The war of 1864 between Austria and Prussia on the one side and Denmark on the other was short but important for European history. The two Germanic great powers combined to force a much weaker but intransigent Denmark to cede its two provinces of Schleswig and Holstein, which freed German territory from foreign rule, but the war also marked the end of the cooperation of Prussia and Austria and the start of a new and potentially lethal relationship between them. Indeed, just two years later the two powers were at war, and at the end of that conflict Prussia had excluded Austria from Germany and was on the road to achieving German unity under her banner.
The 1864 war, or to give it its popular name the Second Schleswig War, has long been studied, and it is with an eye to extending its literature in English that we present this translated extract from the memoirs of an Austrian officer, Wilhelm Ritter von Gründorf, who was at the headquarters of the Austrian force during the campaign.
Joining as a volunteer artillery cadet, in 1859 Gründorf was advanced to captain and transferred to the general staff. His services during the war with France and Piedmont in the latter year were valued enough that he was given the Order of the Iron Crown.
In 1864 Gründorf was assigned to arrange the transportation of an Austrian corps to northern Germany, and when that task was completed he was attached to the headquarters of the corps. He served throughout the campaign, being present at two actions and generally distinguishing himself. His writing is lively, and provides all manner of detail rarely encountered. His text is accompanied by explanatory notes penned by the book's translator, Stuart Sutherland.
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