Many stories of soldiers that we have read in the past voluntarily joined the military with the desire to serve the nation either as their own decision or influenced by family and relatives. Popularly known as Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen had quite a different story. His father volunteered him into the Cadet Corps, and he didn’t have a choice. Nonetheless, he was able to score 80 victories throughout his career.

Sent To a Cadet School By His Father

Manfred von Richthofen was born on May 2, 1892, in Breslau, Lower Silesia. His family came from a prominent Prussian aristocratic family, and his father was a career army officer. Thus, he wanted his three sons to follow in his footsteps. That was why when Richthofen was 11, he was sent to the Wahlstatt cadet school in Berlin, which he didn’t really like but had no choice anyway.

Manfred von Richthofen and his grandmother (Wikimedia Commons).

As he wrote in his autobiography, he had difficulties following strict discipline. He did not really care to follow the instructions he received, only doing the bare minimum to pass. However, he developed a liking for sports like gymnastics and football. He wrote:

“I had a tremendous liking for all sorts of risky tricks. One fine day I climbed with my friend, Frankenberg, the famous steeple of Wahlstatt, using the lightning conductor and tied my handkerchief to the top. I remember exactly how difficult it was to negotiate the gutters. Ten years later, when I visited my little brother at Wahlstatt, I saw my handkerchief still tied up high in the air.”