The second of the three major wars that led to the creation of Germany as a single state. It was provoked by rivalry between Prussia and the residual Habsburg power over supremacy in Germany, the Habsburgs claiming authority based on tradition dating from the days of the Holy Roman Empire, and Prussia based on its claim to be The Champion of German Nationalism. As with the Franco-Prussian War, there are claims that Otto von Bismarck the Chancellor of Prussia deliberately provoked it, but that is unclear. However, it is clear that the authorities in Prussia, notably Bismarck and von Moltke (the German chief of staff), were expecting it for a long time.
The Prussian army under von Moltke was able to mobilize faster then the Austrians due to the skillful use of their railroad and telegraph network. This allowed them to take the risk of deploying on what is called exterior lines(that is curved away from their own base to partially surround the enemy and be on his exterior with him on the interior) and converging on the Austrians to cut off the retreat of much of their army. Traditionally, other things being equal having the interior is an advantage because there is a shorter march to any given point. However von Moltke had carefully spaced the army to be able to unite together whenever needed. Doing this, the Prussians were able to bring the Austrian forces to battle at the field of Sadowa (also referred to as Königgrätz) surrounding and destroying large parts of the Habsburg forces.
In the meantime Italy had declared war on Austria in coordination with Prussia. This did not go quite as well, Italy suffering several defeats including Lissa, which must be the only naval victory credited to Austria. The Italian front however did not affect the main issue which was the fighting in Germany. Prussia came off a winner by a long shot and was ready to begin the founding of Imperial Germany.
- A Father to His Men: Ludwig von Benedek had a reputation for this in the Austrian army.
- Ambadassador: Bismarck (though at that time, he was chancellor and foreign minister already)
- Badass Army: Prussia
- Badass Bureaucrat : The Prussian General Staff. They won the war by their ability to make railroad schedules.
- Cool Gun: The Dreysse Needlegun, the first working breachloading rifle that could be issued to line infantry as opposed to specialists and experimental units. This provided a tremendous advantage to the Prussians as they did not have to stand up to load.
- Cool Train: The essence of Prussia's strategy in both this and the Franco-Prussian War
- Crazy Prepared: Prussia. Austria was crazy unprepared.
- Final Battle: Sadowa
- Four-Star Badass: The Prussians had loads of these topped with von Moltke himself. Poor Benedek was credited with being this before the war by the Austrian Army and he really hadn't done so bad earlier in his career. He was just Overshadowed by Awesome.
- Hero with Bad Publicity : Ludwig Von Benedek, the Austrian commander quietly accepted the blame for Austria's defeat and even urged his wife not to say anything-even though the blame could possibly be more fairly be placed on The Emperor. Benedek really did believe in My Master, Right or Wrong.
- Last Stand: "The battery of the dead", an Austrian artillery unit wiped out while trying to stem the Prussian pursuit at Sadowa.
- Magnificent Bastard: Von Moltke and Bismarck
- Military School : The Prussian General Staff was the product an elite school designed to mass produce Four Star Badasses
- The Sound of Martial Music
- Stoic Woobie: Benedek
- Warrior Prince: King William I of Prussia and his son. Despite what you might expect of nineteenth century royalty they were actually quite effective in this capacity.
- We Are Not Yet The Wehrmacht
- A preview of an arc about the war has shown up in Axis Powers Hetalia, focusing on the embodiments Austria and Prussia, along with possibly Hungary's historic involvement in it.