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Documents - Military Affairs, Diplomacy, and War
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1.   The Imperial War Constitution [Reichskriegsverfassung] (1681-82)
In response to two threats – the Ottoman advance against Austria and Louis XIV’s aggressive annexationist policy along the Holy Roman Empire’s western border – this resolution mandated the raising....
2.   Introduction of the Brandenburg-Prussian Canton System of Military Recruitment [Kantonreglement], issued by Frederick William I ("the Soldier King"), as an Order to General Field Marshal Albrecht Konrad Finck von Finckenstein (May 1, 1733)
To avoid the high cost of foreign mercenaries, and to minimize desertions, the Prussian king decreed that the physically robust (and tall) sons of the Prussian common people, especially villagers,....
3.   Frederick II ("the Great") of Prussia, "General Principles of War," 134-Page Manuscript in French (1748), issued as Confidential Instructions to his Generals in 1753 (1748/1753)
Here, Frederick pithily expresses his pride in the largely home-grown Prussian soldiery and their noble-born officers. He also demonstrates his concern for the troops’ provisioning, his preference....
4.   "The Views of Count Kaunitz on the International System" (March 24, 1749)
Wenzel Anton Kaunitz-Rietberg (1711-94) formulated his views at great length after negotiating the....
5.   Evaluation of the Armed Forces of the Holy Roman Empire after their Defeat under Austrian Command at the Battle of Roßbach (November 24, 1757)
The defeat at Roßbach by Frederick II’s smaller but more effectively deployed army was a devastating....
6.   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)
The desire to mobilize the people [das Volk] to overthrow Napoleonic hegemony in Germany lay at the heart of the post-1806 Prussian state reformers’ program. By this law, anticipated in the....
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