The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany during the Machine Age, 1870-1918

By Eric Dorn Brose | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
NO FREDERICK THE GREAT

THE POWERFUL, rain-soaked wind was a rude greeting for the big white ship that bore the German kaiser. All night the storm screeched and howled, bending standards and ripping flags on the Hamburg as it steamed toward Morocco's shore. Superstitious old salts wondered whether anything good would come of this accursed mission.

On the stormy morning of 31 March 1905, a small sailboat ventured out to meet the imperial party. The captain of the Hamburg cut back his engines to allow the skiff to come alongside. The crew lowered a rope ladder for a German passenger dressed in full cavalry uniform. As the angry sea tossed the little craft up and down like a cork, he leaped for the ladder and grabbed on a split second before crashing into the hull. Slowly he muscled his way up, pausing seven or eight times to brace himself for repeated bangings against the white steel of the great ship. Finally the athletic feat was accomplished, and the horseless rider was pulled on board.

Moments later Baron Richard von Kühlmann, German chargé d'affaires in Tangier, was ushered into the emperor's stateroom. The uniform of the Bamberger Uhlans that the young man had donned on this foreboding, wind-swept day was soaked from the plume to the spurs. Squeaking and sloshing, oozing water from every seam, he finally halted at the prescribed distance and saluted.

Kühlmann looked into the face of William II. The waxed, upturned mustache and a martial stare could not hide the soft, dreamy

-112-

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The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany during the Machine Age, 1870-1918
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents *
  • The Kaiser's Army *
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter 1 - Old Soldiers 7
  • Chapter 2 - Queen of the Battlefield 26
  • Chapter 3 - Between Persistence and Change 43
  • Chapter 4 - The Plans of Schlieffen 69
  • Chapter 5 - Past and Present Collide 85
  • Chapter 6 - No Frederick the Great 112
  • Chapter 7 - Toward the Great War 138
  • Chapter 8 - Rolling the Iron Dice 183
  • Chapter 9 - Denouement 226
  • Notes 241
  • Bibliography and Abbreviations 293
  • Index 305
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