Kingdom of Prussia
It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, the kings of Prussia were from the House of Hohenzollern. Prussia was a power from the time it became a kingdom, through its predecessor, Brandenburg-Prussia. Prussia continued its rise to power under the guidance of Frederick II, more known as Frederick the Great. After the might of Prussia was revealed it was considered as a power among the German states. Throughout the next hundred years Prussia went on to win many battles and it was because of its power that Prussia continuously tried to unify all the German states under its rule. Attempts at creation of a federation remained unsuccessful and the German Confederation collapsed in 1866 when war ensued between its two most powerful states and Austria. The North German Confederation which lasted from 1867–1871, created a union between the Prussian-aligned states while Austria and most of Southern Germany remained independent.
The North German Confederation was seen as more of an alliance of military strength in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War, the German Empire lasted from 1871–1918 with the successful unification of all the German states under Prussian hegemony. This was due to the defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, in 1871, Germany unified into a single country, minus Austria and Switzerland, with Prussia the dominant power. Prussia is considered the predecessor of the unified German Reich. The Kingdom left a significant cultural legacy, today notably promoted by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, in 1415 a Hohenzollern Burgrave came from the south to the March of Brandenburg and took control of the area as elector. In 1417 the Hohenzollern was made an elector of the Holy Roman Empire, after the Polish wars, the newly established Baltic towns of the German states including Prussia, suffered many economic setbacks. Many of the Prussian towns could not even afford to attend political meetings outside of Prussia, the towns were poverty stricken, with even the largest town, having to borrow money from elsewhere to pay for trade.
Poverty in these towns was partly caused by Prussias neighbors, who had established and developed such a monopoly on trading that these new towns simply could not compete and these issues led to feuds, trade competition and invasions. However, the fall of these gave rise to the nobility, separated the east and the west. It was clear in 1440 how different Brandenburg was from the other German territories, not only did it face partition from within but the threat of its neighbors. It prevented the issue of partition by enacting the Dispositio Achillea which instilled the principle of primogeniture to both the Brandenburg and Franconian territories, the second issue was solved through expansion
Battle of Dresden
The Battle of Dresden was a major engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle took place around the city of Dresden in modern-day Germany, with the recent addition of Austria, the Sixth Coalition felt emboldened in their quest to kick the French out of Central Europe. Despite being heavily outnumbered, French forces under Napoleon scored a modest victory against the Allied army led by Field Marshal Schwarzenberg, Napoleons victory did not lead to the collapse of the coalition, and the lack of effective French cavalry units precluded a major pursuit. A few days after the battle, the Allies surrounded and captured a French corps at the Battle of Kulm. On 16 August, Napoleon had sent Marshal Saint-Cyrs corps to fortify and hold Dresden in order to hinder allied movements and he planned to strike against the interior lines of his enemies and defeat them in detail, before they could combine their full strength. He had some 300,000 men and 800 cannons against allied forces totaling over 450,000 and 1200 cannons, but the Coalition avoided battle with Napoleon himself, choosing to attack his subordinate commanders instead.
On 23 August, at the Battle of Grossbeeren, south of Berlin, and on 26 August, Prussian Marshal Blücher defeated Marshal MacDonald at the Katzbach. In Dresden, French infantry manned the various redoubts and defensive positions and they hoped to last long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Sure enough, they got their wish, Napoleon arrived quickly and unexpectedly with reinforcements to repel this assault on the city. French counterattacks on the Great Garden in the southeast and on the center were successful. Although outnumbered three to two, Napoleon attacked the following morning, turned the allied left flank, and won a tactical victory. The flooded Weisseritz cut the wing of the Allied army, commanded by Johann von Klenau and Ignaz Gyulai. Marshal Joachim Murat took advantage of isolation and inflicted heavy losses on the Austrians. A French participant observed, Murat. cut off from the Austrian army Klenaus corps, nearly all his battalions were compelled to lay down their arms, and two other divisions of infantry shared their fate.
Gyulais divisions suffered losses when they were attacked by Murats cavalry during a rainstorm. With damp flints and powder, their muskets would not fire and many became a easy prey to the French cuirassiers. However, Napoleons failure to follow up on his success allowed Schwarzenberg to withdraw, the Coalition had lost some 38,000 men and 40 guns. Some of Napoleons officers noted he was suffering from a violent colic, on 27 August, General Vandamme received orders to advance on Pirna and bridge the Elbe there
Battle of Leipzig
The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations was fought from 16 to 19 October 1813, at Leipzig, Saxony. Napoleons army contained Polish and Italian troops, as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine, the battle was the culmination of the 1813 German campaign and involved nearly 600,000 soldiers, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I. Being decisively defeated for the first time in battle, Napoleon was compelled to return to France while the Coalition hurried to keep their momentum, Napoleon was forced to abdicate and was exiled to Elba in May 1814. However, the Russian Tsar refused to even as the French occupied the city. With this string of defeats, the armies of France were in retreat on all fronts across Europe, anti-French forces joined Russia as its troops pursued the remnants of the virtually destroyed Grande Armée across central Europe. He sought to regain the offensive by re-establishing his hold in Germany, the victories led to a brief armistice.
He won a victory at the Battle of Dresden on 27 August. This policy led to victories at Großbeeren, Katzbach, after these defeats, the French emperor could not easily follow up on his victory at Dresden. With the intention of knocking Prussia out of the war as soon as possible, Oudinot was defeated at the Battle of Großbeeren, just south of the city. With the intact Prussian force threatening from the north, Napoleon was compelled to withdraw westward and he deployed his army around the city, but concentrated his force from Taucha through Stötteritz, where he placed his command. The Prussians advanced from Wartenburg, the Austrians and Russians from Dresden, the coalition had some 380,000 troops along with 1,500 guns, consisting of 145,000 Russians,115,000 Austrians,90,000 Prussians, and 30,000 Swedes. This made Leipzig the largest battle of the Napoleonic wars, surpassing Borodino, Wagram and Auerstadt, Napoleon conscripted these men to be readied for an even larger campaign against the newly formed Sixth Coalition and its forces stationed in Germany.
While he won several battles, his army was being steadily depleted as Coalition commanders, closely following the Trachenberg Plan. The Swedes had under their command a company of the British Rocket Brigade armed with Congreve rockets, despite being outnumbered, Napoleon planned to take the offensive between the Pleisse and the Parthe rivers. The position at Leipzig held several advantages for his army and his battle strategy, the rivers that converged there split the surrounding terrain into many separate sectors. The northern front was defended by Marshals Michel Ney and Auguste de Marmont, the artillery reserve and parks and baggage stood near Leipzig, which Napoleon made his supply base for the battle. The bridges on the Pleisse and White Elster rivers were defended by infantry, the main battery stood in reserve, and during battle was to be deployed on the Gallows Height. This battery was to be commanded by the artillery expert Antoine Drouot, the western flank of the French positions at Wachau and Liebertwolkwitz was defended by Prince Joseph Poniatowski and Marshal Pierre Augereau and his young French conscripts
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814, Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, one of the greatest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleons political and cultural legacy has ensured his status as one of the most celebrated and he was born Napoleone di Buonaparte in Corsica to a relatively modest family from the minor nobility. When the Revolution broke out in 1789, Napoleon was serving as an officer in the French army. Seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution, he rose through the ranks of the military. The Directory eventually gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents, in 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power.
He engineered a coup in November 1799 and became First Consul of the Republic and his ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, and in 1804 he became the first Emperor of the French. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805, in 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon quickly defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, marched the Grand Army deep into Eastern Europe, France forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Tilsit signified the high watermark of the French Empire, hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, Napoleon invaded Iberia and declared his brother Joseph the King of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support, the Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, and ended in victory for the Allies.
The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia, unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade, the Russians routinely violated the Continental System and enticed Napoleon into another war. The French launched an invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The resulting campaign witnessed the collapse of the Grand Army, the destruction of Russian cities, in 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in a Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, the Allies invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba near Rome and the Bourbons were restored to power, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition, which defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in June, the British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died six years at the age of 51
Leipzig is the largest city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. With a population of 570,087 inhabitants it is Germanys tenth most populous city, Leipzig is located about 160 kilometres southwest of Berlin at the confluence of the White Elster and Parthe rivers at the southern end of the North German Plain. Leipzig has been a city since at least the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The city sits at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, Leipzig was once one of the major European centers of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing. Leipzig became an urban center within the German Democratic Republic after the Second World War. Leipzig played a significant role in instigating the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, through events which took place in, Leipzig today is an economic center and the most livable city in Germany, according to the GfK marketing research institution. Since the opening of the Leipzig City Tunnel in 2013, Leipzig forms the centerpiece of the S-Bahn Mitteldeutschland public transit system, Leipzig is currently listed as Gamma World City and Germanys Boomtown.
Outside of Leipzig the Neuseenland district forms a lake area of approximately 300 square kilometres. Leipzig is derived from the Slavic word Lipsk, which means settlement where the linden trees stand, an older spelling of the name in English is Leipsic. The Latin name Lipsia was used, the name is cognate with Lipetsk in Russia and Liepāja in Latvia. In 1937 the Nazi government officially renamed the city Reichsmessestadt Leipzig, the common usage of this nickname for Leipzig up until the present is reflected, for example, in the name of a popular blog for local arts and culture, Heldenstadt. de. Leipzig was first documented in 1015 in the chronicles of Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg as urbs Libzi and endowed with city, Leipzig Trade Fair, started in the Middle Ages, became an event of international importance and is the oldest remaining trade fair in the world. During the Thirty Years War, two battles took place in Breitenfeld, about 8 kilometres outside Leipzig city walls, the first Battle of Breitenfeld took place in 1631 and the second in 1642.
Both battles resulted in victories for the Swedish-led side, on 24 December 1701, an oil-fueled street lighting system was introduced. The city employed light guards who had to follow a schedule to ensure the punctual lighting of the 700 lanterns. The Leipzig region was the arena of the 1813 Battle of Leipzig between Napoleonic France and a coalition of Prussia, Russia and Sweden. It was the largest battle in Europe prior to the First World War, in 1913 the Monument to the Battle of the Nations celebrating the centenary of this event was completed. The railway station has two entrance halls, the eastern one for the Royal Saxon State Railways and the western one for the Prussian state railways
Duchy of Warsaw
The Duchy of Warsaw was a Polish state established by Napoleon I in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleons allies, following Napoleons failed invasion of Russia, the duchy was occupied by Prussian and Russian troops until 1815, when it was formally partitioned between the two countries at the Congress of Vienna. It covered central and eastern part of present Poland and minor parts of present Lithuania, the area of the duchy had already been liberated by a popular uprising that had escalated from anti-conscription rioting in 1806. One of the first tasks for the new government included providing food to the French army fighting the Russians in East Prussia, the Duchy of Warsaw was officially created by French Emperor Napoleon I, as part of the Treaty of Tilsit with Prussia. Although it was created as a state, it was commonly hoped and believed that with time the nation would be able to regain its former status.
The newly created state was formally an independent duchy, allied to France, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony was compelled by Napoleon to make his new realm a constitutional monarchy, with a parliament. The most important person in the duchy was in fact the French ambassador, based in the duchys capital, the duchy lacked its own diplomatic representation abroad. In 1809, a war with Austria started. During the war the German colonists settled by Prussia during Partitions openly rose up against Polish government. After the Battle of Wagram, the ensuing Treaty of Schönbrunn allowed for a significant expansion of the Duchys territory southwards with the regaining of once-Polish, Napoleon did not want to make a permanent decision that would tie his hands before his anticipated peace settlement with Russia. Nevertheless, he proclaimed the attack on Russia as a second Polish war and that peace settlement was not to be, however. The failed campaign against Russia proved to be a turning point in Napoleons fortunes.
After Napoleons defeat in the east, most of the territory of the Duchy of Warsaw was retaken by Russia in January 1813 during their advance on France, the rest of the Duchy was restored to Prussia. Although several isolated fortresses held out for more than a year, Alexander I of Russia created a Provisional Highest Council of the Duchy of Warsaw to govern the area through his generals. Although many European states and ex-rulers were represented at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and it was perhaps inevitable, that both Prussia and Russia would effectively partition Poland between them, Austria was to more-or-less retain its gains of the First Partition of 1772. Russia demanded to gain all territories of Duchy of Warsaw and it kept all its gains from the three previous partitions, together with Białystok and the surrounding territory that it had obtained in 1807. Its demands for the whole Duchy of Warsaw were denied by other European powers, Prussia regained territory it had first gained in the First Partition, but had had to give up to the Duchy of Warsaw in 1807.
It regained as the Grand Duchy of Posen some of the territory it had conquered in the Second Partition and this territory formed an area approximately 29,000 km² in size. The citys territory measured some 1164 km², and had a population of about 88,000 people, the city was eventually annexed by Austria in 1846
Siege of Hamburg
The city of Hamburg was one of the most powerful fortresses east of the Rhine. In October 1813 a French columns movement towards Dannenberg resulted in the major engagement in the North of Germany. The defeated French troops retreated back to Hamburg, despite steadily shrinking manpower and ammunition supplies, Davouts forces displayed no signs of abandoning Hamburg. French forces are estimated to 42,000 Allied force are estimated to 52,000 in the start to 120,000 in the area, in January 1814. During Davouts defense of Hamburg, one type of coin was issued. The design of the 32 schilling coin of 1809 was reused, and the date was not changed, the coins were issued in 1813, and are listed in the Standard Catalog of World Coins 1801-1900 by Krause Publications as type number KM242 for Hamburg
Battle of the Bidassoa
In the Battle of the Bidasoa on 7 October 1813 the Allied army of Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington wrested a foothold on French soil from Nicolas Soults French army. The Allied troops overran the French lines behind the Bidassoa River on the coast, the nearest towns to the fighting are Irun on the lower Bidassoa and Bera on the middle Bidasoa. The battle occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the wider Napoleonic Wars, Wellington aimed his main assault at the lower Bidasoa, while sending additional troops to attack Soults center. Believing his coastal sector secure, Soult held the right flank with a weak force while concentrating most of his strength on his left flank in the mountains. However, the British general obtained local intelligence that indicated that water levels on the river were much lower than the French suspected. After careful planning, Wellington launched an assault which easily overran the French left flank defenses. In the center, his army won through the French defenses, at the beginning of the fighting, Soult realized that his left flank was in no danger, but it was too late to reinforce his positions on the right.
Some French generals were shocked at how poorly their soldiers fought, in the Battle of San Marcial on 31 August and 1 September 1813, Soults army was repelled in its final bid to advance into Spain. After a costly assault followed by a sack of the city. A French garrison held out in the Siege of Pamplona which would end in a surrender on October 31, Wellington determined to create a bridgehead across the Bidassoa River. If successful, his army would be the first Allied army to establish itself on French soil, the British commander wanted to capture French positions that overlooked the Allied lines on the west side of the Bidassoa. He had to hold a 48 km front in the Pyrenees mountains, the area was highly defensible, but lateral communications were poor. Deciding that the sector was the strongest part of his line. Reilles command included General of Division Antoine Louis Popon de Maucunes 3, 996-strong 7th Division and General of Division Pierre François Joseph Boyers 6, Maucune held the lower Bidassoa on the Bay of Biscay, while Boyer defended the stream farther inland.
Behind them was the camp of Bordagain and the port of St-Jean-de-Luz which were held by General of Division Eugene-Casimir Villattes 8. General of Division Bertrand Clausel held the center with 15,300 men under Generals of Division Nicolas François Conroux, Jean-Pierre Maransin, on the right, near the Bidassoa, stood the La Bayonette redoubt. Mont La Rhune rose in the center of Clausels sector and his left touched the Nivelle River near Ainhoa. Conrouxs 4th Division numbered 4,962 men, Maransins 5th Division counted 5,575 troops, Taupins 8th Division had 4,778 soldiers, Soults gunners and other troops added up to 2,000 and his total forces numbered 55,088 effectives
Battle of Bautzen
In the Battle of Bautzen a combined Russian/Prussian army was pushed back by Napoleon I of France, but escaped destruction, some sources claim, because Michel Ney failed to block their retreat. The Prussians under Count Gebhard von Blücher and Russians under Prince Peter Wittgenstein, the Prusso-Russian army was in a full retreat following their defeat at the Battle of Lützen. Finally, generals Wittgenstein and Blücher were ordered to stop at Bautzen by Tsar Alexander I, the Prusso-Russian army was nearly 100,000 men strong, but Napoleon had 115,000 troops. Additionally, Marshal Ney had 85,000 more men within easy marching distance, Wittgenstein formed two defensive lines, with the first holding strongpoints in villages and along ridges and the second holding the bridges behind a river bend. Napoleon had planned to pin down his enemies to their lines, due to faulty reconnaissance, he became concerned that the Prusso-Russians had more soldiers and held stronger positions than they actually did.
So Napoleon decided he would not set up his trap until they had been softened up, after an intense bombardment by the grande batterie of Napoleons artillery and hours of heated fighting, the French overpowered the first defensive lines and seized the town of Bautzen. The Prusso-Russians appeared to be buckling, by nightfall, the French were ready to cut the allies off from their line of retreat. But Marshal Ney became confused and his faulty positioning left the open for the Allies to escape. Fighting on the day, the 21st, was again hard and after several hours of setbacks. But these assaults were only intended to fix the allies in place so they could be cut off, once again, Marshal Ney became distracted and decided to seize the village of Preititz, and thus lost sight of the strategic importance of cutting off the allies. The Prusso-Russians were being pushed back across the river and, at 4 p. m. when the Imperial Guard was sent in, without Neys forces to seal them in, they again escaped the total defeat Napoleon had planned.
Losses on both sides totaled around 20,000, the French victory at Bautzen is therefore often called a Pyrrhic victory. Although a success for the French, Bautzen was not the decisive, Neys failure to cut the line of retreat robbed the French of complete victory. Once more Napoleon had to settle for a narrow, pyrrhic victory, to make matters worse, during the battle, Napoleons close friend and Grand Marshal of the Palace, General Geraud Duroc, was mortally wounded by a cannonball and died hours after the battle. Following Bautzen, Napoleon agreed to a truce with the Coalition. The Armistice of Pleischwitz was signed on 4 June, and lasted until 20 July, during this time he hoped to gather more troops, especially cavalry, and better train his new army. The allies, would not be idle, they too would mobilize and better prepare, and after hostilities were resumed, the Austrians joined the ranks of the allies. It is reported that Napoleon quoted, that his agreement to this truce was a bad mistake, the campaign would resume in August
Gerhard von Scharnhorst
Gerhard Johann David Waitz von Scharnhorst, was a Hanoverian-born general in Prussian service from 1801. As the first Chief of the Prussian General Staff, he was noted for his theories, his reforms of the Prussian army. In 1778 he received a commission into the Hanoverian service and he employed the intervals of regimental duty in further self-education and literary work. In 1783 he transferred to the artillery and received an appointment to the new school in Hanover. He published in 1792 his Military Handbook for Use in the Field and his first military campaign took place in 1793 in the Netherlands, in which he served with distinction under the Duke of York. Shortly thereafter he received promotion to the rank of major and joined the staff of the Hanoverian contingent, after the Peace of Basel Scharnhorst returned to Hanover. He had by now become so well known to the armies of the allied states that he received invitations from several of them to transfer his services. The Prussian Military Academy employed him, almost as a matter of course, in important instructional work, for his services at Eylau he received the highest Prussian military order Pour le Mérite.
It was apparent that Scharnhorsts skills exceeded those of a brilliant staff officer. Stein himself became a member of the commission and secured Scharnhorst free access to King Frederick William III by securing his appointment as aide-de-camp-general, but Napoleon quickly became suspicious, and Frederick William repeatedly had to suspend or cancel the reforms recommended. By slow and labored steps, Scharnhorst converted the professional army of Prussia, wrecked at Jena. Universal service was not secured until his death, but he laid down the principles, the organization of the Landwehr was begun. In 1809, the war between France and Austria roused premature hopes in the party, which the conqueror did not fail to note. In retirement he wrote and published a work on firearms, Über die Wirkung des Feuergewehrs, but the retreat from Moscow at last sounded the call to arms for the new national army of Prussia. Scharnhorst, recalled to the headquarters, refused a higher post but became Chief of Staff to Blücher, in whose vigour, energy.
Russian Prince Wittgenstein was so impressed by Scharnhorst that he asked to him temporarily as his Chief of Staff. In the first battle, Lützen or Gross-Görschen, Prussia suffered defeat, the French failed to follow up, so this defeat was not complete. Shortly before his death he had received promotion to the rank of lieutenant-general, Frederick William III erected a statue in his memory, by Christian Daniel Rauch, in Berlin