Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz

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Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz

Wilhelm Leopold Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz (August 121843April 191916) was a Prussian soldier and military writer; he was born at Bielkenfeld, East Prussia.


Military career

He entered the Prussian infantry in 1861. In 1864 he entered the Berlin Military Academy, but was temporarily withdrawn in 1866 to serve in the Austrian war, in which he was wounded at Trautenau. In 1867 he joined the topographical section of the general staff, and at the beginning of the Franco-German War of 1870-71 was attached to the staff of Prince Frederick Charles. He took part in the battles of Vionville and Gravelotte and in the siege of Metz. After its fall he served under the Red Prince in the campaign of the Loire, including the battles of Orleans and Le Mans.

He was appointed professor at the military school at Potsdam in 1871, promoted captain, and placed in the historical section of the general staff. It was then he wrote Die Operationen der II. Armee bis zur Capitulation von Metz (The Operations of the Second Army until the surrender of Metz) and Die Sieben Tage von Le Mans (The Seven Days of Le Mans), both published in 1873. In 1874 he was appointed to the staff of the 6th division, and while so employed wrote Die Operationen der II. Armee an der Loire (The Operations of the Second Army on the Loire) and Léon Gambetta und seine Armeen (Léon Gambetta and his armies), published in 1875 and 1877 respectively. The latter was translated into French the same year, and is considered by many historians to be his most original contribution to military literature.

The views expressed in the latter work were unpopular with the powers that be and led to his being sent back to regimental duty for a time, but it was not long before he returned to the military history section. In 1878 Goltz was appointed lecturer in military history at the military academy at Berlin, where he remained for five years and attained the rank of major. He published, in 1883, Roßbach und Jena (new and revised edition, Von Rossbach bis Jena und Auerstadt, 1906), Das Volk in Waffen (The Nation in Arms), both of which quickly became military classics, and during his residence in Berlin contributed many articles to the military journals.

In June 1883 his services were lent to Turkey to reorganize the military establishments of the country. He spent twelve years in this work, the result of which appeared in the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, and he was made a pasha and in 1895 a mushir or field-marshal. On his return to Germany in 1896 he became a lieutenant-general and commander of the 5th division, and in 1898, head of the Engineer and Pioneer Corps and inspector-general of fortifications. In 1900 he was made general of infantry and in 1902 commander of the I. army corps. In 1907 he was made inspector-general of the newly created sixth army inspection established at Berlin, and in 1908 was given the rank of colonel-general (Generaloberst). Following the 1911 manœuvres Goltz was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall (Field Marshal), and retired from active service.

At the outbreak of the First World War Goltz was recalled and served as military governor of Belgium for a time before being sent back to Turkey as a military advisor, eventually taking command of the Fifth Army. Goltz died of natural causes while out on campaign, 1916.

Writing career

In addition to the works already named and frequent contributions to military periodical literature, he wrote Kriegfuhrung (1895, later edition Krieg- und Heerfuhrung, 1901; Eng. trans. The Conduct of War); Der lhessalische Krieg (Berlin, 1898); Ein Ausflug nach Macedonien (1894); Anatolische Ausfluge (1896); a map and description of the environs of Constantinople; Von Jena bis Pr. Eylau (1907), a most important historical work, carrying on the story of Rossbach and Jena to the peace of Tilsit, etc.

Partial List of Works

  • Feldzug 1870-71. Die Operationen der II. Armee. Berlin, 1873.
  • Angeline. Stuttgart, 1877.
  • Leon Gambetta und seine Armee. Berlin, 1877.
  • Rossbach und Jena. Studien über die Zustände und das geistige Leben der preußischen Armee während der Uebergangszeit von XVIII. zum XIX. Jahrhundert. Berlin, 1883.
  • Das Volk in Waffen, ein Buch über Heerwesen und Kriegführung unserer Zeit. Berlin, 1883.
  • Ein ausflug nach Macedonien. Berlin, 1894.
  • Kriegführung. Kurze Lehre ihrer wichtigsten Grundsätze und Formen. Berlin, 1895.
  • Anatolische Ausflüge, Reisebilder von Colmar Freiherr v.d. Goltz; mit 37 Bildern und 18 Karten. Berlin, 1896.
  • Krieg- und Heerführung. Berlin, 1901.
  • Von Rossbach bis Jena und Auerstedt; ein beitrag zur geschichte des preussischen heeres. Berlin, 1906.
  • Von Jena bis Pr. Eylau, des alten preussischen heeres schmach und ehrenrettung; eine kriegsgeschichtliche studie von Colmar frhr. v.d. Goltz. Berlin, 1907.
  • Jung-Deutschland; ein beitrag zur frage der jugendpflege. Berlin, 1911.
  • Kriegsgeschichte Deutschlands im neunzehnten jahrhundert. Berlin, 1910-1912.
  • 1813; Blücher und Bonaparte, von Feldmarschall Frhn. v. d. Goltz.. Stuttgart and Berlin, 1913.

See also

Template:German title Freiherr

Template:Livedde:Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz


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