Soldier leadership

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Soldatisches Führertum is a ten-volume reference work with short biographies of Prussian generals . The résumés were written by Major a. D. Kurt von Priesdorff compiled. Due to the loss of the personal files of the Prussian Army Archives in World War II , Priesdorff's transcripts became the most important source for the personal details of the Prussian generals.

Historical development

The first attempts at a systematic description of Prussian generals had already been made by Johann Friedrich Seyfart , who had published a series of Prussian regimental histories in 1767 , with the biographies of all officers of these regiments in the appendix.

Priesdorff was as a lieutenant and battalion - aide in the Grenadier Regiment. "King Frederick William IV" (1 Pommersches) no. 2 of his commander Colonel Georg Bock of Wülfingen commissioned officers a master list to compile his regiment. Through this work - the master list appeared in 1906 - Priesdorff gained access to the personnel files of the Prussian officers in the archives of the Secret War Chancellery, the Prussian War Ministry and the Great General Staff . After retiring from the Prussian military and civil service, Priesdorff began in 1922 as the first and, as it turned out, the last military historian to systematically search through these archives for biographies of the generals. The personnel files of the former Secret War Chancellery were now in the Secret State Archives in Berlin-Dahlem , from where they were transferred to the newly created Army Archives Potsdam under Friedrich von Rabenau in 1936 during the National Socialist era .


From 1937 to 1942, the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt Hamburg published 10 of the 15 volumes planned by Priesdorff in the Soldatisches Führertum series . The manuscripts for volumes 11 and 12 were already finished and were sent by the Hamburg publishing house to the printing plant in Leipzig during the Second World War , but were destroyed there by a bomb attack. Only a few proofs were saved from both volumes that Priesdorff had kept at home, as well as the manuscripts for volumes 13 to 15.

Since the air raid on Potsdam in April 1945 completely destroyed the personnel files in the Army Archives, Priesdorff's transcripts became the most important source for the personal details of the Prussian generals.

The Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt published another volume (without a year, 231 pages), directories for volumes 1 to 8, edited by Friedrich Granier. It contains a brief index of all the generals listed in these volumes and a name index of all the other persons mentioned.


Soon after the Second World War, the surviving manuscripts came to the Secret State Archives in Berlin-Dahlem. The Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv wanted to finally make these approximately 1,300 biographies of Prussian generals from 1908 to 1918 accessible to the public. Contacts were established with a publishing house and a new editor was found in the person of the military writer Hanns Möller-Witten , the author of the history of the Knights of the Order pour le mérite (1935) and many short biographies. But when he died in 1966, the publication of the new series Soldatisches Führertum , as the sequel was to be called, finally failed.

In 1980, the Scientific Library of the Military History Institute of the GDR in Potsdam published a name register for the Priesdorff volumes.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Information from Clio-online on the transmission history of the relevant files