Prussian–German Operational Art, 1740–1943

Dennis E. Showalter

in The Evolution of Operational Art

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199599486
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595806 | DOI:
Prussian–German Operational Art, 1740–1943

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This chapter focuses on the rise and fall of operational art in the Prussian/German context. The rise began with Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke and two significant military successes: the defeat of Austria in 1866 by Prussia and the defeat of France in 1870–1 by a Prussian‐led alliance. Erich von Ludendorff's operations on the Eastern Front notwithstanding, it would take another seventy years before the Germans again managed to take full advantage of operational art, in this case in the form of Blitzkrieg. The German invasions in 1939–40 reflected operational art at its best, while Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia in June 1941, marked ‘imperial overreach’ and marked the beginning of the end of German operational art.

Keywords: Prussia; Germany; Helmuth von Moltke; Erich von Luddendorff; Blitzkrieg; Operation Barbarossa; operational art; strategy; policy; war; campaign; battle

Chapter.  14335 words. 

Subjects: International Relations ; Political Theory

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