Why Was Prussia Able To Defeat Austria

Topics: Austro-Prussian War, Otto von Bismarck, German Confederation Pages: 5 (2005 words) Published: November 9, 2014
Why was Prussia able to defeat Austria in the 7 Weeks War of 1866? The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the other, that resulted in Prussian dominance over the German states. The major result of the war was a shift in power among the German states away from Austria and towards Prussia. In this essay I will look at different factors that show reasons why Prussia was able to defeat Austria in the 7 Weeks War using my own knowledge and contemporary sources. First of all there were different military factors that show evidence to suggest why Prussia was able to defeat Austria in the 7 Weeks War. Prussia may have gone to war by the advantages of the Prussian army against the Austrian systems. The mobilization of the Prussian army during the North Italian War in 1859 proved a disaster and so in 1860, Von Roon introduced a bill to reform the army. It had the aims to: double the regular army size, increase the period of military service from 2 to 3 years, reduce the role played by the inefficient Landwehr and re-equip the troops. Before this, the size of the army had been fixed by earlier laws that had not taken population growth into account, making conscription inequitable and unpopular for this reason. While some Prussian men remained in the army or the reserves until they were forty years old, about one man in three was assigned minimal service in the Landwehr, the home guard. Introducing universal conscription for three years increased the size of the active duty army and provided Prussia with a reserve army equal in size to that which Moltke deployed against Austria. Austrian conscripts had to be trained almost from scratch, when they were recalled to their units on the outbreak of war. The Prussian army was better trained and disciplined than the Austrian army, particularly in the infantry, which shows a reason why Prussia were able to defeat Austria in the 7 Weeks War as it shows that the army, the force that would come up against the Austrian army grew in strength. Secondly another reason why Prussia was able to win was due to the speed of mobilization and concentration. The Prussian army was locally based and most reservists lived close to their regimental depots and could be swiftly mobilized. Whereas Austrian policy was to ensure that units were stationed far from home to prevent them from taking part in separatist revolts. Conscripts on leave or reservists recalled to their units during mobilization faced a journey that might take weeks before they could report to their units, making the Austrian mobilization much slower than that of the Prussian Army. The railway system of Prussia was more extensively developed than that within Austria. Railways made it possible to supply larger numbers of troops and allowed the rapid movement of troops within friendly territory. The better Prussian rail network allowed the Prussian army to concentrate more rapidly than the Austrians. This can be seen in Source 3 which is Helmuth von Moltke: Memoradum on the Possible War between Prussia and Austria (1866) as he says that “One advantage for us, which cannot be overstated, is that we can advance our army on five railroad lines and thereby have it essentially concentrated on the Saxon-Bohemian border within 25 days.” And “Austria has just one railway leading toward Bohemia, and allowing for the troops it already has in Bohemia and Galicia, and assuming further that its cavalry is already on the march, it requires 45 days to assemble 200,000 men.” Both these quotes from Von Moltkes memorandum shows evidence to suggest why Prussia were able to defeat Austria in the 7 Weeks War as Prussia would be able to mobilise 20 days quicker than Austria. Although the Austrians had the advantage of the central position, the fact that the Prussian...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Why Was Germany Unified Under Prussia and Not Austria? Essay
  • Prussia vs Austria Essay
  • Prussia Essay
  • Why Was William of Normandy Able to Defeat Opposition to His Rule? Essay
  • Why Did Germany Unify Under Prussia and Not Austria Outline Essay
  • Austria and Prussia 1815
  • Why Was Stalin Able to Win the Power Struggle? Essay
  • Why Was Hitler Able to Dominate Germany by 1934 Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free