Leopold Colmar von der Goltz was born on August 12, 1843, near Labiau in East Prussia. He enlisted in the German army in 1861 and embarked on a diverse career path, serving as a soldier, military lecturer in Berlin from 1878 to 1883, and a writer, notably publishing "The Nation in Arms" in 1883. In June 1883, he took on the role of a military advisor to the Turkish army while holding the rank of major.
Goltz's primary task was to modernize the Turkish army, and he achieved such remarkable success that it necessitated the intervention of major European powers to halt the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, where Turkish forces were poised for victory.
After returning to Germany in 1897 as a Lieutenant General, Goltz found himself in significant military service when World War I broke out in August 1914. He had been promoted to Field Marshal in 1911 after further service in Turkey. In the aftermath of the German army's seizure of Belgium, he was appointed as the military governor of the region. However, he was deeply dissatisfied with this role as he had no interest in oppressing the civilian population. Consequently, he was relieved of this duty and sent back to Turkey in November 1914, where he became aide-de-camp to Sultan Mehmet Reşad.
Following a power struggle with Liman von Sanders, Goltz assumed command of the Turkish army in Mesopotamia. However, he faced opposition from Enver Pasha, who disagreed with Goltz's plans for a large-scale attack on the British in Egypt or India. In October 1915, Goltz was appointed to lead the Sixth Army, marking his return to regular military service.
Goltz achieved a significant victory by halting the Anglo-Indian army at the ancient ruins of Ctesiphon on November 22, 1915. In the subsequent month, on December 8, he further solidified his success by besieging Townshend's force at Kut. Goltz successfully repelled the sizable British force sent to relieve Townshend, and he proceeded to conduct a 143-day siege of Kut, which ultimately ended with Townshend's surrender on April 29, 1916.
Regrettably, Goltz did not live to witness the culmination of his triumph. He succumbed to typhus ten days before the surrender of Kut. Although there were rumours suggesting that he may have been poisoned by a group of Young Turk officers, these allegations remained unproven.