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General Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst, 1755-1813

General Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst, 1755-1813


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General Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst, 1755-1813

General Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst (1755-1813) was the most important of a group of military reformers who revived the Prussian army after the disasters of 1806 and turned it into an effective weapon during the War of Liberation of 1813 and the campaigns of 1813 and 1814.

Scharnhorst was born on 12 November 1755 at Bordenau near Hanover. His father had some military experience, but the family came from farming stock. The young Scharnhorst attended the cadet school run by Wilhelm Graf con Schaumburg-Lippe, before being commission in the Hanoverian cavalry in 1778. In 1783 he moved to the artillery, and he was then appointed to the Artillery School. Even at this early stage he was a military thinker and he made most of his living by writing on military theory and publishing a military journal.

Scharnhorst served with the Hanoverian army in the Netherlands in 1793-94. He took part in the defence of Menin (the scene of two battles (13 September 1793 and 15 September 1793) and a short siege (27-30 April 1794). He later wrote a book on the defence of Menin (along with a book entitled 'The causes of French luck in the Revolutionary Wars') and was promoted to major and made chief of staff to the commander in chief of the Hanoverian Army.

After the defeat of the Hanoverian Army at Hondschoote (8 September 1793) Scharnhorst suggested a series of reforms, including the introduction of high educational standards for the officers. He would later be able to implement something similar in Prussia, but his suggestions for the Hanoverian army were rejected.

Scharnhorst now had something of a reputation as a military theorist, which gained him a number of job offers. In 1801 he transferred to the Prussian Army with the rank of Lt. Colonel, a patent of nobility and twice his previous salary. He was appointed to the staff of the quartermaster general and given the job of improving the various military academies. He taught at the war academy in Berlin, where Clausewitz was one of his pupils. He also formed the Militärische Gesellschaft, a military discussion society for serving officers. During this period Scharnhorst attempted to gain support for a reform of the Prussian army, suggesting a national army, mixed divisions (with cavalry, infantry and artillery in the same unit) and a national militia. Unfortunatly for Prussia the existing military establishment was hidebound, proud of its reputation as the heirs of Frederick the Great, and entirely unsuited for modern warfare.

Scharnhorst was chosen to be chief of staff to the Duke of Brunswick, the commander of the Prussian army at the start of the War of the Fourth Coalition. At the start of the war the Prussians invaded Saxony, but then paused to decide what to do next. Scharnhorst suggested conducting a fighting retreat towards the Russians, but his plan was dismissed as being too defensive. Unfortunate timing meant that he was unable to take command when the Duke of Brunswick was fatally wounded early in the battle of Auerstädt (14 October 1806). Brunswick sent Scharnhorst to visit General Schmettau's division, and while he was there Schmettau was wounded. Scharnhorst took over his division, but this meant he was absent when Brunswick was wounded. This left Frederick William III to take command, and he handled his army poorly. Scharnhorst didn't discover the king was in actual command until late in the battle. He was later swept up in the Prussian defeat, running into the King as the troops were retreating through Auerstädt.

Scharnhorst was wounded in the battle, but he escaped from the battlefield, and along with Blücher and the Duke of Saxe-Weimer ended up with a force of 22,000 men. During the retreat Scharnhorst served as Blücher's chief of staff. They decided to head for Lubeck, where they hoped to find reinforcements. The Prussians reached Lubeck on 5 November, but Bernadotte and Soult were in close pursuit, and the French stormed the town on 6 November. Scharnhorst and 10,000 men were forced to surrender at Lubeck, while Blucher and the rest of the army had to surrender on the following day.

Scharnhorst was soon exchanged, and served with Lestocq's corps, fighting alongside the Russians. He fought at Eylau, and was awarded the Pour le Mérite.

Army Reforms

After these disasters Scharnhorst was promoted to Major General, and was appointed head of the commission that was given the task of reforming the Prussian army. He also served as Quartermaster General of the Army from 1808-1813. In this role he gave the Prussian army a brief spell of unified control, although this didn't last after the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

Before 1806 the Prussian army was still largely the same as under Frederick the Great. Discipline was harsh, recruitment was organised by regimental districts and only the lower classes and peasants could serve. The officers almost entirely came from the gentry (the famous Junkers) or nobility. The army had a peacetime strength of 230,000 men, many of whom were recruited outside Prussia (but within Germany). Service was for life.

In 1806 the highly regarded Prussian army simply dissolved. Fifty-one of the sixty infantry regiments were destroyed and never came back. In addition the terms of the peace with France limited the army to only 42,000 men woth 22 generals.

Scharnhorst's commission had an impressive membership, largely taken from the more progressive elements of the army. Most famous was August von Gneisenau, but it also included Hermann von Boyen (minister of war 1814-1819) and Karl von Grolman (chief of the General Staff 1814-19).

Scharnhorst's commission introduced a wide range of reforms. Foreign recruiting was abolished in 1807 (at least in part because the smaller army didn't need it). Frederick William III was hostile to the idea of universal conscription, seeing it as rather too revolutionary (as well as going against the terms of the Convention of Paris of 8 September 1808). This treaty also forbade the formation of any militias, or the introduction of any measures to strengthen the army.

The restriction on numbers was partly solved by introducing a system of short term service. Experienced veterans were discharged from the army, and replaced by new recruits (Krümper), in what became known as the Krümpersystem. This was similar to the short term conscription that became common in Europe later in the Nineteenth Century. It created a pool of trained recruits who could be called to the colours if the army needed to be mobilized, without increasing the peacetime size of the army.

Part of the blame for the defeats of 1806 was placed on the officer corps and in 1807-1808 this was purged on a massive scale. 102 generals were sacked, and none recommissioned. 600 field officers went, although a handful did get new commissions in 1813. Finally 4,000 subalterns went, but most of them were called back in 1813 when the newly enlarged army needed their experience. Perhaps most dramatically the aristocratic dominance of the officer corps was abolished on 6 August 1808. In peacetime you now needed education to gain a commission, in wartime courage and perhaps more importantly competence. Within each regiment the officers were responsible for selecting new cadets. During the War of Liberation this had the intended result, and only half of the officer corps from the gentry, but after the war regimental officers used it to exclude people they didn’t approve of, and the number of aristocratic and gentry officers rose to two thirds by 1850.

The Prussian army already had a limited General Staff before 1806. This was already beginning to create a group of well educated officers, but after 1806 the process sped up. The staff was split into four sub-departments (strategy and tactics; internal affairs; economy and finance; artillery and ammunition) and in 1810 a military academy was formed. The same staff structure was repeated at corps and divisional levels and over time the chief of staff became almost as important as a unit's commander. At lower levels a new set of tactical regulations was introduced, which became a new drill code in 1812. Light infantry was also introduced in large numbers, to act against the cloud of skirmishers that always shielded the French army.

The King's objection to conscription was overcome by creating a militia that would operate parallel to the regular army. Artisans, merchants, teachers, students and indeed most urban dwellers, who were unable to service in the main army, would instead be drafted into the militia. The harsh disciplinary system was abolished on 3 August 1808 and replaced by a new penal code which consisted of punishment drill for minor offences, imprisonment or execution for more serious crimes and the use of civilian courts for most crimes. In 1809 the system that made military personnel immune to civilian courts was also abolished. The aim was to produce a new national army, motivated by patriotism rather than by fear.

After the disasters of 1806 Frederick William had ordered the formation of mixed arms divisions, each with four infantry regiments, two cavalry regiments and three artillery batteries. The size limits imposed by Napoleon meant that this couldn't be achieved. The new army had six divisions, each with two infantry regiments and three cavalry regiments. These were soon renamed as brigades. When the army expanded during the War of Liberation these brigades expanded to three infantry regiments (two regular and one Landwehr), four cavalry units and one artillery battery. Four brigades, reinforced with extra cavalry and artillery formed a corps.

When Prussia joined the Sixth Coalition at the start of 1813 Scharnhorst's reforms meant that the army quickly expanded. On 9 February 1813 the Kantonsystem (the geographical recruitment system) was suspended. On 17 March the militia was officially formed, as the Landwehr (counter defence). The discharged veterans and the Krümper were called up. By March 1813 the army had expanded from its official peacetime strength of 42,000 men up to an impressive 130,000, and by August it reached 270,000 men. About half of them were from the Landwehr and far more than half were short service recruits, so the army of 1813 was very different to the army of 1806. At first there weren't enough weapons for the newly expanded army, and in the spring campaign of 1813 many of the Landwehr had to use pikes. By the autumn campaign supplies of British weapons had arrived, and this crisis was over.

War of Liberation

During the peace Scharnhorst had been an advocate of Blücher, insisting that he was the right man to lead the new Prussian armies. Blücher got the post with Scharnhorst as his chief of staff. However, Scharnhorst was wounded in the foot at the battle of Lützen (2 May 1813). Although the battle was a French victory, Scharnhorst's work showed in the nature of the retreat - there was no repeat of the chaos of 1806 and the Prussian army retired intact.

After the battle Scharnhorst didn't seem to be too badly wounded, and he was sent to Austria to try and persuade the Emperor Francis to commit Austria to the war. Gneisenau replaced him as Blücher's chief of staff. Unfortunately his wound became infected, and Scharnhorst died of his wounds at Prague on 8 June 1813.

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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Scharnhorst, Gerhard Johann David von

SCHARNHORST, GERHARD JOHANN DAVID VON (1755-1813), Prussian general, was born at Bordenau near Hanover, of a farmer stock, on the 12th of November 1755. He succeeded in educating himself and in securing admission to the military academy of Wilhelmstein, and in 1778 received a commission in the Hanoverian service. He employed the intervals of regimental duty in further self-education and literary work. In 1783 he was transferred to the artillery and appointed to the new artillery school in Hanover. He had already founded a military journal which under various names endured till 1805, and in 1788 he designed, and in part published, a Handbuch für Offiziers in den anwendbaren Theilen der Kriegswissenschaften. He also published in 1792 his Militärische Taschenbuch für den Gebrauch im Felde. The income he derived from his writings was his chief means of support, for he was still a lieutenant, and though the farm of Bordenau produced a small sum annually he had a wife (Clara Schmalz, sister of Theodor Schmalz, first director of Berlin University) and family to maintain. His first campaign was that of 1793 in the Netherlands, in which he served under the duke of York with distinction. In 1794 he took part in the defence of Menin and commemorated the escape of the garrison in his Vertheidigung der Stadt Menin (Hanover, 1803), which, next to his paper Die Ursachen des Glücks der Franzosen im Revolutionskrieg, is his best-known work. Shortly after this he was promoted major and employed on the staff of the Hanoverian contingent.

In 1795, after the peace of Basel, he returned to Hanover. He was by now so well known to the armies of the various allied states that from several of them he received invitations to transfer his services. This in the end led to his engaging himself to the king of Prussia, who gave him a patent of nobility, the rank of lieutenant-colonel and a pay more than twice as large as that he had received in Hanover (1801). He was employed, almost as a matter of course, in important instructional work at the War Academy of Berlin, he had Clausewitz (q.v.) as one of his pupils, and he was the founder of the Berlin Military Society. In the mobilizations and precautionary measures that marked the years 1804 and 1805, and in the war of 1806 that was the natural consequence, Scharnhorst was chief of the general staff (lieutenant-quartermaster) of the duke of Brunswick, received a slight wound at Auerstädt and distinguished himself by his stern resolution during the retreat of the Prussian army. He attached himself to Blücher in the last stages of the disastrous campaign, was taken prisoner with him at the capitulation of Ratkau, and, being shortly exchanged, bore a prominent and almost decisive part in the leading of L'Estocq's Prussian corps which served with the Russians. For his services at Eylau, he received the order pour le mérite.

It was now evident that Scharnhorst was more than a brilliant staff officer. Educated in the traditions of the Seven Years' War, he had by degrees, as his experience widened, divested his mind of antiquated forms of war, and it had been borne in upon him that a “national” army and a policy of fighting decisive battles alone responded to the political and strategical situation created by the French Revolution. The steps by which he converted the professional long-service army of Prussia, wrecked at Jena, into the national army as we know it to-day, based on universal service, were slow and laboured. He was promoted major-general a few days after the peace of Tilsit, and placed as the head of a reform commission, to which were appointed the best of the younger officers such as Gneisenau, Grolman and Boyen. Stein himself became a member of the commission and secured Scharnhorst free access to the king by causing him to be appointed aide-de-camp-general. But Napoleon's suspicions were quickly aroused, and the king had repeatedly to suspend or to cancel the reforms recommended. In 1809 the war between France and Austria roused premature hopes in the patriots' party, which the conqueror did not fail to note. By direct application to Napoleon, Scharnhorst evaded the decree of the 26th of September 1810, whereby all foreigners were to leave the Prussian service forthwith, but when in 1811-1812 Prussia was forced into an alliance with France against Russia and despatched an auxiliary army to serve under Napoleon's orders, Scharnhorst left Berlin on unlimited leave of absence. In retirement he wrote and published a work on firearms, Über die Wirkung des Feuergewehrs (1813). But the retreat from Moscow at last sounded the call to arms for the new national army of Prussia. Scharnhorst was recalled to the king's headquarters, and after refusing a higher post was made chief of staff to Blucher, in whose vigour, energy and influence with the young soldiers he had complete confidence. The first battle Lützen or Gross-Görschen was a defeat, but a very different defeat from those which Napoleon had hitherto been accustomed to inflict. In it Scharnhorst received a wound in the foot, not in itself grave, but soon made mortal by the fatigues of the retreat to Dresden, and he succumbed to it on the 8th of June at Prague, whither he had been sent to negotiate with Schwarzenberg and Radetzky for the armed intervention of Austria. Shortly before his death he had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general. Frederick William III. erected a statue in memory of him, by Rauch, in Berlin.

See C. von Clausewitz, Über das Leben und den Charakter des General v. Scharnhorst H. v. Boyen, Beiträge zur Kenntnis des General v. Scharnhorst lives by Schweder (Berlin, 1865), Klippel (Leipzig, 1869) M. Lehmann (Leipzig, 1886-1888, an important work in two volumes) also Max Jähns, Gesch. der Kriegswissenschaften, iii. 2154 Weise, Scharnhorst und die Durchführung der allgemeinen Wehrpflicht (1892) A. von Holleben, Der Frühjahrsfeldzug, 1813 (1905) and F. N. Maude, The Leipzig Campaign (1908).


Contents

Born at Bordenau (now a part of Neustadt am Rübenberge, Lower Saxony) near Hanover, into a small landowner's family, [1] Scharnhorst succeeded in educating himself and in securing admission to the military academy of William, Count of Schaumburg-Lippe, at the Wilhelmstein fortress. In 1778 he received a commission into the Hanoverian service. He employed the intervals of regimental duty in further self-education and literary work. In 1783 he transferred to the artillery and received an appointment to the new artillery school in Hanover. He had already founded a military journal which, under a series of names, endured until 1805, and in 1788 he designed, and in part published, a Handbook for Officers in the Applied Sections of Military Science (Handbuch für Offiziere in den anwendbaren Teilen der Kriegswissenschaften). He also published in 1792 his Military Handbook for Use in the Field (Militärisches Taschenbuch für den Gebrauch im Felde).

The income he derived from his writings provided Scharnhorst's chief means of support, for he still held the rank of lieutenant, and though the farm of Bordenau produced a small sum annually, he had a wife, Clara Schmalz (a sister of Theodor Schmalz, the first director of Berlin University) and family to maintain. His first military campaign took place in 1793 in the Netherlands, in which he served with distinction under the Duke of York. In 1794 he took part in the defence of Menen and commemorated the escape of the garrison in his Defence of the Town of Menen (Verteidigung der Stadt Menin, Hanover, 1803), which, apart from his paper on "The Origins of the Good Fortune of the French in the Revolutionary War" (Die Ursachen des Glücks der Franzosen im Revolutionskrieg) remains his best-known work. Shortly thereafter he received promotion to the rank of major and joined the staff of the Hanoverian contingent.

After the Peace of Basel (5 March 1795) Scharnhorst returned to Hanover. He had by now become so well known to the armies of the various allied states that he received invitations from several of them to transfer his services. This in the end led to his engaging himself to King Frederick William III of Prussia, who gave him a patent of nobility, the rank of lieutenant-colonel and more than twice the pay that he had received in Hanover (1801). The Prussian Military Academy employed him, almost as a matter of course, in important instructional work (Clausewitz was one of his students) and he founded the Berlin Military Society. In the mobilizations and precautionary measures that marked the years 1804 and 1805, and in the war of 1806 that ensued, Scharnhorst served as chief of the general staff (lieutenant-quartermaster) of the Duke of Brunswick, received a slight wound at Auerstedt (14 October 1806) and distinguished himself by his stern resolution during the retreat of the Prussian army. He attached himself to Blücher in the last stages of the disastrous campaign, went into captivity with him at the capitulation of Ratekau (7 November 1806), and, quickly exchanged, had a prominent and almost decisive part in leading L'Estocq's Prussian corps, which served with the Russians. For his services at Eylau (February 1807) he received the highest Prussian military order Pour le Mérite.

It was apparent that Scharnhorst's skills exceeded those of a merely brilliant staff officer. Educated in the traditions of the Seven Years' War, he had by degrees, as his experience widened, divested his mind of antiquated forms of war, and realised that only a "national" army and a policy of fighting decisive battles could give an adequate response to the political and strategic situation brought about by the French Revolution. He was promoted to major-general a few days after the Peace of Tilsit (July 1807), and became the head of a reform commission that included the best of the younger officers, such as Gneisenau, Grolman, and Boyen. Stein himself became a member of the commission and secured Scharnhorst free access to King Frederick William III by securing his appointment as aide-de-camp-general. But Napoleon quickly became suspicious, and Frederick William repeatedly had to suspend or cancel the reforms recommended.

By slow and labored steps, Scharnhorst converted the professional long-service army of Prussia, wrecked at Jena (1806), into a national army based on universal service. Universal service was not secured until his death, but he laid down the principles and prepared the way for its adoption. Enrollments of foreigners were abolished, corporal punishments were limited to flagrant cases of insubordination, promotion for merit was established, and the military administration organized and simplified. The organization of the Landwehr (army reserves) was begun.

In 1809, the war between France and Austria roused premature hopes in the patriots' party, which the conqueror did not fail to note. By direct application to Napoleon, Scharnhorst evaded the decree of 26 September 1810, which required all foreigners to leave the Prussian service forthwith, but when in 1811–1812 France forced Prussia into an alliance against Russia and Prussia despatched an auxiliary army to serve under Napoleon's orders, Scharnhorst left Berlin on unlimited leave of absence. In retirement he wrote and published a work on firearms, Über die Wirkung des Feuergewehrs (1813). But the retreat from Moscow (1812) at last sounded the call to arms for the new national army of Prussia.

Scharnhorst, recalled to the king's headquarters, refused a higher post but became chief of staff to Blücher, in whose vigour, energy, and influence with the young soldiers he had complete confidence. Russian Prince Wittgenstein was so impressed by Scharnhorst that he asked to borrow him temporarily as his chief of staff, and Blücher agreed. In the first battle, Lützen or Gross-Görschen (2 May 1813), Prussia suffered defeat, but a very different defeat from those Napoleon had hitherto customarily inflicted. The French suffered significant casualties and, due in part to a severe shortage of cavalry, failed to follow up, rendering it an incomplete triumph. In this battle, Scharnhorst received a wound in the foot, not in itself grave, but soon made mortal by the fatigues of the retreat to Dresden, and he succumbed to it on 28 June 1813 at Prague, where he had travelled to negotiate with Schwarzenberg and Radetzky for the armed intervention of Austria. Shortly before his death he had received promotion to the rank of lieutenant-general. Frederick William III erected a statue in his memory, by Christian Daniel Rauch, in Berlin. Scharnhorst was buried at the Invalidenfriedhof Cemetery in Berlin.

Scharnhorst became the namesake for several objects, places and groups:

    , a 1906 German armored cruiser during World War I. , a 1936 German battleship during World War II and lead ship of the Scharnhorst class, which also included the Gneisenau. , a 1945 German infantry division and one of the last new Wehrmacht formations of World War II. , highest military order of the former East GermanNational People's Army (NVA). , a 1943 British sloop, initially known as HMS Mermaid, transferred to West Germany in 1959.
  • Many streets in German cities, including Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Cologne, among others.

General Hans von Seeckt has been compared to Scharnhorst, mainly for his part in preparing the German Army of the Weimar Republic, which was severely limited by the Treaty of Versailles, for its eventual rearming, adapting secret doctrines, and preparing a General Staff. He has been credited with their unparalleled success in the campaigns of 1939-1940. After the rise of the Nazis in Germany, Field Marshal von Mackensen compared von Seeckt to Scharnhorst, saying "The old fire burnt still, and the Allied Control had not destroyed any of the lasting elements of German strength." Winston Churchill also subscribed to this theory, believing von Seeckt was vital in the return of Germany to its place in the military world as rapidly as it had. [2]


Biography [ edit | edit source ]

Born at Bordenau (now a part of Neustadt am Rübenberge, Lower Saxony) near Hanover, into a farmer's family, he succeeded in educating himself and in securing admission to the military academy of William, Count of Schaumburg-Lippe at the fortress Wilhelmstein. In 1778 he received a commission in the Hanoverian service. He employed the intervals of regimental duty in further self-education and literary work. In 1783 he transferred to the artillery and received an appointment to the new artillery school in Hanover. He had already founded a military journal that, under various names, endured until 1805, and in 1788 he designed, and in part published, a Handbuch für Offiziere in den anwendbaren Teilen der Kriegswissenschaften ("Handbook for Officers in the Applied Sections of Military Science"). He also published in 1792 his Militärisches Taschenbuch für den Gebrauch im Felde ("Military Handbook for Use in the Field").

The grave at the Invalidenfriedhof in Berlin

The income he derived from his writings provided his chief means of support, for he still held the rank of lieutenant, and though the farm of Bordenau produced a small sum annually, he had a wife (Clara Schmalz, sister of Theodor Schmalz, first director of Berlin University) and family to maintain. His first campaign took place in 1793 in the Netherlands, in which he served under the Duke of York with distinction. In 1794 he took part in the defence of Menin and commemorated the escape of the garrison in his Verteidigung der Stadt Menin ("Defence of the Town of Menin") (Hanover, 1803), which, besides his paper Die Ursachen des Glücks der Franzosen im Revolutionskrieg ("The Origins of the Good Fortune of the French in the Revolutionary War"), remains his best-known work. Shortly thereafter he received promotion to the rank of major and joined the staff of the Hanoverian contingent.

After the Peace of Basel (5 March 1795) Scharnhorst returned to Hanover. He had by now become so well known to the armies of the various allied states that he received invitations from several of them to transfer his services. This in the end led to his engaging himself to King Frederick William III of Prussia, who gave him a patent of nobility, the rank of lieutenant-colonel and more than twice the pay that he had received in Hanover (1801). The War Academy of Berlin employed him, almost as a matter of course, in important instructional work (Clausewitz was one of his students) and he founded the Berlin Military Society. In the mobilizations and precautionary measures that marked the years 1804 and 1805, and in the war of 1806 that ensued, Scharnhorst served as chief of the general staff (lieutenant-quartermaster) of the Duke of Brunswick, received a slight wound at Auerstedt (14 October 1806) and distinguished himself by his stern resolution during the retreat of the Prussian army. He attached himself to Blücher in the last stages of the disastrous campaign, went into captivity with him at the capitulation of Ratekau (7 November 1806), and, quickly exchanged, had a prominent and almost decisive part in leading L'Estocq's Prussian corps, which served with the Russians. For his services at Eylau (February 1807), he received the highest Prussian military order Pour le Mérite.

It was apparent that Scharnhorst's skills exceeded those of a merely brilliant staff officer. Educated in the traditions of the Seven Years' War, he had by degrees, as his experience widened, divested his mind of antiquated forms of war, and realised that only a "national" army and a policy of fighting decisive battles could give an adequate response to the political and strategic situation brought about by the French Revolution. He was promoted to major-general a few days after the Peace of Tilsit (July 1807), and became the head of a reform commission that included the best of the younger officers, such as Gneisenau, Grolman and Boyen. Stein himself became a member of the commission and secured Scharnhorst free access to King Frederick William III by securing his appointment as aide-de-camp-general. But Napoleon quickly became suspicious, and Frederick William repeatedly had to suspend or cancel the reforms recommended.

By slow and labored steps, Scharnhorst converted the professional long-service army of Prussia, wrecked at Jena (1806), into a national army based on universal service. Universal service was not secured until his death, but he laid down the principles and prepared the way for its adoption. Enrollments of foreigners were abolished, corporal punishments were limited to flagrant cases of insubordination, promotion for merit was established, and the military administration organized and simplified. The organization of the Landwehr (army reserves) was begun.

Statue of Scharnhorst on the Unter den Linden, Berlin

In 1809, the war between France and Austria roused premature hopes in the patriots' party, which the conqueror did not fail to note. By direct application to Napoleon, Scharnhorst evaded the decree of 26 September 1810, which required all foreigners to leave the Prussian service forthwith, but when in 1811–1812 France forced Prussia into an alliance against Russia and Prussia despatched an auxiliary army to serve under Napoleon's orders, Scharnhorst left Berlin on unlimited leave of absence. In retirement he wrote and published a work on firearms, Über die Wirkung des Feuergewehrs (1813). But the retreat from Moscow (1812) at last sounded the call to arms for the new national army of Prussia.

Scharnhorst, recalled to the king's headquarters, refused a higher post but became Chief of Staff to Blücher, in whose vigour, energy, and influence with the young soldiers he had complete confidence. Russian Prince Wittgenstein was so impressed by Scharnhorst that he asked to borrow him temporarily as his Chief of Staff. Blücher agreed. In the first battle, Lützen or Gross-Görschen (2 May 1813), Prussia suffered defeat, but a very different defeat from those Napoleon had hitherto customarily inflicted. The French failed to follow up, so this defeat was not complete. In this battle, Scharnhorst received a wound in the foot, not in itself grave, but soon made mortal by the fatigues of the retreat to Dresden, and he succumbed to it on 28 June 1813 at Prague, where he had travelled to negotiate with Schwarzenberg and Radetzky for the armed intervention of Austria. Shortly before his death he had received promotion to the rank of lieutenant-general. Frederick William III erected a statue in memory of him, by Christian Daniel Rauch, in Berlin. Scharnhorst was buried at the Invalidenfriedhof Cemetery in Berlin.


SCHARNHORST (Gerhard-Johann-David von), 1755-1813

Born in a Hanoverian farming family, Scharnhorst was an artillery teacher and founded a newspaper which was published until 1805. Once his reputation was established, he let himself be recruited by Prussia in 1801. There he gave talks (Clausewitz was amongst his audience), and he helped the Duke of Brunswick when the latter occupied Hanover in 1805. He was a member of the Duke's Staff in the fatal campaign of 1806. After the defeat, he undertook the military reorganisation of Prussia, with Gneisenau and Boyen. His main innovation was the Krumper system, which enabled the Prussians to bypass the troop limitations imposed by Napoleon. The extent of his work was to be obvious in 1813, but Scharnhorst, who was Blücher's Chief of Staff, was seriously wounded at the battle of Grossgörschen in May, 1813, and died two months later on a diplomatic mission in Prague, attempting to bring the Austrians over to the allied side.

Jean Tulard, in Tulard Jean, (ed.), Dictionnaire Napoléon , Paris: Fayard, 1987, 2nd edition 1999, p. 977, ed./trans. P.H., L.L.


History of the Cemetery

The Invalids’ Cemetery dates back to 1748 when it was laid out as part of the adjacent Invalids’ House – built upon the orders of Frederick II of Prussia for Army officers disabled in military service. It became the final resting place for notable and meritorious officers of the Prussian-German army who had fought in the 1813 -1815 Wars of Liberation. Since the latter half of the 19th century it was considered an honour to be buried there and towards the end of the century even notable civilians and nurses from the Augusta-Hospital, a military hospital founded on the initiative by Queen Augusta in 1868 which was situated opposite the cemetery, were also interred there. One of the most spectacular monuments is that of the tomb of the famous minister of war and army reformer General Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst (1755-1813) and his family which was designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel depicting a slumbering lion and decorated with inscriptions and scenes by Friedrich Tieck illustrating Scharnhorst’s life.

Earliest known illustration of the Invalids’ House. View of the main building, wings and two churches, all surrounded by low outbuildings on each side

The Invalids’ House was closed as a military institution after 1918 and transformed into the Invalids’ House Foundation. Sadly about 3000 graves older than 30 years, for which no more fees had been paid, were levelled over in a large-scale operation after 1925 thus decimating the number of graves by half.

There was mixed feeling about the cemetery during the years of the national socialist dictatorship. On the one hand, the Prussian elite were regarded as reactionary and thus the cemetery faced being built over. On the other hand, plans existed to exhibit the most important tombs in an enormous vaulted “Soldiers Hall”. Not only were some representatives of the Nazi regime buried there – including Reinhard Heydrich, Reichsprotector of Bohemia and Moravia, head of the security police and security force, chief organiser of the mass destruction of the Jews, Fritz Todt, Reich Minister for Weapons and Munitions, some Party members and followers e.g. General Rudolf Schmundt who died from injuries incurred by the attack on Hitler on 20th July 1944 but also personae involved and murdered in the resistance movement such as the last commander of the Invalids’ House, Colonel Wilhelm Staehle.

A plaque commemorates the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Fritz von der Lancken who was executed on 29th September 1944 at the prison Berlin-Plötzensee after the failure of the plot against Hitler. His villa in Potsdam served as a meeting place for those involved in the assassination attempt on Hitler.

During the Nazi regime, Werner von Fritsch, former member of the Army High Command (and second German general to be killed in WWII), air ace Werner Mölders and Luftwaffe General Ernst Udet were also buried there. Mölders died in a plane crash on his way to Udet’s funeral and they were buried opposite each other close to the “Red Baron” Manfred von Richthofen.
Assassinated by members of the extreme right of the Freicorps in 1922during the Weimar Republic, the German-Jewish statesman and Minister of Foreign Affairs Field Marshall Walter von Reichenau was also interred here during the Nazi regime.

At the end of WWII the Invalids’ Cemetery, the second oldest military cemetery in Berlin, was confiscated as a military object by a resolution passed by the Allied Control Council, possibly because it contained memorials to prominent Nazis and to Prussian military history. However, business continued as usual for the time being. On 17th May 1946 the Allied Control Council issued the order to remove all military and national socialist monuments, also on cemeteries, and this resulted in the removal of the grave markers of Heydrich and Todt, although their bodies were not disinterred.

In May 1951 the Invalids’ Cemetery was closed by resolution passed by the city council of East Berlin and all expired graves from before 1925 to be levelled over. Under the pretext of “Reconstruction”, graves no longer maintained, gravestones destroyed in the war and two damaged mausoleums were cleared and flattened in June 1951. Later it was opened to the public albeit for fours hours, four days a week. When the building of Berlin Wall began on 13th August 1961, a further step towards the destruction of the Invalids’ Cemetery was initiated

The sector border ran through the middle of the Spandau Shipping Canal right on the boundary of the cemetery. Entire sections were cleared to allow for the border strip amounting to about a third of the cemetery. Watch towers, floodlights, shooting ranges and facilities for guard dogs were erected with a concrete road built over the graves. The department of “Clearage” of the district Berlin-Mitte registered the demolition of 94 tons of monuments as well as 26, 5 tons of gravestones from graves which had not even expired. Three tons of grave railings were dismantled and removed.

In June 1973 ownership fell to the nearby Government Hospital and garages and a car park were constructed. The so-called fourth Generation of the Wall instigated further destruction from 1972 – 1975. In 1975 graves were razed once more including the tomb of the master builder Carl Rabitz which was fashioned in the form of an Attic Temple. Graves with exclusive rights for permanency or those which had not yet transpired were anonymously relocated. The only reason why the cemetery was not completely destroyed was due to figures such as Gerhard von Scharnhorst and Friedrich Friesen, who died in the Wars of Liberation, whom the GDR sought to monopolize ideologically as the freedom fighters.

Developments since Reunification

Despite the devastation caused during the GDR, at least 200 tombs and gravestones still exist owing to the efforts of the East German Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments. These graves proffer a virtually complete example of Berlin sepulchral culture of the past 200 years. In addition to early classical attestations, one finds examples of Art Nouveau and New Objectivity. Having recognized this, the Invalids’ Cemetery was bestowed monument protection under the laws of the Preservation of Sites of Historic Interest issued by the Berlin Monument Authority as early as 1990 following the Fall of the Wall.

In 1992 a group of active voluntary monument curators founded the Invalids’ Cemetery Association “Förderverein Invalidenfriedhof e. V.” and accompany and support work carried out by municipal authorities.

Of special interest was the provisional protective cover over the tomb of General von Scharnhorst erected by the Berlin Monument Authority in 1990. Further conservational measures were the restoration of the indispensable and defining elements of the Invalids’ Cemetery. Thus the Park and Garden Conservation Office replanted the main avenue with linden trees at the end of 1991. The following year the rather distinctive tomb of the first Commander of the Invalids’ House, Gustav Friedrich von Kessel, which lies prominently at the centre of the intersection of the main avenue, was restored.

Also worthy of mention is the restoration of numerous graves of important, for instance, of the generals von Boyen, von Scharnhorst and von Winterfeldt. Between 1997 and 2001, the Foundation German Class Lottery approved considerable funds for the cemetery resulting in the restoration of more graves. This included special restoration work on excavated gravestones.

The completion of the Lapidarium in the services yard was outstanding as well as the complete restoration of the historical wall along the Spandau Shipping Canal which once marked the border to West Berlin. This was financed with funds from the Federal Government Commission for Cultural Affairs and the Media which additionally financed numerous projects in the cemetery in the following years. Particularly precious original stones are stored in the Lapidarium. The above measures were completed in time for the 250th anniversary of the Invalids’ Cemetery in November 1998.

Institutional provider from 1991 to 1995 was the Berlin Office for the Preservation of Historic Gardens and the Berlin Monument Authority respectively. Since 1995 the cemetery has been owned and maintained by the Berlin-Mitte Office for Nature Conservation and Parks which also participates in restoration measures taken. However, without the immense dedication, commitment and support by the Invalids’ Cemetery Association, numerous Family Associations and individual persons, all restoration of the cemetery undertaken since Reunification would not have been possible.


Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst (1755-1813)

Der General und Militärreformer Gerhard Johann David (seit 1802) von Scharnhorst (1755�) stand zunächst in hannöverschen, seit 1801 dann in preußischen Diensten. Friedrich Wilhelm III (1770�) ernannte ihn 1807 zum Vorsitzenden der Militär-Reorganisationskommission. Als solcher war er hauptverantwortlich für die preußischen Militärreformen (Abschaffung der Prügelstrafe, 1808 Einführung der allgemeinen Wehrpflicht, 1814).

Friedrich Bury (1763�), Gerhard David von Scharnhorst (1755�), schwarz-weiß Reproduktion eines Ölgemäldes, um 1810 Bildquelle: Schulze, Friedrich (Hg.): Die Franzosenzeit in deutschen Landen 1806�: In Wort und Bild der Mitlebenden, Leipzig 1908, vol. 1: 1806�.


SCHARNHOST, Gerhard-Johann-David von, général (1755-1813)

Gerhard von Scharnhorst par Friedrich Bury

Né dans une famille de fermiers du Hanovre, il fut instructeur d'artillerie et fonda un journal qui parut jusqu'en 1805. Sa réputation établie, il se laissa séduire par la Prusse en 1801. Il y fit des conférences (Clausewitz fut l'un de ses auditeurs) et assista le duc de Brunswick lorsqu'il occupa le Hanovre en 1805. Il fut chargé de l'état major du même duc dans la fatale campagne de 1806-1807.

Après la défaite, il entreprit une réorganisation militaire de la Prusse, assisté de Gneisenau et Boyen. Son innovation principale fut le système de Krumper , permettant de tourner les limitations en hommes imposées par Napoléon.

En 1813, on put mesurer l'ampleur du travail acompli, mais Scharnhorst, qui servait de chef d'état-major à Blücher, fut grièvement blessé et mourut deux mois après.

Bibliographie :
Fiedler (S.), Scharnhorst , 1963
Höhn (R.), Scharnhorst Vermächtnis , 1972

D'après la notice de Jean Tulard du Dictionnaire Napoléon , dir. Jean Tulard, Éd. Fayard, 1999


Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst

Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst (1755-1813)

Gerhard Johann David Scharnhorst wurde am 12.11.1755 in Bordenau bei Hannover als Sohn des Quartiermeisters Ernst Wilhelm Scharnhorst geboren. Der Vater entstammte einer alten Bordenauer Brinksitzer-Familie. Die Brinksitzer waren Kleinbauernfamilien. Die Mutter Wilhelmine Tegtmeyer war die Tochter eines Gutsbesitzers. Dieses Gut berechtigte zur Teilnahme an der Landschaft. Das Gut, dass Ernst Wilhelm Scharnhorst durch einen Rechtsstreit erbte, gehörte zur Calenberg-Grubenhagenschen Landschaft. Das Gut Bordenau war nur ein kleines Gut, dessen Erträge sehr bescheiden waren, und aus Sicht von Scharnhorsts späteren preußischen Offizieren stellte dieses Landgut eher eine Klitsche dar.

Ab dem Jahre 1773 besuchte der junge Scharnhorst die Militärschule des Grafen Wilhelm von Schaumburg-Lippe (1724-1777) auf dem Wilhelmstein und im Jahre 1778 wurde er in das kurhannoverische Reiterregiment Estorff unter dem Befehl des Generals Emmerich Otto August von Estorff (1722-1796) übernommen. Er wurde zunächst als Fähnrich eingestellt und sein Regiment lag in Northeim bei Göttingen. Im Jahre 1782 wurde Scharnhorst, inzwischen Leutnant der Artillerie, zur Kriegsschule nach Hannover berufen. Diese Berufung erfolgte auf seinen eigenen Wunsch hin. Noch im gleichen Jahr wurde er zu einem der ersten Lehrer an der Artillerieschule in Hannover, Er wurde auch zum leitenden Bibliothekar dieser Militäranstalt bestellt. Im folgenden Jahr unternahm der junge Leutnant Scharnhorst eine militärische Studienreise nach Bayern, Sachsen, Baden Österreich und Preußen.

Später verfasste er auch einige Schriften über das bayerische Militär, dass jedoch in der Beurteilung Scharnhorsts eher schlecht abschnitt. Im Jahre 1792 wurde der Lehrer an der Kriegsschule zum Stabskapitän befördert.

Während des Ersten Koalitionskrieges gegen das revolutionäre Frankreich kämpfte Stabskapitän Scharnhorst an der Spitze einer reitenden Batterie sowohl in Flandern als auch in Holland. Er zeichnete sich insbesondere beim Rückzug aus Hondschoote und bei der Verteidigung Menins besonders aus. Hauptmann von Scharnhorst war hier als Generalstabschef des Generalmajors von Hammerstein eingesetzt. Hammerstein verteidigte mit einem Aufgebot von nur 2.500 Mann Infanterie eine desolate Festung am linken Ufer der Lys gegen 20.000 Mann unter dem Kommando von General Moreau. Nach drei Tagen zog sich das Gros der hannoverschen Streitkräfte zurück. Es blieb nur eine kleine Besatzung um den Rückzug zu verschleiern. Am nächsten Morgen ergaben sich die Verteidiger ehrenvoll. Durch seinen persönlichen Einsatz wurde Scharnhorst auf Betreiben des befehlshabenden Generals von Hammerstein (1735-1811) zum Major befördert.

Im Jahre 1796, für die Hannoversche Armee war der Erste Koalitionskrieg gegen das revolutionäre Frankreich inzwischen beendet gab er ab 1796 ein Journal unter dem Titel » Neues Militärisches Journal « heraus. Er verarbeitete in dieser Zeitschrift seine Erfahrungen aus den Kriegsjahren 1793 bis 1795. Zugleich entwickelte sich hier auch der Militärreformer Scharnhorst, der seinen Vorgesetzten zahlreiche Denkschriften zu – aus seiner Sicht – notwenigen Veränderungen der Armee des Kurfürstentums Hannover.

Doch die Worte des noch jungen Militärreformers stießen auf taube Ohren im Königreich Hannover so entschloss er sich im Jahre 1801 den Dienst zu quittierten. Nun stellte sich der Artillerieoffizier in den Dienst des Nachbarn Preußen. Zunächst wurde er zum Direktor der »Lehranstalt für junge Infanterie- und Kavallerieoffiziere« berufen. Sein dortiger Unterricht wirkte sich auf seine Schüler entsprechend aus. So befanden sich viele der späteren preußischen Militärreformer in jener Zeit unter seinen Schülern. Hier seien nur Carl von Clausewitz, Hermann von Boyen, Karl Wilhelm Georg von Grolman oder auch Karl von Müffling exemplarisch aufgelistet.

Im Jahre 1802 gehörte er zu den Stiftern der » Militärischen Gesellschaft «, dessen Leitung der preußische General Ernst von Rüchel übernahm. Noch heute gilt diese Vereinigung als Keimzelle der preußischen Heeresreform nach 1806. Im Jahre 1804 wurde ihm, inzwischen in den Adelsstand erhoben, der Dienstgrad eines Obersten verliehen.

Im Jahre 1806 übernahm Scharnhorst die Aufgaben eines Stabschefs in der Armee des Herzogs von Braunschweig. Zuvor diente er in gleicher Stellung bei General von Rüchel.

Auch in jenen Jahren schrieb Oberst von Scharnhorst zahlreiche Denkschriften über anstehende Reformen des preußischen Militärs oder die Einführung einer preußischen Nationalmiliz oder die Mobilmachung.

Er kämpfte am 14.10.1806 bei Auerstedt erfolgreich an der Spitze seiner Truppen. Doch durch eine Verwundung an der rechten Seite entschloss er sich, den Rückzug des Generals der Kavallerie Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher nach Lübeck zu unterstützen. An seine Tochter Julie schrieb der Oberst am 22.11.1806 aus Rostock:

Wenn Schmit bei mir im wagen schläft, so habe ich die traurige Freiheit, mich ganz dem Ausbruch des Schmerzes zu überlassen. Mich trifft es doppelt, da ich all die Fehler, die Dummheit, die Feigheit kenne, die uns in die jetzige Lage gebracht haben. Der einzige Trost, der innere, ist, dass ich Vorschläge von Anfang an getan habe, wie man unserm Unglück zuvorkommen konnte, die Einrichtung einer Nationalmiliz, der allgemeinen Bewaffnung des Landes im Vorigen Sommer, die Verstärkung der Regimenter, eine eigene politische Verbindung. Ebenso habe ich in den Operationen immer den richtigen Gesichtspunkt gezeigt, in der Schlacht selbst habe ich den Teil, bei dem ich war, zum Siege geführt kurz ich habe für meine Person tausend mal mehr getan, als ich zu tun brauchte.

Scharnhorst geriet, wie auch sein Freund Blücher, nach der Kapitulation von Ratkau am 06.11.1806 in französische Gefangenschaft und wurde in Hamburg interniert. Nach kurzer Gefangenschaft wurden beide ausgetauscht und Scharnhorst nahm als Generalquartiermeister im Korps des Generals L’Estocq an der Schlacht von Preußisch-Eylau teil. König Friedrich Wilhelm zeichnete den Offizier wegen seines geschickten und tapferen Einsatzes mit dem Orden Pour le Merite aus.

Nach dem Frieden von Tilsit berief der König den engagierten Reformer und tapferen Soldaten zum Vorsitzendenden der Militär-Reorganisationskommission. Neben Scharnhorst gehörten diesem Gremium Gneisenau, Grolman, Boyen und auch Clausewitz an. In dieser Stellung konnte er das preußische Heer vollkommen neu organisieren. So führte er Qualifikationsvoraussetzungen für Offiziere ein auch schuf er das bisherige Werbesystem in der preußischen Armee ab. Vielmehr konzentrierte man sich nun auf eine rasche Ausbildung der Rekruten. So konnte man eine starke Reserve für den Kriegsfall schaffen. Es gelang ihn auch, dass preußische Söldnerherr in ein richtiges Volksheer zu verwandeln. Ihm gelang es auch die Grundlagen für eine preußische Landwehr zu schaffen.

Auf französischen Druck musste Scharnhorst, der preußischer Kriegsminister war, von diesem Amt zurücktreten. Er blieb jedoch als Chef des Generalstabes im Amt und nutzte die neu gewonnene Freiheit zum Aufbau eines preußischen Ingenieurskorps.

Anders als seine Freunde Grolman oder Clausewitz trat er nach dem französisch-russischen Bündnis von 1812 nicht in russische Kriegsdienste sondern bereitete Anfang 1813 die preußische Erhebung gegen Napoleon vor. So setzte sich der Chef des Generalstabes für die Unterzeichnung der Konvention von Kalisch vom 28.02.1813 zwischen Preußen und Russland ein, die beide Staaten in einem Militärbündnis zusammenführte und eine der Grundlagen zu den preußischen Freiheitskriegen bildete.

Scharnhorst wurde bei Ausbruch des Krieges von 1813 als Generalquartiermeister der Schlesischen Armee unter dem Befehle Blüchers zugeteilt. Beide Männer setzten sich – vergeblich – für eine energische Kriegsführung gegen Frankreich ein.

Gerhard von Scharnhorst erlitt während der Schlacht von Großgörschen am 02.05.1813 am linken Knie eine Schussverletzung an deren Folgen er wenige Wochen später in Prag sterben sollte. Noch am Tage der Schlacht verlieh der König dem Generalquartiermeister das Eiserne Kreuz.

Auf seiner Reise nach Wien, wie schon erwähnt, verstarb der Offizier und Militärreformer an den Folgen einer schlecht versorgten Wunde. Er beabsichtigte in Wien mit Österreich Verhandlungen zum Beitritt des österreichischen Kaisers zur antinapoleonischen Koalition zwischen Preußen und Russland zu bewegen.

Gerhard von Scharnhorst trat im Jahre 1779 den Freimaurern bei und wurde in die Loge » Zum Goldenen Zirkel « in Göttingen aufgenommen.

Seine letzte Ruhestätte fand der preußische Militärreformer auf den Invalidenfriedhof in Berlin. Sein Grab wird durch ein von Schinkel geschaffenes Monument mit einem von Christian Friedrich Tieck geschaffenen Relief bedeckt. Im Jahre 1822 entschloss sich König Friedrich Wilhelm III. den großen Soldaten des Befreiungskrieges durch ein von Rauch gestalteten Monuments zu gedenken. Auch vor seinem Geburtshaus in Bordenau finde sich ein Denkmal zu seinen Ehren. Auch in der von König Ludwig von Bayern geschaffene Walhalla findet sich eine Büste des Soldaten.

Neben diesen Denkmälern wurde Scharnhorst auch zu allen Zeiten und politischen Systemen gewürdigt. In Dortmund wurde ein ganzer Stadtteil nach ihm benannt, zahlreiche Schiffe der kaiserlichen und Reichsmarine wurden nach ihm benannt. Die Deutsche Demokratische Republik stiftete den nach ihm benannten Scharnhorst-Orden.

Auch noch heute ist der preußische Militärreformer in der Traditionspflege der Bundeswehr nicht wegzudenken. So wurde der Scharnhorstpreis als Auszeichnung für die Jahrgangsbesten der Offiziersanwärterlehrgänge des Deutschen Heeres nach ihm benannt. Die Bundeswehr wurde ganz bewusst am Geburtstage von Gerhard von Scharnhorst gelegt um an die preußischen Soldatentugenden anzuknüpfen. Mehrere Kasernen der Bundeswehr tragen seinen Namen. Auch erinnern zahlreiche Straßennamen in deutschen Städten an ihn.


Gerhard Johann David Von Scharnhorst - Encyclopedia

GERHARD JOHANN DAVID VON SCHARNHORST (1755-1813), Prussian general, was born at Bordenau near Hanover, of a farmer stock, on the 12th of November 1755. He succeeded in educating himself and in securing admission to the military academy of Wilhelmstein, and in 1778 received a commission in the Hanoverian service. He employed the intervals of regimental duty in further self-education and literary work. In 1783 he was transferred to the artillery and appointed to the new artillery school in Hanover. He had already founded a military journal which under various names endured till 1805, and in 1788 he designed, and in part published, a Handbuch fiir Offiziers in den anwendbaren Theilen der Kriegswissenschaften. He also published in 17 9 2 his Militiirische Taschenbuch fib' den Gebrauch im Felde. The income he derived from his writings was his chief means of support, for he was still a lieutenant, and though the farm of Bordenau produced a small sum annually he had a wife (Clara Schmalz, sister of Theodor Schmalz, first director of Berlin University) and family to maintain. His first campaign was that of 1793 in the Netherlands, in which he served under the duke of York with distinction. In 1794 he took part in the defence of Menin and commemorated the escape of the garrison in his Vertheidigung der Stadt Menin (Hanover, 1803),which, next to his paper Die Ursachen des Gliicks der Franzosen im Revolutionskrieg, is his best-known work. Shortly after this he was promoted major and employed on the staff of the Hanoverian contingent.

In 1795, after the peace of Basel, he returned to Hanover. He was by now so well known to the armies of the various allied states that from several of them he received invitations to transfer his services. This in the end led to his engaging himself to the king of Prussia, who gave him a patent of nobility, the rank of lieutenant-colonel and a pay more than twice as large as that he had received in Hanover (1801). He was employed, almost as a matter of course, in important instructional work at the War Academy of Berlin, he had Clausewitz (q.v.) as one of his pupils, and he was the founder of the Berlin Military Society. In the mobilizations and precautionary measures that marked the years 1804 and 1805, and in the war of 1806 that was the natural consequence, Scharnhorst was chief of the general staff (lieutenant-quartermaster) of the duke of Brunswick, received a slight wound at Auerstadt and distinguished himself by his stern resolution during the retreat of the Prussian army. He attached himself to Blucher in the last stages of the disastrous campaign, was taken prisoner with him at the capitulation of Ratkau, and, being shortly exchanged, bore a prominent and almost decisive part in the leading of L'Estocq's Prussian corps which served with the Russians. For his services at Eylau, he received the order pour le merite. It was now evident that Scharnhorst was more than a brilliant staff officer. Educated in the traditions of the Seven Years' War, he had by degrees, as his experience widened, divested his mind of antiquated forms of war, and it had been borne in upon him that a "national" army and a policy of fighting decisive battles alone responded to the political and strategical situation created by the French Revolution. The steps by which he converted the professional long-service army of Prussia, wrecked at Jena, into the national army as we know it to-day, based on universal service, were slow and laboured. He was promoted major-general a few days after the peace of Tilsit, and placed as the head of a reform commission, to which were appointed the best of the younger officers such as Gneisenau, Grolman and Boyen. Stein himself became a member of the commission and secured Scharnhorst free access to the king by causing him to be appointed aide-de-camp-general. But Napoleon's suspicions were quickly aroused, and the king had repeatedly to suspend or to cancel the reforms recommended. In 80g the war between France and Austria roused premature hopes in the patriots' party, which the conqueror did not fail to note. By direct application to Napoleon, Scharnhorst evaded the decree of the 26th of September 1810, whereby all foreigners were to leave the Prussian service forthwith, but when in 1811-1812 Prussia was forced into an alliance with France against Russia and despatched an auxiliary army to serve under Napoleon's orders, Scharnhorst left Berlin on unlimited leave of absence. In retirement he wrote and published a work on firearms, Ober die Wirkung des Feuergewehrs (1813). But the retreat from Moscow at last sounded the call to arms for the new national army of Prussia. Scharnhorst was recalled to the king's headquarters, and after refusing a higher post was made chief of staff to Blucher, in whose vigour, energy and influence with the young soldiers he had complete confidence. The first battle Liitzen or GrossG6rschen was a defeat, but a very different defeat from those which Napoleon had hitherto been accustomed to inflict. In it Scharnhorst received a wound in the foot, not in itself grave, but soon made mortal by the fatigues of the retreat to Dresden, and he succumbed to it on the 8th of June at Prague, whither he had been sent to negotiate with Schwarzenberg and Radetzky for the armed intervention of Austria. Shortly before his death he had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general. Frederick William III. e+s cted a statue in memory of him, by Rauch, in Berlin.

See C. von Clausewitz, Ober das Leben and den Charakter des General v. Scharnhorst H. v. Boyen, Beitrage zur Kenntnis des General v. Scharnhorst lives by Schweder (Berlin, 1865), Klippel (Leipzig, 1869) M. Lehmann (Leipzig, 1886-1888, an important work in two volumes) also Max Jahns, Gesch. der Kriegswissenschaften, iii. 2154 Weise, Scharnhorst and die Durchfiihrung der allgemeinen Wehrpflicht (1892) A. von Holleben, Der Fruhjahrsfeldzug, 1813 (1905) and F. N. Maude, The Leipzig Campaign (1908).


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