Chapter

Old Soldiers

Eric Dorn Brose

in The Kaiser's Army

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780195143355
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199872015 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195143355.003.0002
Old Soldiers

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This chapter discusses the technophobia that afflicted cavalry and infantry commanders of the early 1880s. The cavalry remained a social bastion and a political symbol of the nobility in an increasingly bourgeois age. In Prussia, for example, the percentage of noblemen who were commanding cavalry regiments remained at 93% to 94% from 1865 to 1885. This undoubtedly strengthened the preference of its officers for attacking in traditional fashion. However, the middle-class share of regimental infantry commands in Prussia rose from 5% in 1865 to 24% by 1885. The result, particularly during the first intense period of mixing and mingling among class elites in the 1870s, was a strong desire on the part of army newcomers to conform to older ways in order to gain acceptance. One historian argues that as the middle class in uniform strove for conformity and acceptability, it turned away from liberalism and technology, opting for conservatism and outmoded military tactics.

Keywords: German army; cavalry; technophobia; infantry; bourgeoisie; commanders; nobility

Chapter.  7410 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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