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Law on the Introduction of Universal Military Service in Prussia, signed by King Frederick William III, Hardenberg, and Minister of War von Boyen, among Others (September 3, 1814)

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4. The standing army is prepared at all times to take the field. It is the whole nation’s chief schooling for war, and includes all branches of military knowledge.

5. The standing army consists
a) of those who report for service with the intention of gaining further promotion, and who submit themselves to corresponding tests to this end;
b) of volunteers who wish to devote themselves to military service, but who cannot pass the tests;
c) of a part of the nation’s male youth from the twentieth to twenty-fifth year.

6. In the first three years the standing army’s soldiers remain uninterruptedly at their posts. In the last two years they are furloughed to their homes, serving in case of war to supplement the standing army.

7. Young men from the educated classes who can clothe and arm themselves shall have permission to be enrolled in the riflemen’s corps [Jäger- und Schützenkorps]. After one year’s service they may, at their request, be furloughed to continue their professions. At the expiration of their three obligatory service years, they enter the reserves of first call, in which they will have, according to their capabilities and other circumstances, first claim on officers’ posts.

8. The reserves of first call will, in case of war, support the standing army, both at home and abroad. In peace, apart from necessary time for training and exercises, they are furloughed to their homes.

They are chosen

a) among all young men from the twentieth to twenty-fifth year who do not serve in the standing army;
b) among those who have been trained in the riflemen’s corps;
c) among men from the twenty-sixth to thirty-second year.

The exercises of the reserves of first call are twofold:

a) on certain days in small units in their home districts;
b) once a year in larger units in concert with parts of the standing army, which for this purpose assemble at the reserves’ stations.

9. So as not to interfere with [young men’s] physical and educational development, the end of the twentieth year is fixed as the beginning of military service. But it is left to each young man, following his seventeenth year, if he has the necessary physical strength, to report for military service, in which case he will fulfill his various obligations so much the earlier.

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