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The Rhineland Conflict was a short war fought between Prussia and France over the creation of an independent Confederation of the Rhine, which directly threatened Prussian dominance of the North German states. However, Prussia was defeated and humiliated in the war, and was forced to reform the military and government to try to survive.
After the defeat of Great Britain at the Battle of Trafalgar, Napoleon was able to focus his energy on the nations that composed the Third Coalition. The decisive French victories in Austria and Bavaria, as well as the creation of the French protectorates of Holland, The Grand Duchy of Warsaw and the Confederation of the Rhine was seen as threats to Prussia, but it took the war party lead by the queen to finally push King Fredrick Wilhelm III to declare war in June 1806.
The Course of the War
The Prussian forces moved to conquer Munich, Leipzig and Hannover, which King Fredrick William III assumed would force Napoleon to come to the negotiating table. This was made in the assumption that French forces were still in Austria during the winter. However the French surprised the Prussian armies by countering all the initial assaults, and soon moving into Prussia itself. The withdrawing Prussian armies soon were confronted by Napoleon himself and the majority of the Grand Army at Augsburg on July 17, which resulted in the greatest victory of Napoleon yet, having routed the Prussian armies. Though the army tried to regroup, Napoleon had soon arrived at the gates of Berlin, which surrendered without a fight, ending the war.
Prussia agreed to end the war in return for surrendering territory and signing a non-aggression pact with France and her allies. King Fredrick realized that he had to reform the Prussian army to try to regain the glorious past that Fredrick the Great had created, so asked Heinrich Friedrich Karl vom und zum Stein and Karl August von Hardenberg to help him with the reforming of the state and army. Despite an aborted coup in 1811, the reforms were implemented, and successful in reforming both the army and the government.