Between the years of the Napoleonic era and the American Civil war, industrialized nations experienced an era of rapid technological growth and development. This period of prosperity gave root to a new era of military tactics which greatly differed from the previous methods used in the 1810’s by Napoleon and his European counterparts. The American Civil war provided a look into these new methods of warfare on the battlefield. A number of European nations took part in learning the new aspects of war by sending military observers into the battlefield behind Union and Confederate troops. To assess the overall benefit European nations received from these trips to America, the research question that will be investigated is to what extent did Justus Scheibert’s observations benefit Prussian military tactics in both the Austro-Prussian war and Franco-Prussian war? To answer this question, the investigation will examine the writings of Justus Scheibert’s “A Prussian Observes the American Civil War”, in relation to how they assisted Prussian military tactics/strategies during the wars against Austria and France. This essay will also look into how these observations lead to the rise of German military superiority before the events of World War I. This question is important to study as Prussia (later known as Germany) altered the balance of power in Europe after the Franco-Prussian war in 1871, leading to the various internal and diplomatic problems in Europe which would later set the path for we now know as World War I. The investigation will use a number of documents and journals to depict the events of the wars and battles fought between the years of 1863-1871, along with the support of various secondary sources.
In order to understand why The Prussian military was interested in the American Civil war in the first place, the investigation will first examine the nature of the American Civil war in relationship to new military tactics and strategies.
American Military Strategies
Military strategy witnessed a dramatic change in nature on the battlefields of the American Civil war due to new advances in technology seen after the industrial revolution. Military leaders during the war were also heavily influenced by the strategy of Napoleon from the early 19th century, which helped then create new methods of warfare. However, during the early stages of the war, many of the traditional Napoleonic strategies were used, which proved to be disastrous due to the incorporation of long range breechloader rifles and Minie ball bullets. The use of more modern technology, however, also proved beneficial in the overall campaigns of Union and Confederate forces.
Railways demonstrated to be of such vital use that belligerents fought a number of small scale battles to gain control of the tacks. The main force behind these conflicts for control had to do with gaining the ability to transport troops and supplies throughout the country. According to...