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
War of the Sixth Coalition
After the disastrous French invasion of Russia of 1812, the continental powers joined Russia, the United Kingdom and the rebels in Spain who were already at war with France. The War of the Sixth Coalition saw major battles at Lützen, the even larger Battle of Leipzig was the largest battle in European history before World War I. Ultimately, Napoleons earlier setbacks in Russia and Germany proved to be the seeds of his undoing, with their armies reorganized, the allies drove Napoleon out of Germany in 1813 and invaded France in 1814. The Allies defeated the remaining French armies, occupied Paris, and forced Napoleon to abdicate, the French monarchy was revived by the allies, who handed rule to the heir of the House of Bourbon in the Bourbon Restoration. This was not however the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon subsequently escaped from his captivity and returned to power in France, sparking the War of the Seventh Coalition in 1815. In 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia to compel Emperor Alexander I to remain in the Continental System, the Grande Armée, consisting of as many as 650,000 men, crossed the Neman River on 23 June 1812.
Russia proclaimed a Patriotic War, while Napoleon proclaimed a Second Polish War, but against the expectations of the Poles, who supplied almost 100,000 troops for the invasion force, and having in mind further negotiations with Russia, he avoided any concessions toward Poland. Russian forces fell back, destroying everything potentially of use to the invaders until giving battle at Borodino where the two armies fought a devastating but inconclusive battle. Following the battle the Russians withdrew, thus opening the road to Moscow, by 14 September the French had occupied Moscow but found the city practically empty. Alexander I refused to capitulate, leaving the French in the city of Moscow with little food or shelter and winter approaching. In these circumstances, and with no path to victory. Total losses of the Grand Army were at least 370,000 casualties as a result of fighting and the weather conditions. By November, only 27,000 fit soldiers re-crossed the Berezina River, Napoleon now left his army to return to Paris and prepare a defence of Poland against the advancing Russians.
The situation was not as dire as it might at first have seemed, on 9 January 1812, French troops occupied Swedish Pomerania to end the illegal trade with the United Kingdom from Sweden, which was in violation of the Continental System. Swedish estates were confiscated and Swedish officers and soldiers were taken as prisoners, in response, Sweden declared neutrality and signed the secret Treaty of Saint Petersburg with Russia against France and Denmark–Norway on 5 April. On 18 July, the Treaty of Örebro formally ended the wars between Britain and Sweden and Britain and Russia, forming an alliance between Russia and Sweden. However, when Napoleon marched on Moscow, neither Britain nor Sweden would give any support to Russia. The alliance existed only on paper, according to the Treaty of Tilsit, Prussia had to support Napoleons invasion of Russia
Battle of Hanau
The Battle of Hanau was fought on between Karl Philipp von Wrede’s Austro-Bavarian corps and Napoleons retreating French during the War of the Sixth Coalition. Following Napoleons defeat at the Battle of Leipzig earlier in October, Napoleon began to retreat from Germany into France, Wrede attempted to block Napoleon’s line of retreat at Hanau on 30 October. Napoleon arrived at Hanau with reinforcements and defeated Wrede’s forces, on 31 October Hanau was in French control, opening Napoleon’s line of retreat. The Battle of Hanau was a battle, but an important tactical victory allowing Napoleon’s army to retreat onto French soil to recover. The Battle of Leipzig, the largest and bloodiest encounter of the Napoleonic Wars, began on 16 October 1813, Napoleon was forced to abandon central Germany to the coalition and hastily retreated westwards. His strategy was to all his available forces on the shores of the Rhine. The Emperors concern was that his battered army might be forced to fight against superior forces again.
With military action confined to secondary rearguard actions, Napoleon was able to install his headquarters at Erfurt on 23 October, on 26 October, he sent orders to the various corps, directing them to Frankfurt via Eisenach and Fulda. Their assigned destination was the city of Mainz, by the Rhine river, the coalition was buoyed by the news that Bavaria, a former French ally, agreed to join the Sixth Coalition according to the Treaty of Ried concluded just before the Battle of Leipzig. From Würzburg, Wrede moved towards the city of Hanau. Wrede’s advance guard reached Hanau on 28 October and took possession of the city and they were under the overall command of Bavarian General Karl Philipp von Wrede. The Austrian Corps, under the command of Field-Marshal-Lieutenant Baron Fresnet and these men were organised in three divisions, the 1st division under General Bach, the 2nd division under General Trautenberg, and the 3rd division under General Spleny. The Bavarian Corps, under Wredes direct command, numbered 18,000 men,15,000 infantrymen,3,000 cavalrymen, the French Grande Armée had suffered horrendous casualties at the battle of Leipzig, which left the French Corps at a fraction of its prior strength.
Emperor Napoleon I was in command of the French forces in the battle. Guard units aside, many of the French battalions at Hanau were only 100-man strong, and the cavalry squadrons were much smaller. Of these men, only one division of Marshal Claude Victor-Perrins IInd Corps, Cavalry support came from Sébastianis IInd Cavalry Corps, some 3,000 sabres, and Nansoutys Imperial Guard cavalry, some 4,000 sabres. The entirety of the Imperial Guard infantry and artillery, some 6,000 men and 52 cannons, were committed, Napoleon thus commanded a total of about 20,000 men at the battle of Hanau. On 29 October, having correctly reckoned that his force was enough to block the retreat of a disorganised enemy army
Battle of Haynau
The Battle of Haynau was fought on 26 May 1813, between Prussian cavalry under the command of General Blücher and a French infantry division under the command of General Maison. The result was a Prussian victory, napoleons entireties led his corps commanders to push on without due regard to tactical precautions, and Blücher took advantage of their carelessness. On 26 May, with some twenty squadrons of Landwehr cavalry, he surprised, rode over and almost destroyed Maisons division. The material loss inflicted on the French was not very great, on the other hand, they had to suffer the loss of the commanding cavalry officer Florens von Bockum-Dolffs, who had led the charge himself. Like on all other battlegrounds a small monument was erected and this has been destroyed by polish forces in 1945. This article incorporates text from a now in the public domain, Maude. Leonard Dorn, Vier biographische Studien aus der Grafschaft Mark während der napoleonischen Herrschaft, gisbert von Romberg, Barthold von Rappard, Ludwig Freiherr Vincke und Florens von Bockum-Dolffs, in, Eckhard Trox/Susanne Conzen, Wider Napoleon.
Die Geburtsstunde von Demokratie, Emanzipationsbewegung und nationaler Bewegung in der Grafschaft Mark, Lüdenscheid 2013, p. 113-145, especially p. 132-140
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until it was overthrown by the short-lived February Revolution in 1917. One of the largest empires in history, stretching over three continents, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires. The rise of the Russian Empire happened in association with the decline of neighboring powers, the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Persia. It played a role in 1812–14 in defeating Napoleons ambitions to control Europe. The House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, and its German-descended cadet branch, with 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics, there were numerous dissident elements, who launched numerous rebellions and assassination attempts, they were closely watched by the secret police, with thousands exiled to Siberia.
Economically, the empire had an agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs. The economy slowly industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways, the land was ruled by a nobility from the 10th through the 17th centuries, and subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III laid the groundwork for the empire that emerged and he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, and laid the foundations of the Russian state. Tsar Peter the Great fought numerous wars and expanded an already huge empire into a major European power, Catherine the Great presided over a golden age. She expanded the state by conquest and diplomacy, continuing Peter the Greats policy of modernisation along West European lines, Tsar Alexander II promoted numerous reforms, most dramatically the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861. His policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and that connection by 1914 led to Russias entry into the First World War on the side of France and Serbia, against the German and Ottoman empires.
The Russian Empire functioned as a monarchy until the Revolution of 1905. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917, largely as a result of failures in its participation in the First World War. Perhaps the latter was done to make Europe recognize Russia as more of a European country, Poland was divided in the 1790-1815 era, with much of the land and population going to Russia. Most of the 19th century growth came from adding territory in Asia, Peter I the Great introduced autocracy in Russia and played a major role in introducing his country to the European state system. However, this vast land had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those of agriculture in the West, compelling nearly the entire population to farm. Only a small percentage lived in towns, the class of kholops, close to the one of slavery, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter I converted household kholops into house serfs, thus including them in poll taxation
Battle of Luckau
The Battle of Luckau was fought at Luckau in Brandenburg on 6 June 1813 during the War of the Sixth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Allied Prussian and Russian forces under General Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow defeated part of a French-Allied corps under Marshal Nicolas Oudinot and this action was the last one until the summer armistice ended in August. Luckau is 70 kilometres south-southeast of Berlin, Oudinot commanded the XII Corps and brought only General of Division Michel Marie Pacthods 13th Division into action. This unit consisted of two brigades under Generals of Brigade Bernard Pourailly and Antoine Gruyer. Pourailly led the 7th Battalion of the 6th Line Infantry Regiment, the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the 7th Line, the 4th Battalion of the 1st Light, and the 4th Battalion of the 10th Line. Gruyer directed the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions of the 101st Line Infantry Regiment, engaged in the fight were two foot artillery batteries and two squadrons each of the Bavarian and Hesse-Darmstatt Chevau-léger Regiments.
Bülows force consisted of 16 and a half battalions,10 squadrons,1 Cossack Pulk and his 15,800 men included a Russian brigade led by General-major Harpe and a Prussian brigade commanded by Prince Ludwig von Hesse-Homburg. The Russians and Prussians lost about 800 killed and wounded in the action, the French and their allies suffered 1,500 killed and wounded. In addition, Bülows soldiers captured 700 men, one cannon, after the combat, Oudinot withdrew 40 kilometres southwest to Ubigau near Dresden. An armistice, which was signed on 4 June, halted the fighting
Battle of Feistritz
The Battle of Feistritz saw an Imperial French corps led by Paul Grenier attack an Austrian brigade under August von Vécsey. After putting up a resistance, the outnumbered Austrians were defeated and forced to retreat. The clash occurred during the War of the Sixth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars, Feistritz im Rosental is located on the Drau River near the southern border of Austria, about 16 kilometres southwest of Klagenfurt. When hostilities commenced between the Austrian Empire and Imperial France, Johann von Hiller led an Austrian army to attack the Illyrian Provinces, when the Austrian general established a second bridgehead at Feistritz, Eugène sent Grenier to wipe it out. The minor victory only delayed the inevitable, and within a few weeks Eugène was compelled to abandon Illyria, in 1812, the best French and Italian units from the French Army of Italy were assigned to the IV Corps for the French invasion of Russia. The troops fought well under the command of Eugène de Beauharnais, to rebuild his army in Germany for the 1813 campaign, Emperor Napoleon transferred four more divisions from the garrison of Italy to join the newly established IV and XII Corps.
The emperor gave his stepson Eugène permission to organize a new out of French. By May 1813, the new army began forming around the French 46th, 47th, and 48th Divisions, the Italian 49th Division, and one cavalry division. In fact, only 13,000 French conscripts joined the army, since military equipment was scarce, some soldiers were sent to the front dressed in police uniforms. Nevertheless, the continued to expand and Eugène eventually renumbered his divisions 1 through 6. Meanwhile, the Austrian Empire prepared for war with Napoleon by expanding their army, while their main army was based in Bohemia, Austria stationed one army corps on the Danube and another in the Duchy of Carinthia. The troops in Carinthia were placed under the command of Feldzeugmeister Johann von Hiller, since it was considered a minor theater, Hillers army only counted 35,000 soldiers and 120 artillery pieces in August. This total was smaller than the number of troops in his opponents army, the Austrian general had veteran division and brigade commanders, but he was handicapped by a clumsy command system and large numbers of indifferently-equipped conscripts in the ranks.
Though the Danube corps remained in place, reinforcements were continually switched from there to the Army of Inner Austria throughout the autumn, the Advanced Guard had two Grenz infantry battalions and two hussar squadrons. Frimonts division had three brigades led by General-majors Franjo Vlašić, Ferdinand Daniel Pulszky, and August von Vécsey. Vlašićs light brigade comprised one jäger and one Grenz battalion and six squadrons, Pulszkys brigade consisted of four line battalions. Marzianis division was made up of a brigade led by General-major Johann Mayer von Heldensfeld with seven line battalions. Sommarivas division counted three brigades commanded by Generals-major Joseph Xaver von Stutterheim, Joseph von Fölseis, and Georg Johann von Wrede
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is the half of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany. Holstein once existed as the County of Holstein, the Duchy of Holstein, the history of Holstein is closely intertwined with the history of the Danish Duchy of Schleswig. The capital of Holstein is Kiel, Holsteins name comes from the Holcetae, a Saxon tribe mentioned by Adam of Bremen as living on the north bank of the Elbe, to the west of Hamburg. The name means dwellers in the wood, after the Migration Period of the Early Middle Ages, Holstein was adjacent to The Obotrites on the coast of the Baltic Sea and the land of the Danes in Jutland. With the conquest of Old Saxony by Charlemagne circa 800, he granted land north of the Eider River to the Danes by the Treaty of Heiligen signed in 811. The ownership of Holstein was given to The Obotrites, namely the Wagrians, after 814, the Saxons were restored to Western Holstein. The new county of Holstein was established in 1111, it was first a fief of the Duchy of Saxony, of the Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg, with the establishment of the new territorial unit, expansion to the East began and the Wagrians were finally defeated in 1138.
The County of Holstein was ruled by the House of Schaumburg, Holstein was occupied by Denmark after the Battle of Stellau, but was reconquered by the Count of Schauenburg and his allies in the Battle of Bornhöved. He thus became as Gerhard II duke of Schleswig, until 1390 the Rendsburg branch united by inheritance all branches except of that of Holstein-Pinneberg. Through the Treaty of Ribe Christian was elected Count of Holstein-Rendsburg, in 1474 Lauenburgs liege lord Emperor Frederick III elevated Christian I as Count of Holstein-Rendsburg to Duke of Holstein, thus becoming an immediate imperial vassal. The Duchy of Holstein retained that status until the dissolution of the Empire in 1806, in 1490, the Duchy of Holstein was divided into Holstein-Segeberg and Holstein-Gottorp. Holstein-Segeberg remained with the Danish king and was known as Royal Holstein. Holstein-Gottorp, known as Ducal Holstein, was given to a branch of the House of Oldenburg. Between 1533 and 1544 King Christian III of Denmark ruled the entire Duchies of Holstein and of Schleswig in the name of his still minor half-brothers John the Elder.
The elder three brothers determined their youngest brother Frederick for a career as Lutheran administrator of a state within the Holy Roman Empire. The secular rule in the fiscally divided duchies thus became a condominium of the parties, as dukes of Holstein and Schleswig the rulers of both houses bore the formal title of Duke of Schleswig, Holstein and Stormarn. Between 1648 and 1773 the royal share used to be called Holstein-Glückstadt after its capital Glückstadt, parts of the former County of Holstein-Pinneberg were transformed 1649/50 into the Imperial County of Rantzau, which fell back to the Danish Crown in 1726
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