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Friedrich Adolf Julius von Bernhardi
Born (1849-11-22)22 November 1849
Died 12 November 1930(1930-11-12) (aged 80)
Place of birth St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
Place of death Hirschberg-Kunnersdorf, Lower Silesia, Weimar Republic
Allegiance Kingdom of Prussia Prussia
Weimar Republic Weimar Republic
Service/branch Prussian Army
Rank General
Battles/wars Franco-Prussian War
World War I
Awards Pour le Mérite

Friedrich Adolf Julius von Bernhardi (November 22, 1849 – December 11, 1930) was a Prussian general and military historian. He was one of the best-selling authors prior to World War I. A militarist, he is perhaps best known for his bellicose book Deutschland und der Nächste Krieg (Germany and the Next War), printed in 1911. He advocated a policy of ruthless aggression and complete disregard of treaties and regarded war as a "divine business".

Biography[edit | edit source]

Bernhardi was born in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire. His family immigrated to Schöpstal, Silesia in 1851. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), Bernhardi was a cavalry lieutenant in the 14th Hussars[1] of the Prussian Army, and at the end of that conflict had the honor of being the first German to ride through the Arc de Triomphe when the Germans entered Paris.

From 1891 to 1894, he was German military attaché at Bern and was subsequently head of the military history department of the Grand General Staff in Berlin. He was appointed general in command of the VII Army Corps at Münster in Westphalia in 1907, but retired two years later and busied himself as a military writer. Widespread attention was excited by the memoirs of his father, the diplomatist and historian Theodor von Bernhardi, which he published, and still more by his book Germany and the Next War.[1] In Germany and the Next War, Bernhardi stated that war "is a biological necessity," and that it was in accordance with "the natural law, upon which all the laws of Nature rest, the law of the struggle for existence."

Bernhardi served during World War I as a general. He fought with success first in the Eastern Front on the Stochod, where he stormed the bridgehead of Tsarecze, and afterwards on the Western Front, in particular at Armentières.[1] He was awarded the Pour le Mérite on 20 August 1916, for his participation in the German defense against the Brusilov Offensive.

Partial bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Videant Consules: Ne Quid Respublica Detrimenti Capiat (1890) (Let the consuls see to it that no harm comes to the republic) (published anonymously)
  • Deutschland und der Nächste Krieg. (1911) (Germany and the Next War)
  • Vom heutigen Kriege. (1912) (On War of Today)
  • Vom Kriege der Zukunft, nach den Erfahrungen des Weltkrieges. (1920) (On War of the Future, in light of the lessons of the World War)

Awards and decorations[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1922). "Bernhardi, Friedrich von". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York. 
  • Campion, Loren Keith. "Behind the modern Drang nach Osten: Baltic émigrés and russophobia in nineteenth-century Germany." Dissertation, Indiana University, 1965.
  • This article incorporates text from The Modern World Encyclopædia: Illustrated (1935); out of UK copyright as of 2005.
  • Tuchman, Barbara W., The Guns of August, 1962.

External links[edit | edit source]

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