Eduard von Bonin
Eduard von Bonin was a Prussian
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 who served as Prussian Minister of War
Prussian Minister of War
The Prussian War Ministry was gradually established between 1808 and 1809 as part of a series of reforms initiated by the Military Reorganization Commission created after the disastrous Treaty of Paris. The War Ministry was to help bring the army under constitutional control, and, along with the...

 from 1852–54 and 1858-59.


Bonin of the Bonin noble family of Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

 and East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

 was born in Stolp in Hinterpommern. In 1806 he entered the regiment of Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel
Prince Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel was a German prince and Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Oels. Nicknamed "The Black Dude", he was a military officer who led the Black Brunswickers against Napoleonic domination in Germany...

. During the Fourth Coalition against Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

, he participated in Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Fürst von Wahlstatt , Graf , later elevated to Fürst von Wahlstatt, was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall who led his army against Napoleon I at the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in 1813 and at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 with the Duke of Wellington.He is...

's retreat to Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

, where he was taken prisoner. Released after giving his word of honor, Bonin studied at the gymnasium
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

 in the garrison town of Prenzlau
Prenzlau , a city in the Uckermark District of Brandenburg in Germany, had a population of about 21,000 in 2005.-International relations:Prenzlau is twinned with: Uster, Switzerland Barlinek, Poland Świdwin, Poland...


In August 1809, Bonin entered the 1. Garderegiment as a Fähnrich
Fähnrich is a German and Austrian military rank in armed forces which translates as "Ensign" in English. The rank also exists in a few other European military organizations, often with historical ties to the German system. Examples are Sweden, Norway and Finland . The French Army has a similar...

. Promoted to Leutnant in 1810, he was made an Adjutant
Adjutant is a military rank or appointment. In some armies, including most English-speaking ones, it is an officer who assists a more senior officer, while in other armies, especially Francophone ones, it is an NCO , normally corresponding roughly to a Staff Sergeant or Warrant Officer.An Adjutant...

of the Gardebrigade during the battles of 1813 and 1814. At Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, he received the Iron Cross
Iron Cross
The Iron Cross is a cross symbol typically in black with a white or silver outline that originated after 1219 when the Kingdom of Jerusalem granted the Teutonic Order the right to combine the Teutonic Black Cross placed above a silver Cross of Jerusalem....

, 1st Class. Bonin was successively promoted to Hauptmann
Hauptmann is a German word usually translated as captain when it is used as an officer's rank in the German, Austrian and Swiss armies. While "haupt" in contemporary German means "main", it also has the dated meaning of "head", i.e...

in 1817, Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

of the Alexanderregiment in 1829, Oberst
Oberst is a military rank in several German-speaking and Scandinavian countries, equivalent to Colonel. It is currently used by both the ground and air forces of Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway. The Swedish rank överste is a direct translation, as are the Finnish rank eversti...

in 1842, and Commander of the 16. Infanteriebrigade in 1848.

Bonin took command of the Prussian Linienbrigade on 26 March 1848, during the First Schleswig War. He distinguished himself in battles at Schleswig and Düppel
Düppel can refer to:* The German name for Dybbøl, a town in Denmark famed for an 1864 battle* Berlin-Düppel * Düppel Forest, a forest in south of Berlin* Chaff...

. After the armistice of Malmö
Malmö , in the southernmost province of Scania, is the third most populous city in Sweden, after Stockholm and Gothenburg.Malmö is the seat of Malmö Municipality and the capital of Skåne County...

, Bonin was named commanding officer of the army of the united duchies of Schleswig
Schleswig or South Jutland is a region covering the area about 60 km north and 70 km south of the border between Germany and Denmark; the territory has been divided between the two countries since 1920, with Northern Schleswig in Denmark and Southern Schleswig in Germany...

 and Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

, which he reorganized and strengthened during the winter of 1848–49. He fought successfully at Kolding
Kolding is a Danish seaport located at the head of Kolding Fjord in Region of Southern Denmark . It is the site of the council Kolding Municipality. It is a transportation, commercial, and manufacturing centre, and has numerous industrial companies, principally geared towards shipbuilding...

 on 20 April and 22 April 1849, but was unable to capture Fredericia
Fredericia is a town located in Fredericia municipality in the eastern part of the Jutland peninsula in Denmark, in a sub-region known locally as Trekanten, or The Triangle...

 and his forces were thrown back on 6 July. After the second armistice between Prussia and Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, Bonin resigned his command of the Schleswig-Holstein army and returned to the Prussian Army
Prussian Army
The Royal Prussian Army was the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It was vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power.The Prussian Army had its roots in the meager mercenary forces of Brandenburg during the Thirty Years' War...

 in April 1850.

At first the commander of Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Bonin became the commanding officer of the 16. Division in Trier
Trier, historically called in English Treves is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC....

. Bonin was promoted to Generalleutnant and named Minister of War in March 1852. He advocated greater tactical mobility for infantry, which he provided with improved weapons. Bonin presided over the merger of the Landwehr
Landwehr, or Landeswehr, is a German language term used in referring to certain national armies, or militias found in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe. In different context it refers to large scale, low strength fortifications...

with front-line troops through the creation of mixed line and Landwehr brigades. He also tried to improve the organization of the Landwehr cavalry.

Opposed to the Russian
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 influence on Prussian politics during the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

, Bonin was dismissed in 1854 after high-ranking officers alleged that he had tried "to create a schism in the Prussian army" through anti-Russian comments.

He received command of the 12. Division in Neisse
- People :*Nysa , daughter of Laodice IV and Antiochus, wife of Pharnaces I of Pontus* Nysa of Cappadocia, daughter of Pharnaces I of Pontus and Nysa, wife of Ariarathes V of Cappadocia and mother Ariarathes VI of Cappadocia...

 in 1854. He then became Vice-Governor of Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

 on 20 March 1856. After the ministry of Otto von Manteuffel
Otto von Manteuffel
Otto Theodor von Manteuffel , was a conservative Prussian statesman. Manteuffel was born in Lübben , into an aristocratic family....

 was dismissed on 6 November 1858, Bonin returned to the War Ministry upon the request of Prince-Regent William
William I, German Emperor
William I, also known as Wilhelm I , of the House of Hohenzollern was the King of Prussia and the first German Emperor .Under the leadership of William and his Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the...

. Bonin thus joined a more liberal ministry opposed to the reactionary politics of the previous eight years. He was more favorable to constitutional politics than many high-ranking officers. As War Minister, Bonin insisted that "he be consulted on all military matters, that he be allowed to counter-sign all important military orders and that all royal communications to the commanding generals pass through his hands."

Albrecht von Roon
Albrecht Graf von Roon
Albrecht Theodor Emil Graf von Roon was a Prussian soldier and statesman. As Minister of War 1859–1873 Roon, along with Otto von Bismarck and Helmuth von Moltke, was a dominating figure in Prussia's government during the key decade of the 1860s, when a series of successful wars against Denmark,...

 wanted to merge the Landwehr
Landwehr, or Landeswehr, is a German language term used in referring to certain national armies, or militias found in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe. In different context it refers to large scale, low strength fortifications...

militia into the professional line army; Bonin, a disciple of the Napoleonic reformer Hermann von Boyen
Hermann von Boyen
Leopold Hermann Ludwig von Boyen was a Prussian army officer who helped to reform the Prussian Army in the early 19th century...

, favored the Landwehr and thought that Roon's plan would "separate the army from the country". Rather than directly confronting Roon, Bonin tried to delay Roon's plan through procrastination and appeals to William. However, concerned about war in Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, William wanted to expand and reform the body. Influenced by Bonin's rival, Edwin von Manteuffel, William hand-picked a special military commission led by Roon to draft a reform bill in September 1859. Furious that the Ministry of War was bypassed by William's actions, Bonin criticized the proposed reforms and pointed out the infeasibility of its budget. Realizing that William had lost patience with him, Bonin resigned in November. He was replaced as Minister of War a month later by Roon. Bonin was subsequently made commanding general of the VIII. Armeekorps in Koblenz
Koblenz is a German city situated on both banks of the Rhine at its confluence with the Moselle, where the Deutsches Eck and its monument are situated.As Koblenz was one of the military posts established by Drusus about 8 BC, the...

, where he later died.

Further reading

  • Hans Branig: "Eduard von Bonin". In: Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB), Band 2. S. 447.

External links

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