The rise and supremacy of Prussia

After the defeat of Napoleon, a bundle of 39 German states emerged from the fragmented small states that were in the heart of Europe. The federation was dominated by Austria, Prussia gained in the years before the status of a great power, but could not enforce its interests in the federal government. Through the detour of a war with Denmark, this state led to a war with Austria, at the end of which Prussia's supremacy over the German states stood, and the way to a unified Germany was laid.


Mitteleuropa von 1815 bis 1866

Central Europe from 1815 to 1866


The German-Danish War:

The source of tension between the German Confederation and Denmark lay in the Schleswig-Holstein survey, which ended in a 3-year war from 1848 to 1851. According to the London Protocol, the Danish Crown was granted sovereignty over the duchies of Schleswig (as a Danish fief) and Holstein and Lauenburg (as member states of the German Confederation), but on the condition that these states should be treated as independent entities.

However, some political currents in Denmark demanded the further integration of Schleswig into Denmark, which should particularly benefit the administration. In 1863, for example, the "March Patent" of the Danish King Friedrich VII was the first step toward integration. On 30 August, a new constitutional order for Holstein, which only a personal union between Denmark and Schleswig on one side and Holstein and Lauenburg on the other side. This treaty was thus a clear breach of the London Protocol and led to significant protests of the German Confederation and the population.

A complete separation of Schleswig and Holstein-Lauenburg was completed on 28 September 1863 with the Basic Law for the common affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark and the Duchy of Schleswig. The Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck then concluded an alliance with Austria and was already considering a military intervention against Denmark.

In November, the Danish king Friedrich VII died, his successor was Christian IX. at. He signed on November 18, 1863 a new constitution, which as a consequence, the occupation of Holstein and Lauenburg by troops of the German army had the consequence.

On 16 January 1864, Prussia and Austria issued a 48-hour ultimatum to Denmark, which was to revoke the November constitution and evacuate Schleswig. When Denmark did not comply with the ultimatum, on the morning of February 1, 1864, Prussian and Austrian troops under the leadership of Field Marshal Friedrich von Wrangel crossed the Eider at Rendsburg. At the same time a Prussian unit tried to cross the loop at Missunde, but was beaten back. The Austrians were more successful in crossing the concern and moved up to 10 kilometers to the Danewerk fortification. The plan to seize the Danewerk by the Austrians and Prussians failed, but the Danish commander withdrew from the danger and left his troops move to the Düppel hills near Flensburg.


Rückzug der dänischen Truppen aus dem Danewerke am 5. bis zum 6. Februar 1864

Retreat of Danish troops from Danewerke on 5 to 6 February 1864


The troops of the Austrians and Prussians advanced further north, plans to storm the Düppel hills were initially not worked, as this would have meant excessive losses. But when the attempt to occupy the island of Alsen to cut off the Danish troops failed, the Austrians and Prussians decided to storm the hills. For this purpose, from 7 April 1864, the Danish positions were bombarded with artillery. After about a week, half of the Danish guns had already been destroyed and about one-third of the soldiers were killed, wounded or sick. The assault by the Prussians thus met with little resistance on April 18 and the first six jumps could be taken within a short time. A counter-attack of the Danes failed and so were the last 4 hills cleared.


Erstürmung der Düppeler Schanzen

Storming of the Düppel hills


As of May 12, the first peace negotiations took place under the mediation of England and France. However, since the warring parties could agree on no border, the war rekindled in late June.

Prussia managed this time to occupy the island Alsen quickly. On July 11, the entire Jutland peninsula was already in the hands of the Prussians and Austrians. With more Danish islands at risk, Denmark had to negotiate another ceasefire. This came into force on July 20, 1864.

August 14, 1865 was determined in the Treaty of Gastein that the duchies of Saxony-Lauenburg and Schleswig fell to Prussia, Holstein was ceded to Austria. The war between Austria, Prussia and Denmark was thus over, but Austria did not accept the supremacy of Prussia for northern Germany, so tensions built up again, which ended in the German war.


The German war:

The starting point for the war between Prussia and its allies against Austria and its allies was the control over northern Germany, which arose from the German-Danish war.
In this the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein were distributed to Prussia and Austria, but in contrast to Prussia, Austria accepted the auxiliary government of Duke Friedrich VIII of Schleswig-Holstein. Prussia saw this as a breach of the contract of Gastein, which was negotiated after the German-Danish war.

Since no political agreement could be reached, invaded Prussian troops on June 9, 1866 in Holstein. Austria, on the other hand, urged the mobilization of the Federal Army of the German Confederation on the basis of a federal execution for the banned self-help of Prussia. On the 14th of June the consent was given and Karl von Bayern was appointed federal commander. Prussia saw this as a breach of the Federal Constitution and declared the German Confederation dissolved.

The command of the Prussian troops Helmuth Count von Moltke, who had already achieved great victories in the German-Danish War by his modern and adapted to the particular situation tactics. Now Moltke saw in the southeast 270,000 Austrian and Saxon troops and in the northwest 120,000 troops of the Hanoverian and southern German states. Overall, his army had about 64,000 fewer soldiers. He sent thus first 278,000 men in the southeast, the remaining 48,000 against the Hanoverians. In the Battle of Langensalza lost his soldiers against the Hanoverians, but due to the high losses of these, Hannover had to capitulate in late June 1866.

Moltke had his army divided into 3 armies against the Austrians and Saxons. An army was able to push the Saxons back into Austrian Bohemia while the Commander-in-Chief of the Austrians, Ludwig von Benedek, was undecided as to which Prussian army he should attack. The Prussians supported this with their better and faster weapons and pushed the Austrians back to the ridge in front of the fortress Königgrätz.


Schlacht bei Königgrätz - Prinz Friedrich Karl Nikolaus von Preußen befehligt preußische Truppen

Battle of Königgrätz - Prince Frederick Charles Nicholas of Prussia commanded Prussian troops


Moltke devised the plan to employ 2 of his armies to occupy the Austrians, while his 3rd Army attacked the flank. On July 3, 1866 the attack took place, but due to the bad weather, the army, which was to carry out the flank attack, did not get the order. The first two armies were pushed back, but Ludwig von Benedek did not push them, which gave the Prussians the opportunity to reorganize. In the early afternoon of the battle, the command to attack reached the flank army. This attack forced the Austrians to retreat, Königgrätz could be taken and the Austrian emperor had to ask for a truce.


Szene aus der kriegsentscheidenden Schlacht bei Königgrätz

Scene from the war decisive battle at Königgrätz


Mitteleuropa von 1866 bis 1914

Central Europe from 1866 to 1914



Consequences of the German war:

On July 26, 1866 was a by the French Emperor Napoléon III. After the Austrian government announced its withdrawal from politics about the German states. The peace treaty of Prague was the actual peace treaty.

Prussia made its decision to dissolve the German Confederation. In its place came with the August contracts a military alliance with the North German states, which culminated in the North German Confederation under Prussian supremacy. The Southern German states Kingdom of Bavaria, the Kingdom of Württemberg, the Grand Duchy of Baden and the Grand Duchy of Hesse signed a protection and trustee alliance with Prussia and the North German Confederation, so that the respective armies were subordinated to the command of Prussia.


Flagge des Norddeutschen Bund

Flag of the North German Confederation


Austria had to hand over Veneto to Italy, which was allied with Prussia in the war. Although the Italian army was subject to the Austrians, the war was won with Prussia. The country founded in 1867 together with Hungary, the dual monarchy, imperial and royal (k.u.k.).

The French Emperor Napoléon III. could not enforce its territorial wishes for the banks of the Rhine. Political relations between France and Prussia worsened significantly after the peace treaty.






You can find the right literature here:


Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947

Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947 1st Published Edition Edition

In the aftermath of World War II, Prussia--a centuries-old state pivotal to Europe's development--ceased to exist. In their eagerness to erase all traces of the Third Reich from the earth, the Allies believed that Prussia, the very embodiment of German militarism, had to be abolished.

But as Christopher Clark reveals in this pioneering history, Prussia's legacy is far more complex. Though now a fading memory in Europe's heartland, the true story of Prussia offers a remarkable glimpse into the dynamic rise of modern Europe.

What we find is a kingdom that existed nearly half a millennium ago as a patchwork of territorial fragments, with neither significant resources nor a coherent culture. With its capital in Berlin, Prussia grew from being a small, poor, disregarded medieval state into one of the most vigorous and powerful nations in Europe. Iron Kingdom traces Prussia's involvement in the continent's foundational religious and political conflagrations: from the devastations of the Thirty Years War through centuries of political machinations to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, from the enlightenment of Frederick the Great to the destructive conquests of Napoleon, and from the "iron and blood" policies of Bismarck to the creation of the German Empire in 1871, and all that implied for the tumultuous twentieth century.

By 1947, Prussia was deemed an intolerable threat to the safety of Europe; what is often forgotten, Clark argues, is that it had also been an exemplar of the European humanistic tradition, boasting a formidable government administration, an incorruptible civil service, and religious tolerance. Clark demonstrates how a state deemed the bane of twentieth-century Europe has played an incalculable role in Western civilization's fortunes. Iron Kingdom is a definitive, gripping account of Prussia's fascinating, influential, and critical role in modern times.

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The Rise and Fall of Prussia

The Rise and Fall of Prussia (Phoenix Giants) Paperback – February 28, 1998

Prussia, a state which contributed so much to European civilization, only exis-ted as an independent power for 170 years. Sebastian Haffner, a Prussian by birth, reassesses the legend and tells the short but dramatic history of this unique state. He casts fresh light on its foundation, its struggle to become a great power in the eighteenth century, its important role as one of the Three Black Eagles with Austria and Russia, and its eventual disappearance from the map of Europe after the establishment of the German Empire.

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The History Of Prussia

The History Of Prussia Hardcover – November 15, 2015

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.

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Flag: The Kingdom of Prussia

Flag: The Kingdom of Prussia International Military Antiques, Inc.

  • 5 ft by 3 ft size
  • Perfect size for hanging on walls.
  • Complete with 2 brass side grommets
  • Synthetic Material

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