Helmuth von Moltke is the prototype model for modern operational leadership. He provides a superb example in both his writings and in his actual application of the military arts. To understand Moltke’s contribution, it is necessary to first understand the times in which he practised his art. The Napoleonic era and its aftermath set the stage forMotlke’s role in nineteenth-century warfare. The events of the Napoleonic era resulted in a series of reforms in Prussia including the development of the General Staff system from which Moltke built an effective military machine.
His mastery of planning, staff development, mobilization, deployment, sustainment, and the Implementation of technology helped to make the Prussian (and later the German) army the master of Europe. He applied his talents, in conjunction with Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, to defeat Denmark in1864, Austria in 1866 and France in 1870-71. Moltke was a student and admirer of Clausewitz but did not follow all his prescriptions at all times.
Moltke was a master of military efficiency and ranks among the great captains of all time. His greatness resulted primarily from superior management skills which he applied to military strategy and operations in a manner never surpassed before or since.