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The little-known German bad guy who inspired a terrifying 'Wonder Woman' villain

Wonder WomanWarner Bros. PicturesDanny Huston as General Ludendorff in ‘Wonder Woman.’

“Wonder Woman” hit theatres last weekend and has been a massive critical and box-office success. It’s a comic book/superhero movie, but it also happens to be a historical movie taking place in Europe during World War I.

So while this movie’s main character is a badass woman made of clay (she can also fly) who fights bad guys with a magical lasso, there are some things that are actually very real about who she’s fighting.

General Ludendorff, played by Danny Huston, is a general in the Imperial German Army. He’s ruthless, ambitious, and will do whatever it takes to win the war for Germany, including using chemical weapons.

General Eric Ludendorff was a real German general in World War I. According to Uproxx, he was an advocate for “total war.” And from 1916 to 1918, he was the leader of Germany’s war efforts.

The real Ludendorff has been credited for coining the “stab in the back” myth. After World War I, right-wing Germans believed that the Germans didn’t lose the war on the battlefield, but instead that they lost the war because other Germans betrayed them on the homefront. Ludendorff blamed the Berlin government and German civilians for failing to support him. In the 1920s, he became a prominent right-wing leader in Germany, serving in Parliament for the National Socialist Party. He also had associations with Adolf Hitler and other Nazis.

Ludendorff stood for war, and Wonder Woman stands for peace, so it makes sense that director Patty Jenkins and screenwriter Allan Heinberg turned to Ludendorff for their villain.

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