Most Important 19th Century Battle

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In memoriam
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Most Important 19th Century Battle

Post by walterkaschner » 19 Sep 2002 02:48

After Waterloo, what do you believe was Prussia's most important battle in the 19th Century? And why? I will express my own views later.

Regards, Kaschner

Gwynn Compton
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Post by Gwynn Compton » 19 Sep 2002 04:54

Either defeating Austria in 1866 (correct date?) or the 1870 victory over Napoleon III at Sedan.


Karl da Kraut
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Post by Karl da Kraut » 19 Sep 2002 16:06

I agree. Either it'd be the battle at Königgrätz (Sadowa, 3rd July 1866)) which paved the way for a unified Germany under Prussian leadership, or the Batttle of Sedan , the most important battle in Franco-German war of 1870/71 which sealed the German unification.

I'd opt for Königgrätz though since it was such an decisive victory that Austria was forced to ask for negotiations immeadiately, while the Battle of Sedan meant "only" a preliminary decision. Moreover, the quick defeat of Austria in 1866 also was one of causes for the war of 1870 as the French felt "cheated". They had hoped for a long-lasting war that would considerably weaken both Austria and Prussia. Strangely, demanding "revenge for Sadowa" became a pre-dominant attitude among French nationalists.

BTW: Until 1945 the Sedantag (2nd September) was a public holliday in Germany.

Damian Andrews
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Post by Damian Andrews » 11 Jan 2003 02:09

I thought September 1st was Sedan Day ! ?

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Post by Galahad » 11 Jan 2003 05:02

I vote for Sadowa, for three reasons.

First, it gave Prussia primacy in Germany, which came close to doubling the number of men that Prussia could put in the field under Prussian command against France a few years later.

Second, it established the primacy of the authority of the Prussian General Staff--and that of von Moltke the Elder, for that matter--and proved the efficiency of its planning.

Third, it showed that the Prussian artillery was close to being second-rate, and led to it being upgraded in time for the Franco-Prussian War. Without the artillery, it's a moot question as to whether the Prussians would have won all the battles they did, because however badly commanded the French were, they had the superior infantry firearm. It was the artillery that forced the French surrender at Sedan--with few Prussian casualties--and more importantly, it was the artillery that saved the day at the Battle of Gravelotte-St. Privat.

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