Is Ludendorff In 'Wonder Woman' Based On A Real Person? There's Plenty Of Historical Inspiration
There's one thing about the upcoming Wonder Woman movie I am massively curious about, and it has to do with the film's time period. This DCEU origin story is set during World War I and, as the trailers for Wonder Woman indicate, this war has allowed plenty of villains to rise up and threaten humanity. One such villain is Wonder Woman's Erich Ludendorff, who might be based on a real German World War I general. Even if the Wonder Woman version of Ludendorff is not based on the actual Ludendorff (despite the eerie similarities), there's plenty of historical inspiration.
According to the DC Comics wiki on Ludendorff, the villain is an ally of Dr. Poison, is allegedly aligned with Ares (the Greek god of war), and is a German general who appears to bit a bit megalomaniacal. The wiki also characterizes him as a ruthless man bent on spreading chaotic evil throughout the world, which Oh dear, this sounds like nothing but trouble for Wonder Woman.
All comics talk aside for a moment, I suspect the prototype for the character of Ludendorff may actually be real German World War I general Erich Ludendorff. According to Uproxx, the real Ludendorff was "an advocate of 'total war.'" He was apparently loud, cruel, and harsh. He believed that no humans were innocent and believed in the destructive power of the army. Sounds a lot like the Wonder Woman Ludendorff, right?
There's been no outright confirmation that the writers of Wonder Woman used the real Ludendorff to bring to life the cinematic Ludendorff, despite the beyond-striking similarities. However, there are plenty of depictions and photos of the German army during World War I, that could have served as character inspiration, too. Looking at the materials, there's no doubt that his style of dress and approach to the war would align with how American culture viewed the Germans during World War I and how Germans were documented in photographs and media during this time.
Additionally, the identity of the Wonder Woman version of the villain becomes a bit more layered and interesting when you consider a possible spoiler. It comes courtesy of Comicbook.com and alleges that Ludendorff is actually the god Ares in human form and is motivated to spread chaos and evil throughout the world. It would be an interesting twist indeed if this Ares-as-Ludendorff were to be true, especially because Wonder Woman is the daughter of Zeus, making her a formidable opponent against her Grecian relative.
Even if this twist doesn't come to fruition, the trailers for Wonder Woman make no bones about the fact that Ludendorff is a seriously evil villain; Wonder Woman definitely has her work cut out for her.