Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg was the commander of the German army on the Eastern Front in 1914, and won a decisive victory over the Russians at the battle of Tannenberg in East Prussia. He became a popular hero and in 1925 was elected president of the young German republic. Field Marshal Hindenburg, the last symbol of the Kaiser's empire, died in 1934.
Hindenburg's memory, however, was assiduously cultivated. From 1935, his head appeared on the 5-mark silver coin, and a year later on the 2-mark piece. Right up to the beginning of World War II, this subliminal propaganda suited Adolf Hitler, whose declared aim was the rebuilding of Germany's military strength. From 1939, however, no more coins were minted from precious metals in Germany, because from now on all metals were needed for the war economy.