Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-56f9d74cfd-fv4mn Total loading time: 0.51 Render date: 2022-06-27T10:07:36.544Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

5 - Failed, broken, or galvanized?

Prussia and 1806

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2014

Dennis Showalter
Affiliation:
Colorado College
Williamson Murray
Affiliation:
Ohio State University
Get access

Summary

Prussia’s experience is sui generis in the context of this project. The other contributions feature discussions of strategies with positive starting points. Prussia’s strategy of recovery involved the reconstitution of, if not a “failed state” in the contemporary sense, then arguably a broken state. A military system considered formidable even after the French Revolution’s innovations found itself overthrown in a single campaign. Its disintegration in the aftermath of the Battle of Jena-Auerstädt was comprehensive and immediate, almost literally a matter of the marching speeds of French armies. As Joachim Murat allegedly reported to Napoleon, the fighting was over because there was no enemy left.

Prussia’s collapse was humiliating. Fifty-one of the 60 infantry regiments, the army’s backbone, many with over a century of victory to their names, disappeared. Strongly garrisoned, well-provisioned fortresses surrendered at the first challenge. With no hope of relief from a broken field army, resistance appeared futile and pointless. The few last stands and hold-outs only highlighted a wasteland of senescence and incompetence. The familiar jest that Prussia was an army with its own country became grim reality as the state’s social and political fabric unraveled. The royal family fled Berlin, leaving their capital open to French occupation and looting. The Berliners for their part greeted their French conquerors with applause, while other Prussian cities greeted the French with wine and flowers. What remained of the army attached itself to a Russian ally more embarrassed than gratified by the connection. King Frederick William III focused on the surrenders when denouncing humiliations “without precedent” in his public pronouncement after the collapse. He concluded by declaring that, in the future, any soldier who distinguished himself was to be made an officer regardless of social standing.

Type
Chapter
Information
Successful Strategies
Triumphing in War and Peace from Antiquity to the Present
, pp. 130 - 154
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2014

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Paret, Peter, The Cognitive Challenge of War: Prussia 1806 (Princeton, 2009).Google Scholar
Citino, Robert M., The German Way of War (Lawrence, KS, 2009), pp. 109–122Google Scholar
Hermann, Ludger, “Die Schlachten von Jena und Auerstedt und die Genese der politischen Oeffentlichkeit in Preussen,” in Fesser, G. and Jonscher, R., eds., Umbruch im Schatten Napoleons, Die Schlachten von Jena und Auerstedt und ihre Folge (Jena, 1998), pp. 39–52.Google Scholar
Hebbelmann, Georg, “Das preussische ‘offizierkorps’ im 18. Jahrhundeert: Analyse der Sozialstruktur einer Funktionselite,” dissertation, Muenster, 1999.
Nisbet, H. B., “’Was ist Aufklaerung?’ The Concept of Enlightenment in 18th Century Germany,” Journal of European Studies, vol. 12, 1982, pp. 77–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moeller, Horst, Vernunft und Kritik. Deutsche Aufklaerung im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert (Frankfurt, 1986)Google Scholar
Saine, Thomas, The Problem of Being Modern: or, The German Pursuit of Enlightenment from Leibniz to the French Revolution (Detroit, 1997)Google Scholar
Boedeker, Hans Erich, “Aufklaerung und Kommunikationsprozess,” Aufklaerung, vol. 2, 1987, pp. 89–112Google Scholar
Yasukata, T., Lessing’s Philosophy of Religion and the German Enlightenment (New York, 2002).Google Scholar
Conrad, Hermann, Die geistigen Grundlagen des Allgemeinen Landrrechts fuer die preussischen Staaten von 1794 (Koeln, 1956)Google Scholar
Koselleck, Reinhard, Preussen zwischen Reform und Revolution: Allgemeines Landrecht, Vverwaltung und soziale Bewegungne von 1791 bis 1848 (Stuttgart, 1976).Google Scholar
Clark, Christopher, Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600–1947 (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 247.Google Scholar
Straubel, Rolf, Beamte und Personenpolitik im altpreussischen Staat: sozial Rekrutierung, Karrierenverlauef, Entscheidungsprozesse) 1763–1806 (Potsdam, 1998)Google Scholar
Hull, Isabel, Sexuality, State, and Civil Society in Germany (Ithaca, NY, 1999).Google Scholar
Kant, Immanuel, “Beantwortung der Frage ‘Was ist Aufklaerung?’” originally published in Berliner Monatsschrift, Sept. 10, 1784, reprinted in Derliner Monatsschrift (1783–1796) (Leipzig, 1986), pp. 89–96.Google Scholar
Showalter, Dennis, “Hubertusberg to Auerstaedt: The Prussian Army in Decline?German History, vol. 12, 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kramer, E. and Simpson, P. A., eds., Enlightened War: German Theories and Cultures of War from Frederick the Great to Clausewitz (Rochester, NY, 2011).Google Scholar
Stine, John E., “King Frederick William II and the Decline of the Prussian Army, 1786–1797,” dissertation, University of South Carolina, 1980.
Sikora, Michael, “ Die Franzoezische Revolution der Heeresverfassung,” in Baumgart, P., Koerner, B., and Sruebig, H., eds., Die preussische Armee zwisschen Ancien Regime und Reichsgruendung (Paderborn, 2008), pp. 135–163 provides a good overview.Google Scholar
Moebius, Sascha, Mehr Angst vor dem Offizier als vor dem Feind? Ein mentalitaetsgeschichtliche Studien zur preussischen Taktik im Siebenjaehrigeen Krieg (Saarbruecken, 2007).Google Scholar
Gagliardo, John, From Pariah to Patriot: The Changing Image of the German Peasant, 1770–1840 (Lexington, KY, 1960).Google Scholar
von der Decken, Friedrich, Betrachtungen ueber das Verhaeltniss der Kriegstand zu dem Zwecke der Staaten (Hanover, 1800).Google Scholar
White, Charles, The Enlightened Soldier: Scharnhorst and the Militaerische Gesellschaft in Berlin, 1801–1805 (New York, 1989).Google Scholar
Heifritz, Hans, Geschichte der Preussischen Heeresverwaltung (Berlin, 1938), pp. 173ff.Google Scholar
Shanahan, W. O., Prussian Military Reforms 1786–1813 (New York, 1945) p. 84.Google Scholar
von Conrady, E., Leben and Werken des Generals der Innfanterie. . . Carl von Grolman, 3 vols. (Berlin, 1894), vol. I, pp. 45–46Google Scholar
Lehmann, Max, Scharnhorst, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1886–7), vol. II, pp. 412–413.Google Scholar
von Buelow, S. D. H, Neue Taktik der Neueren, wiie sie seyn sollte (Leipzig, 1805).Google Scholar
Charrier, Pierre, Le Marechal Davout (Paris, 2005), pp. 165–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kagan, Frederick R., The End of the Old Order: Napoleon and Europe, 1801–1805 (New York, 2006)Google Scholar
Simms, Brendan, The Impact of Napoleon: Prussian High Politics and the Creation of the Executive (Cambridge, 1997).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
See the excellent contributions to The Bee and the Eagle: Napoleonic France and the End of the Holy Roman Empire 1806, eds. Forrest, A. and Wilson, P. (New York, 2009).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nolte, P., Staatsbildung als Gesellschaftsreform. Politische Reformen in Preussen und den sueddeutschen Staaten 1800–1820 (Frankfurt, 1990)Google Scholar
Leviunger, Matthew, Enlightened Nationalism: The Transformation of Prussian Political Culture, 1806–1848 (New York, 2000).Google Scholar
Stuebig, Heinz, Armee und Nation. Die Paedagogisch-politischen Motive der preussischen Heeresreform, 1807–1814 (Frankfurt, 1971).Google Scholar
Walter, Dierk, Preussische Heeresreformen 1807–1870. Militaerische Innovation und der Mythos der Roonschen Reformen (Paderborn, 2003), pp. 235–324Google Scholar
Duchwardt, Hans, Stein. Eine Biographie (Muenster, 2007)Google Scholar
Muenchenow-Pohl, Bernd, Zwischen Reform und Krieg. Untersuchungen zur Bewusstseinslage in Preussen, 1807–1812 (Goettingen, 1987), pp. 3ff.Google Scholar
See also the documents in Preussische Finanzpolitik 1806–1810: Quellen zur Verwaltung die Ministerien Stein und Altenstein, eds. Kehr, E., Schissler, H., and Wehler, H.-U. (Goettingen, 1984).Google Scholar
Hagen, William W., Ordinary Prussians: Brandenburg Junkers and Villagers, 1500–1840 (Cambridge, 2002).Google Scholar
Harnisch, Hartmut, “Vom Oktoberedikt des Jahres 1807 zur Deklaration von 1816: Problematik und charackter der preussische Agrarreformgesetzgebung zwischen 1807 und 1816,” Jahrbuch fuer Wirtschaftsgeschcihte, Special Issue, 1978, pp. 231–293.
Kloosterhuis, J., ed., Bauern, Buerger und Soldaten: Quellen zur Sozialisation des Militärsystems im preußischen Westfalen 1713–1803, 2 vols. (Muenster, 1992)Google Scholar
Walter, Dierk, “Meeting the French Challenge: Conscription in Prussia, 1807–1815,” in Stoker, D., Schneid, F., and Blanton, H., eds., Conscription in the Naopleonic Era: A Revolution in Military Affairs? (London, 2009), pp. 24–45Google Scholar
Frevert, Ute, “Das jakobinische Modell: Allgemeine Wehrpflicht und Nationsbildung in preussen-deutschland,” in Frevert, U., ed., Militaer und Gesellschaft im 19. und 20. Jahrhundetrs (Stuttgart, 1997), pp. 18–27.Google Scholar
Klein, Ernst, Von der Reform zur Restauration. Finanzreform und Reformgesetzgebung des preussischen Staatskanzlers Karl August von Harfenberg (Berlin, 1967)Google Scholar
Vogel, Barbara, Allgemeine Gewerrbefreiheit: die Reformepolitik des preussischen StaatskanzlersHardenberg (1810–1820) (Goettingen, 1983).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rosenberg, Hans, Bureaucracy, Aristocracy, and Autocracy: The Prussian Experience, 1669–1815 (Cambridge, MA, 1958)Google Scholar
Stamm-Kuhlmann, Thomas, Koenig in Preussens grosser Zeit. Friedrich William III, der Melancholiker auf dem Thron (Berlin, 1992), pp. 340ff.Google Scholar
Menze, Clemens, Die Bildungsreform Wilhelm von Humboldts (Dortmund, 1975)Google Scholar
Bosche, Tillman, Wilhelm von Humboldt (Munich, 1990).Google Scholar
Berdahl, Robert, The Politics of the Prussian Nobility: The Development of a Conservative Ideology 1770–1848 (Princeton, 1988).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stamm-Kuhlmann, Thomas, “‘Man vertraue doch der Administration!’ Staatsverstaendnis und Regierungshandeln des preussiscnen Staatskanzlers Karl von Hardenberg,” Historische Zeitschrift, vol. 264, 1997, pp. 613–654Google Scholar
Echterkamp, Joerg, Der Aufstieg der deutschen Nationalismus (Frankfurt, 1997)Google Scholar
Levinger, , Enlightened Nationalism (New York, 2000).Google Scholar
Schultz, Helga, “Mythos und Aufklaerung: Fruehformen des Nationalaismus in Deutschland,” Historische Zeitschrift, vol. 263, 1996, pp. 31–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schulze, Hagen, Der Weg zum Nationalstaat: Die deutsche Nationalbewegung vom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Reichsgruendung (Munich, 1985)Google Scholar
Blitz, Hans-Maartin, Aus Liebe zum Vaterland. Die deutsche Nation im 18. Jahrhundert (Hamburg, 2000).Google Scholar
Harnisch, Manfred, “Nationalisierung der Dynastie oder Monarchisierung der Nation? Zum Verhaeltnis von Monarchie und Nation in Deutschland im 19. Jahrhundert,” in Birke, A. et al., eds., Buergertum, Adel und Monarchie. Zum Wandlr der Lebensform im Zeitalter der buergerlichen Nationalstaat (Munich, 1989), pp. 71–92.Google Scholar
Hagemann, Karen, “Federkrieg. Patriotische Meinungsmobilisierung im Preussen in der Zeit der Antinapoleonischen Krieges,” in Soesemann, B., ed., Kommunikation und Medien in Preussen vom 16. bis 19. Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart, 2002), pp. 281–302Google Scholar
Johnson, Otto W., The Myth of a Nation: Literature and Politics in Prussia Under Napoleon (Columbia, SC, 1989).Google Scholar
Stoecker, Gerhard, Volkserziehung ind Turnen: Wuntersuchung der Grundlagen des Turnen von Fr. L. Jahn (Schondorf, 1971).Google Scholar
Hagemann, Karen, “Mannlicher Muth und Teutsche Ehre.” Nation, Militaer und Geschlecht zur Zeit der Antinapoleonischen Kriege Preussens (Paderborn, 2002), pp. 255ff.Google Scholar
Charlott-Trepp, Anne, Sanfte Maennlichkeit und selbststaendige Weiblichkeit (Goettingen, 1996).Google Scholar
Fischer, Horst, Judentum, Staat und Heer. In Preussen im fruehen 19. Jahrhundert (Tuebingen, 1968).Google Scholar
Brandt, Peter, “Einstellungen, Motiven und Ziele von Kriegsfreiwilligen 1813/14: Das Freikorps Luetzow,” in Duelffer, J., ed., Kriegssbererritschaft und Friedensordnung in Deutscakand: 1800–1814 (Muenster, 1995), pp. 21–33.Google Scholar
Kollman, Eric C., Theodor Korener. Militaer u. Politik (Munich, 1973).Google Scholar
Hagemann, Karen, “The Military and Masculinity: Gendering the History of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars,” in Chickering, R. and Foerster, S., eds., War in an Age of Revolution, 1775–1816 (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 331–352.Google Scholar
Hagemann, Karen, “Female Patriots: Women, War and the Nation in the Period of the Prussian–German Anti-Napoleonic Wars,” Gender & History, vol. 16, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dwyer, Philip G., “Politics of Prussian Neutrality,” German History, vol. 12, 1994, pp. 251–272.Google Scholar
Hagemann, Karen, ‘Occupation, Mobilization, and Politics: The Anti-Napoleonic Wars in Prussian Experience, Memory, and Historiography,” Central European History, vol. 39, 2006, pp. 589–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Planert, Uthe, Der Mythos vom Befreiungskrieg. Frankreichs Kriege und der deutschenSueden: Alltag-Wahrnehmung-Deutung 1792–1841 (Paderborn, 2007).Google Scholar
Vann, Allen, “Habsburg Policy and the Austrian War of 1809,” Central European History, vol. 7, 1974, pp. 219–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mustafa, Sam A., The Long Ride of Major von Schill: A Journey Through German History and Memory (New York, 2008).Google Scholar
Ibbeken, Rudolf, Preussen 1807–1813; Staat und Volk als Idee und in Wirklichkeit. (Koeln, 1970), pp. 376ffGoogle Scholar
Paret, Peter, Yorck and the Era of Prussian Reform, 1807–1815 (Princeton, 1966), pp. 155Google Scholar
Schiemann, Theodor, “Die Wuerdigung der Konvention von Tauroggen,” Historische Zeitschrift, vol. 84, 1900, pp. 210–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schmidt, Dorothea, Die preussische Landwehr. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Allgemeine Wehrpflicht in Preussen, zweischen 1813 and 1830 (Berlin [DDR], 1981)Google Scholar
Lieven, Dominic, Russia against Napoleon (New York, 2009), pp. 285–520Google Scholar
Esdaile, Charles, Napoleon’s Wars: An International History, 1803–1815 (New York, 2007), pp. 490–530Google Scholar
Schroeder, Paul W., The Transformation of European Politics, 1763–1848 (Oxford, 1994)Google Scholar
Krahe, Enno E., Metternich’s German Policy, vol. I: The Contest With Napoleon, 1799–1814 (Princeton, 1963)Google Scholar
Showalter, Dennis E., “The Prussian Landwehr and its Critics, 1813–1819,’’ Central European History, vol. 4, 1971CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Generalstab, Grosser, Der preussische Armee der Befreiungskrieg, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1912–1920).Google Scholar
Epstein, Robert M, “Patterns of Change and Continuity in Nineteenth-Century Warfare,” The Journal of Military History, vol. 56, 1992, pp. 375–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Naaziger, George, Luetzen and Bautzen: Napoleon’s Spring Campaign of 1813 (Chicago, 1992)Google Scholar
Hofsschroer, Peter, Luetzzen and Bautzen 1813: The Turning Point (Oxford, 2001).Google Scholar
Moebius, Sascha, Mehr Angst vor dem Offizier als vor dem Feind? (Saarbruecken, 2007), pp. 106ff.Google Scholar
Uffindell, Andrew and Roberts, Andrew, The Eagle’s Last Triumph: Napoleon’s Victory at Ligny, June 1815, new edn. (London, 2006)Google Scholar
Leggiere, Michael, Napoleon and Berlin: The Franco-Prussian War in North Germany (Norman, OK, 2002)Google Scholar
Epstein, Robert M., “Aspects of Military and Operational Effectiveness of the Armies of France, Austria, Russia and Prussia in 1813,” in Schneid, F. C., ed., The Projection and Limitations of Imperial Powers, 1618–1850 (Leiden, 2012), pp. 122–148.Google Scholar
Parkinson, Roger, The Hussar General: Life of Bluecher, Man of Waterloo (London, 1975)Google Scholar
Uffindell, Andrew, Napoleon 1814: The Invasion of France (Barnsley, 2009).Google Scholar
Hofschroer, Peter overstates the case – but not by much – in 1815, The Waterloo Campaign, 2 vols. (London, 1998–1999).Google Scholar
Dwyer, Philip, “The Two Faces of Prussian Foreign Policy: Karl August von Hardenberg as Minister for Foreign Affairs, 1804–1815,” in Stamm-Kuhlmann, T., ed., “Freier Gebrauch der Kraefte.” Eine Bestandsaufnahme der Hardenberg-Forschung (Munich, 2001), pp. 75–91.Google Scholar
Baack, Lawrence J., Christian Bernstorff and Prussia: Diplomacy and Reform Conservatism, 1818–1832 (New Brunswick, NJ, 1980)Google Scholar
Rumpler, Helmut, Deutscher Bund und deutsche Frage 1815–1866: Europaeischer Ordnung, deutsche Politik, und gesellschaftlicher Wandel im Zeitalter der buergerlich-nationalen Emanzipation (Munich, 1990).Google Scholar
Kittstein, Lothar, Politik im Zeitalter derRrevolution: Untersuchungen sur preussischen Staatlichkeit, 1792–1897 (Stuttgart, 2003)Google Scholar
Alestad, Katherine and Hagemann, Karen, “1806 and its Aftermath: Revisiting the Period of the Napoleonic Wars in Central European German Historiography,” Central European History, vol. 29, 2006, pp. 547–579.Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×