The AustroPrussian War

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The Austro-Prussian War — Austria’s War With Prussia In 1866 Essay, Research Paper One nation. A single, unified nation powerful enough to plunge Europe and the world into two of the most devastating wars in history. That is the legacy of Germany. Two world wars are all we remember of a unified Germany. But, we never remember the struggle that took place to create such an entity. As Geoffry Wawro covers well in this book, the Austro-Prussian War was the turning point in German history that allowed Prussia to become the major figure in German affairs and start to unify the German confederation under one power, ending years of Austrian interference. Although wading through the tactical and strategic events of this war in detail, Wawro does not lose sight of the very

important political aspects of this war, which began Germany?s unification in earnest. This unification of Germany would prove to be one of the most influential events in Europe, with its effects being felt well into the next century. A unified Germany, and others? fear of it, would be one of the stumbling blocks that would lead to the first ?Great War? and quickly after it, another one. But without Prussia?s ascendance to the top of the German states, both World Wars might not have happened. So it is about time to lavish some of the attention given those two wars on one of its major causes, which Wawro does a great job of. Geoffry Wawro himself is a rather young writer. A recent graduate of Yale, Wawro?s book is an expansion on his doctoral dissertation, which won him a

fellowship from the Austrian Cultural Institute in 1994 for Best Dissertation on Austrian Culture. This fellowship allowed him to spend two years converting his dissertation into this book. Although young and relatively new to book writing, Wawro shows a good grasp of the tools necessary to be a successful writer. He has another book, on the Franco-Prussian of 1870, in planning. Wawro builds his book chronologically, beginning with the Congress of Vienna in 1815. He describes the problems associated with the German people?s attempts to unify after the allied defeat of Napoleon. He then goes on to detail how Austria and Prussia both vied for supremacy in the confederation of German states. He focuses mainly on the direct confrontations between the two nations and the abilities of

their leaders. Wawro appears almost to be a Germanophile as he fawns over the ingenious political strategies of Prussian Chancellor Bismarck, while constantly berating the sub-par performance of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph. He also uses the beginning of the book to describe past Austrian domination in Italian affairs, and the animosity that was building between these two states. He reviews the history of Austrian interference in Italy that drove the Italians into a military alliance with Prussia, and eventually into the war. Although he is less enamored of Italy?s leaders, he still holds them above the Austrian leaders whom he portrays as foreign interlopers trying to prevent Italian unity as much as German. He moves through the months and years quickly, going from one crisis

to the next until the three nations were on the brink of war, with Austria facing a double-edged sword, Italy in the south and Prussia in the north. The main force of the book is Wawro?s retelling of the war; planning, mobilization, and engagements. He uses a whole chapter to detail all three nation?s problems in organization and preparedness. He repeatedly praises the Prussians for their efficiency in mobilization of troops and superior strategy. Wawro humbles both the Austrians and Italians as he berates both nations? military state in supplies, manpower, technology, and strategy. He takes special interest in pointing out the ineptitude of Italian and Austrian generals and the political intrigue and maneuvering that got them their commands. As the war begins he first covers the