1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Waldersee, Alfred, Count

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WALDERSEE, ALFRED, Count (1832-1904), Prussian general field marshal, came of a soldier family. Entering the Guard Artillery of the Prussian army in 1850, he soon attracted the favourable notice of his official superiors, and he made his first campaign (that of 1866) as aide-de-camp to General of Artillery Prince Charles of Prussia, with whom he was present at Königgratz. In the course of this campaign Count Waldersee was promoted major and placed on the general staff, and after the conclusion of peace he served on the staff of the X. Army Corps (newly formed from the conquered kingdom of Hanover). In January 1870 he became military attache at Paris and aide-de-camp to King William. In the Franco-German War Lieut.-Colonel Count Waldersee, on account of both his admitted military talents and his recent experience of the enemy's army, proved a most useful assistant to the “supreme War-Lord.” He was present at the great battles around Metz, in which he played more than an orderly officer's part, and in the war against the republic he was specially sent to the staff of the grand duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who was operating against Chanzy's army on the Loir. The grand duke was a good soldier, but not a brilliant strategist, and the fortunate outcome of the western campaign was largely due to his adviser. At the end of the war Waldersee received the First Class of the Iron Cross, and was entrusted with the exceedingly delicate and difficult post of German representative at Paris, in which his tact and courtesy were very marked. At the end of 1871 Waldersee took over the command of the 13th Uhlans at Hanover, and two years later he became chief of the staff of the Hanoverian army corps, in which he had served before 1870. In 1881 he became Moltke's principal assistant on the great general staff at Berlin, and for seven years was intimately connected with the great field marshal's work, so that, when Moltke retired in 1888, Waldersee's appointment to succeed him was a foregone conclusion. Three years later the chief of the general staff was sent to command the IX. Corps at Altona, an appointment which was interpreted as indicating that his close and intimate friendship with Bismarck had made him, at this time of the chancellor's dismissal, a persona non grata to the young emperor. In 1898, however, he was appointed inspector-general of the III. “Army Inspection” at Hanover, the order being accompanied by the most eulogistic expressions of the kaiser's goodwill. On the despatch of European troops to quell the Boxer insurrection in China in 1900, it was agreed that Count Waldersee should have the supreme command of the joint forces. The preparations for his departure from Germany caused a good deal of satirical comment on what was known as the “Waldersee Rummel” or “theatricals.” He arrived at the front, however, too late to direct his troops in the fighting before Peking. At the end of the war he returned to Europe. He resumed at Hanover his duties of inspector-general, which he performed almost to his death, which took place on the 5th of March 1904.