Field Marshal Helmuth Graf von Moltke is best known for his direction of the German/Prussian campaigns against Austria in 1866 in France in 1870-71, yet it was during his service as Chief of the General Staff that he laid the foundation for the German way of war which would continue through 1945.
Professor Daniel Hughes of the Air War College, in addition to editing and assisting with the translation of the selection of Moltke’s thoughts and theories on the art of war, has written an insightful commentary on “Moltke the Elder” that places him in the broader context of Prussian and military thought. Hughes notes that Moltke’s writings helped shape the practical application of influential Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz’s sometimes abstract philosophical ideas.
The book also contains an extensive bibliographic and historiographic commentary that includes references to Moltke and his theories in the current literature in Germany, England, and United States – a valuable aid to anyone doing research on the subject.
This volume, in addition to its appeal to scholars, serves as an introduction to the theory of the German army, as well as a summary of Moltke’s enduring theoretical legacy.
Daniel J. Hughes is a professor of military history at the air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. He has also taught at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and several civilian colleges and universities. He earned his doctorate in history at the University of North Carolina and is the author of The King’s Finest (Praeger, 1987), a study of Prussian generals in the pre-World War I era.