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Forum LockedWas Prussia’s military tradition unique in Germany?

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snowybeagle View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote snowybeagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Was Prussia’s military tradition unique in Germany?
    Posted: 17-Apr-2006 at 04:24

Prussia seemed to occupy a special place in Germany's military history.

Many fiction and historical accounts described Prussia practically as the primary region to producing military officers. The term old Prussian military families etc., seemed to be reference for an officer's credentials all by itself.

But Prussia was only one of the many states which made up Germany.

Weren't there other families from other states famous for their own military tradition too?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Maharbbal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Apr-2006 at 06:43
Hi,
As far as I know (which is not much) Prussia is far from having the first
officer corps in Europe (would be more Spain or the Netherland) also, as
you pointed out, Prussia had something specific: the Junkers.
They are aristocrats, but as Prussia was a young country mainly built by
its ruler after the 30 years war (1618-1648) while it was still named
Brandbourg, this aristocrats owe everything they have to the king. Hence
they produce an extremely trustfull and fairly effective frame for both the
administration and the army.
As Prussian kings (specialy the so called Soldier-king) were very military
minded (for instance the taxe administration was named the war office),
they create the famous prussian army and concequently the spirit that
goes with it.
They were pretty much the first in Germany (also they were admirers of
antics rulers, Gustav II Adolf of Sweden and Louis XIV of France) but have
been quickly imitated all over Germany but also in Danemark or in
Austria. Hence in the late 18th century this Prussian army system was
pretty much sprend. This was inhenced when the King of Prussia became
Emperor of Germany in 1870. And the Junkers became the backbone of
the new german administration.
Hope I answered your question.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Apr-2006 at 15:53
pretty much yes, though there were princely families who produced a number of able generals as well, such as the Brunswick, Saxe-Gotha and Württemberg dynasties. other than that, the German aristocracy of the Baltic provinces Livland and Kurland provided their overlords (Swedes and later Russians) with a lot of able generals as well, just like Prussia did with their wn military aristocracy. but within Germany the Prussians far outnumbered other German principalities and were thus pretty much unique (the Baltics were not German).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mamikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Apr-2006 at 16:38
there were over 100 German "princes" with small land holdings, and each bosted his own "army" before unification of Germany, the princes represented the state, like in most other countries. Prussia was the opposite, its army represented the state.

Prussia is usually called "An Army with a State", not "A State with an Army" like other European nations.

In fact Prussia was the first country to have an offical "army", created by Fredrick William, the Great Elector, as the result of the Thirty Years' War, where Prussia was pretty much a battleground of the European powers.

thats my take
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Renegade Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Apr-2006 at 21:19
Originally posted by Temujin

pretty much yes, though there were princely families who produced a number of able generals as well, such as the Brunswick, Saxe-Gotha and Württemberg dynasties. other than that, the German aristocracy of the Baltic provinces Livland and Kurland provided their overlords (Swedes and later Russians) with a lot of able generals as well, just like Prussia did with their wn military aristocracy. but within Germany the Prussians far outnumbered other German principalities and were thus pretty much unique (the Baltics were not German).


What about Palatine?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Apr-2006 at 06:04
Prussia's miliary was not just unique in Germany, it was unique in the world, as they were the first to introduce teh drilling system which made their musketeers the most effective.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Apr-2006 at 14:12

Originally posted by Renegade

Originally posted by Temujin

pretty much yes, though there were princely families who produced a number of able generals as well, such as the Brunswick, Saxe-Gotha and Württemberg dynasties. other than that, the German aristocracy of the Baltic provinces Livland and Kurland provided their overlords (Swedes and later Russians) with a lot of able generals as well, just like Prussia did with their wn military aristocracy. but within Germany the Prussians far outnumbered other German principalities and were thus pretty much unique (the Baltics were not German).


What about Palatine?

the Palatinate (Pfalz)? no famous families with a militarical tradition come to mind here...

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Post Options Post Options   Quote ataman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Apr-2006 at 14:31
Ok, but what about Saxon families? For example Brandt?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Apr-2006 at 14:58
Brandt? is that even a noble family?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ataman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Apr-2006 at 23:40
Originally posted by Temujin

Brandt? is that even a noble family?
I think so. At least this part of Brandt family which settled in Poland were nobles.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Apr-2006 at 10:06

Originally posted by Zagros

Prussia's miliary was not just unique in Germany, it was unique in the world, as they were the first to introduce teh drilling system which made their musketeers the most effective.

The concept of drill, resurrected from the Roman army, was introduced into early modern European war by the Dutch in the 1590s.  Late Renaissance neo-classical thinking strengthened attachments to the Ancients, and Claudius Aelian's Taktika of around the later fourth century was the basis for the Dutch Manual of Arms.

Drilling even in winter and in peace time kept soldiers disciplined and less apt to become a danger to the civil population.

The Swedish army after 1611 (Gustav Adolf, and Jakob de la Gardie) adapted the drill to the new firepower tactics developed to counter Polish cavalry, as well as a discipline method. 

These military practices became widespread during and after the Thirty Years War.  I would have to say that the Swedes and French were more military than Brandenburg-Prussia until at least 1700, and maybe until 1740 (Frederick II).  The reputaion of "Prussia" dates from Frederick the Great and the Silesian wars of the 1740s.

Up until around 1700, the Brandenburg-Prussian army was mostly a mercenary army, large for the population, but not much different than anyone else's, except the Swedes.  The Prussian "Canton system" was an adaptation of the Swedish file system and the Indelningsverk of the Caroline kings, Karl X, XI, XII.

Prussia was not the first, but they became the more efficient with ever more brutal discipline "Admirable in the abstract; horrific in detail."

Remember that, even with that character, Prussia barely survived the Seven Years War, and the Prussian army was destroyed by the French at Jena in 1806.

 



Edited by pikeshot1600
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mosquito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Apr-2006 at 15:05

Originally posted by Temujin

Brandt? is that even a noble family?

Looks like he was from my city, German Prussian.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_von_Brandt

Wait, he was born in 1789 so ex Polish citisen.



Edited by Mosquito
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ataman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Apr-2006 at 00:32
Originally posted by Mosquito

Looks like he was from my city, German Prussian.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_von_Brandt

Wait, he was born in 1789 so ex Polish citisen.

Brandt family was settled in Poland much earlier than in th end of 18th c. For example there was gen. Brandt in the army of August II the Strong.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote TheDiplomat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Apr-2006 at 10:24
Prussia was not a country with an army,but an army with a country.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Disraeli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-May-2006 at 07:23
Prussia took on board the rafts of reforms that made the 17th century Swedish and French armies so successful, allied with greatly improved batttlefield cohesion in the 18th century. This allowed them to become a European Power. In the Napoleanic era they did become an army with a state but prior to this time that analysis is incorrect, ie no Landwher (Nation in Arms.).
 
Prussia's military traditions were unique in the world though, the goose step, the General staff and minds such as Clauswitz, von Moltke, von Schliffen and von Lundendorff.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Achilles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-May-2006 at 12:54
Surely Austria had some militaristic families of merit?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-May-2006 at 13:00
Originally posted by Achilles

Surely Austria had some militaristic families of merit?
 
She had many:
 
See The Army of Maria Theresa by Christopher Duffy
 
Also, The Army of Franz Josef by Gunther Rothenburg
 
The Austrian army as a continuous institution lasted from 1618 until 1918.  It more than held its own for 300 years and it needed soldiers and officers for that.  It had more than enough.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-May-2006 at 15:12
so which are those if you care to elaborate?
 
Originally posted by Disraeli

In the Napoleanic era they did become an army with a state but prior to this time that analysis is incorrect, ie no Landwher (Nation in Arms.).
 
i do not agree. at all. the Landwehr is nothign new, actually Austria utilized one before Prussia, and the Landwehr itself was only an answer the the French Garde Nationale. but neither Austria nor France would fit your describtion.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jun-2006 at 21:01
Originally posted by Temujin

so which are those if you care to elaborate?
 
Originally posted by Disraeli

In the Napoleanic era they did become an army with a state but prior to this time that analysis is incorrect, ie no Landwher (Nation in Arms.).
 
i do not agree. at all. the Landwehr is nothign new, actually Austria utilized one before Prussia, and the Landwehr itself was only an answer the the French Garde Nationale. but neither Austria nor France would fit your describtion.
 
Well, the more famous names that provided generations of officers and generals to the Austrian army are:
 
Arco; Arenburg; Boroevic; Caprara; Caraffa; Berchtold; Browne (Irish); Buquoy; Collalto: Colloredo; Daun; Dietrichstein; Eggenberg; Esterhazy; Fuerstenburg; Gonzaga; Harrach; Haugwitz; Hohenlohe; Hoyos; Kavanagh (Irish); Khevenhueller; Kinski; Kolowrat; Krakowski; Lichtenstein; Montecuccoli; Pallavacini; Palffy; Piccolomini; Radetzky; Schwarzenberg; Tattenbach; Teuffenburg; Traun; Wallis (Walsh-Irish) Windesgraetz; Wurmbrandt; Zrinyi; and, oh yes, Habsburg.
 
Also, princely houses served in the Austrian army; served well, and attained the highest offices:  Charles Duke of Lorraine, and Prince Eugene.  The Archduke Charles (a Habsburg) was one of the finest generals of the early 19th century.
 
 
 
 
 
    


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 02-Jun-2006 at 08:00
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jun-2006 at 15:16
those are all foreign princely houses or houses with only one or two famous members, hardly anyhting that compares to Prussia or the Baltic states. and you havent even mentioned Hadik von Futak....the only dynasty i accept is the Esterhazy one.
BTW it's Arenberg, Fürstenberg, Kolowrat-Krakowsky (one name), Liechtenstein and Windisch-Graetz
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