. Tanks had been tried out in the previous year and had been found to be the "magic" ingredient which could (in spite of their "teething" problems) restore mobility to battlefields which had been "frozen" into defensive patterns by machine guns, barbed wire and breech loading field artillery. Faced with all that, the German soldier finally had had "enough" and beginning in August just "folded up" and began moving away en masse, towards the east, towards home and away from the Allies. After years of sitting in muddy trench systems waiting to be slaughtered, Allied soldiers suddenly found themselves to be advancing 10, 20, 30 miles a day through unspoiled countryside and villages. Germany surrendered. Ludendorff suggested the surrender believing that the alternative was complete destruction of the Fatherland. He was right.
Nevertheless, in the 20 year interregnum between the World Wars, Ludendorff was one of the principal proponents of the "Stab in the Back" school of revisionist history. According to his "second thoughts" about what had happened, the German Army had never been defeated in the field. No. No. It had been the defeatism of the Liberals, Socialists and Communists who had corrupted the will of the German people, caused mutinies in the fleet and sapped the German soldier’s fighting spirit and morale until the undefeated army had been forced to accept an unnecessary armistice on 11 November. This theory of history proved to be a powerful source of propaganda for the armies of disappointed, bitter and angry Germans who wanted some way to explain how their many, many sacrifices had come to naught. The Freikorps, and ultimately the National Socialists (Nazis) were the beneficiaries of this myth.
If you listen carefully to the Sunday Newsies and read a number of the more mentally constipated blogs, it is possible to see the approach of another such myth.
"We wuz robbed."