The Prussian Reform Movement: a case study in defense reform
Liepman, James Morres Jr.
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The author examines the development of the Prussian officers' corps and General Staff system during the Prussian Reform Movement of 1806-1819. Using this movement as a case study in defense reform, the author determines the basis of the Prussian "tradition of excellence" central to understanding the qualities of Prusso- German officership which generated the tactics and methods of command and control many now wish to emulate. The author determines the historical roots and the essence of Prussian officership. He further examines the transformation of war which occurred between Frederick n and Napoleon I and the constituents of war which that transformation changed—armies, means, costs and superstructure. The author then analyzes the Prussian reformers' reorganization and reform of the Prussian army to meet that Napoleonic challenge. The major conclusion of this study is that the essence of Prussian officership is individual, not institutional, excellence informed by the spirit of Bildung. that is, an acceptance of the lifelong requirements of an educated, cultured officer corps.
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