The sentiment began with the mid-19th century unification of Germany, which made the new nation a rival to the Great powers of Europe in economics, military, cultural, and geopolitical grounds. It was believed correctly in other countries that Otto von Bismarck and Helmuth von Moltke were driving Germany towards domination of the European landmass. Bismark unified Germany in 1871 and was their first Chancellor, serving until 1890.
Von Moltke the elder was chief of staff of the Prussian Army for 30 years. He commanded in the Austro-Prussian War and the Franco-Prussian War. He is described as a "Prussian military organization and tactical genius". He was fascinated with railways and pioneered their military usage. He is often referred to as Moltke the Elder to distinguish him from his nephew Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, who commanded the German Army (Deutsches Heer) at the outbreak of World War I.
References[change | change source]
- executive editor, Joseph P. Pickett (2000). American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-395-82517-4.
- "Optimism has made wars likelier and bloodier". The Economist. 12 October 2017.
- Dupuy, Trevor 1984. A genius for war: the German army and general staff 1807-1945. United Kingdom: Hero Books