Falkenhayn, Erich von (1861–1922), a German army officer. Falkenhayn was Prussian war minister, 1913–15, and chief of the German General Staff from December, 1914, to August, 1916. Falkenhayn was one of the first leaders to realize that World War I would be a war of attrition. He devoted most of his efforts in 1915 to stabilizing the Eastern Front. In February, 1916, he attempted to break the stalemate on the Western Front by launching a major offensive against Verdun. The attack was repulsed with heavy losses for both sides. Falkenhayn was then transferred to the Ninth Army in Romania.
Falkenhayn was born in Prussia. As an officer in China, 1899–1903, he helped put down the Boxer Rebellion.