145th Anniversary of the Battle of Königgrätz

Austrian War Memorial on the Heights of Lipa on the Königgrätz battlefield

Since I wrote my MA thesis on the Battle of Königgrätz I figured I would put up a post here noting that today is the 145th anniversary of the battle, which was fought on July 3rd. The battle was significant for many reasons but the most notable is that it marked the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire against the Prussians and thus signified the start of undisputed Prussian leadership of what would become modern Germany. After Königgrätz all the German states had no choice but to fall in line behind the Prussian Confederation and conform to Prussian practices. It was the culminating battle of the second of the Wars of German Unification … Read more…

Book Review: The German Way of War by Robert M. Citino

This book is an interesting read to say the least, Dr. Citino makes the case that there is a specifically German “way of war”. That way, is what he calls operational maneuver. He traces the development of this “way of war” from the 17th century battles of the Frederick William I, the “Great Elector” of electoral Brandenburg and scion of the Hohenzollern Dynasty through to the end of World War II and the final defeat of Nazi Germany. I am not myself so convinced that the discussion should end there based on my experience talking to current German soldiers about war and battle during partnership exercises while I have been … Read more…

The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 9

Well, I figured it is time for another update.  I have made the first round of changes to my rough draft and turned them back in and my thesis made it past my professor and is now in the hands of the second reader.  It went up to the second reader Tuesday and I should get it back sometime next week for corrections, if any.  If there are no corrections needed it will go the department Chair and then I will get a final grade for the thesis and the thesis class.  At that point I will be done with my thesis and should only need to receive word from … Read more…

The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 8

I got my rough draft back from my Thesis professor this morning with the first round of requested corrections.  It actually looks much better than I thought it would.  There are not as many corrections as I expected and so I will start working on revising it tonight after I get home from work.  I just quickly glanced at it this morning.  I guess it will take me two or three days to make the requested corrections. After I make corrections and resubmit it as a final version, it will go to a second reader in the history department for a final round of changes.  After the second reader gets … Read more…

The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 6

I just finished writing the rough draft of my MA Thesis.  It is currently sitting right around 73 pages.  I would guess I will end up adding about 4-5 more ages as I do my final revisions before submitting the rough draft this coming Sunday when it is due.  It was  both easier and harder to write than I thought it would be.  I also am very curious to see what comments my thesis adviser will have.  I already have comments on my intro ad first chapter and will spend the rest of the week incorporating the changes he suggested into the rough draft.  Well we will see. I should … Read more…

The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 4

I was getting to the actual writing of a description of the fighting part of my thesis today when something hit me.  I was looking at casualty figures for the various actions and they are decidedly lopsided.  Most historians blame that on the Prussian possession of the Needle-Gun but I just don’t buy that, it’s too pat an explanation.  As I was thinking about it, it hit me that the Prussians and Austrians fought in completely different ways. … Read more…

Book Review: The Campaign of Germany in 1866

       This work is the Official History of the 1866 Seven Weeks’ War prepared by the Prussian General Staff after the war. I got this book for use in my thesis and it probably would not be of interest to anybody except for hard-core history fans or specialists. That being said, it is one of the better official histories I have ever read.        It is readable and concise and includes a wealth of information. Perhaps the best part of this work from a historian’s perspective is that it is based on primary source documents that are no longer available because they were destroyed in the closing days of World … Read more…

Königgrätz-The battlefield

I went to Königgrätz this past weekend for one final trip before I start writing my thesis and to refresh my memory about what the terrain looks and feels like.  I have found that is difficult to really understand a battle and the course it took unless I have been to the actual battlefield or seen a very good terrain model.  Terrain determines much more about the course of a battle than many people realize.  Of course, rivers and mountains make a difference but so do small terrain features.  Anyone who has ever visited Ypres and stood on top of Passchendaele Ridge looking into the salient can instantly see why … Read more…

BOOK REVIEW: Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings

This is the first of a series of book reviews I will put on my blog. Not necessarily because I think anybody cares what I think about a book. The commenters on Amazon certainly don’t. But rather because I think it is helpful for my readers to get an idea of where my knowledge comes from and also because I hope to highlight some great books that are out there that I don’t think a lot of people have read, even history buffs. Most will be good reviews but I do have some books I absolutely think are worthless or despise. I will put those up too. The bottom line … Read more…