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The original signatures of Yorck and Diebitsch

The Convention of Tauroggen was a truce signed 30 December 1812 at Tauroggen (now Tauragė, Lithuania), between General (Generalleutnant) Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg on behalf of his Prussian troops, and by General Hans Karl von Diebitsch of the Russian Army. Yorck's act is considered a turning point of Prussian history, triggering an insurgency against Napoleon in the Rheinbund.

According to the Treaty of Tilsit, Prussia had to support Napoleon's invasion of Russia. This resulted in some Prussians leaving their army to avoid serving the French, among them Carl von Clausewitz, who joined Russian service. When Yorck's immediate French superior Marshal MacDonald, retreated before the corps of Diebitsch, Yorck found himself isolated. As a soldier his duty was to break through, but as a Prussian patriot his position was more difficult. He had to judge whether the moment was favorable for starting a war of liberation; and, whatever might be the enthusiasm of his junior staff-officers, Yorck had no illusions as to the safety of his own head, and negotiated with Clausewitz.

The Convention of Tauroggen armistice, signed by Diebitsch and Yorck, "neutralized" the Prussian corps without consent of their king. The news was received with the wildest enthusiasm in Prussia, but the Prussian Court dared not yet throw off the mask, and an order was despatched suspending Yorck from his command pending a court-martial. Diebitsch refused to let the bearer pass through his lines, and the general was finally absolved when the Treaty of Kalisch definitely ranged Prussia on the side of the Allies.


The Convention of Tauroggen is also mentioned in C. S. Forester's The Commodore, in which the hero Horatio Hornblower supports the Russians and helps to stage a meeting between the leaders.

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