After the War of the Pacific, the Government of President Domingo Santa María estimated that the Army needed to modernize and organize like European armies, according to the experiences that the conflict had left. The government set their sights on Germany, whose military establishment after the wars against Austria and against France stood out in Europe. In addition, the Chilean government had already touched on the overall progress of the country, with the influx of German immigrants to Chile. Following the idea of implementing the German military model, the Chilean embassy in Berlin contracted the services of the Prussian artillery captain Emilio Körner in 1885.
Chilean Civil War and rise to commander-in-chief
When the Chilean Civil War exploded in 1891, Körner sided with the Congress, which was only able to achieve control of the Chilean Navy while the Army, excepting several officers, sided President José Manuel Balmaceda. Partly due to his advices and actions during the Chilean Civil War, Emil Körner reached the rank of commander-in-chief of the Army in 1900.