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Franco-Prussian War: Not Well Known but Still Essential

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  • Franco-Prussian War: Not Well Known but Still Essential

    I'm sure we've all heard theFranco-Prussian War mentioned in a World War One book. However, I believe it was a very important war for two reasons:

    1. It united all German states under Prussia into one large Germany.
    2. The war overthrew the last emperor of France in its history, Napolean III.

    Any other thoughts or comments?
    "Let arms yield rank to the toga of peace." -Cicero

    "People complain about official corruption, but that's nothing compared with our criminal waste of time." -From Ikiru

  • #2
    Napoleon III was the 1800s equivalent of Musollini, getting rid of him was the best thing Germany ever did for France!

    And isn't that interesting... the fact that Germany as we know it did not exist until January, 1871

    It was a masterful campaign for the Germans, and an epic struggle for the French (ending as it did with the infamous Commune). I guess the biggest reason little is said about it on our side of the world is this- the Germans won, and handily, too!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
      It was a masterful campaign for the Germans, and an epic struggle for the French (ending as it did with the infamous Commune). I guess the biggest reason little is said about it on our side of the world is this- the Germans won, and handily, too!
      ...and brought about the ire of the French to the modern day.
      If you can't set a good example, be a glaring warning.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
        ...I guess the biggest reason little is said about it on our side of the world is this- the Germans won, and handily, too!
        Noooo,...I think it is not well known in the Americas because too few have an interest in its causes and consequences. Its link to the condemnation of the Versailles Treaty clauses is about as far a s most get. In fact, Germay's terms dictated to France were hardly generous and the loss of territory and reparations just as agregious when the pendulum swung the other way 48 years later.
        The Purist

        Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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        • #5
          Was it Bismarck that decided to annex the Alsace-Lorraine?

          A bone-headed stunt if ever there was one. Not only did it prolong the war, but German claim on the region were dubious and needless.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
            Was it Bismarck that decided to annex the Alsace-Lorraine?

            A bone-headed stunt if ever there was one. Not only did it prolong the war, but German claim on the region were dubious and needless.
            Bismarck was against annexation and the claims were hardly dubious.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Purist View Post
              In fact, Germay's terms dictated to France were hardly generous and the loss of territory and reparations just as agregious when the pendulum swung the other way 48 years later.
              Which is why many Americans only know the Franco-Prussian as one of the many causes of World War One.

              Anyway, I believe the war was very clever. Bismarck was confident that defeating France would bring the rest of the German states into the Confederation.

              Also (I just realized), this is a war that ACG has not discussed in its magazine.
              Last edited by TankBrigade; 22 Nov 07, 09:47.
              "Let arms yield rank to the toga of peace." -Cicero

              "People complain about official corruption, but that's nothing compared with our criminal waste of time." -From Ikiru

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TankBrigade View Post
                Anyway, I believe the war was very clever. Bismarck was confident that defeating France would bring the rest of the German states into the Confederation.
                Indeed, the war was a smart move by the iron chancellor, he outwitted his french counterparts in every aspect.

                Originally posted by TankBrigade View Post
                Also (I just realized), this is a war that ACG has not discussed in its magazine.
                How about the thirty years war, this is the one where the mess really started to gain momentum.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Drake View Post
                  Bismarck was against annexation and the claims were hardly dubious.
                  Alright, who pushed for it, and why?

                  It was not a good idea in any event, and why was that place treated like an overseas colony, and the citizens denied citizen's rights until 1913?
                  (source; The Guns of August, by Barbra Tuchmann)

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                  • #10
                    The Franco-Prussian War is truly a watershed in European history. Prior to that war Britain was still France's chief adversary, as it had been for two centuries. Now Germans, with whom the French had often had their way since the Thirty Years' War, were the new threat. Franco-German hostility was a major theme in late 19th and early 20th century Europe. It certainly facilitated the Franco-Russian alliance of the early 1890s and the Franco-British entente of 1904. Despite being on the victorious side in 1918, the French were still primarily concerned with "keeping Germany down," as evidenced by its alliances with various countries to the east of Germany. Only with the defeat and defacto partitioning of Germany, which in a manner of speaking returned things to the pre-1871 situation, together with the perceived threat from the USSR did Europe start a new chapter.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                      Alright, who pushed for it, and why?
                      Mainly the soon to be German Kaiser (though he didn't really want prussia to be a part of germany) Wilhelm I., he was the driving force.
                      There are many obvious military and economic reasons, there was coal and iron and it meant a buffer in any future war. But there was also a legit political reason.
                      AL was part of the holy roman empire until it was occupied and annexed by the french (Louis XIV.) in the aftermath of the thirty years war and it was still in large parts inhabited by ethnic germans (though they seem to had settled with the situation). Like I already mentioned before, the thirty years war is where it all pretty much started what ultimatly lead to the great war. Even the fact that germany was late in the colonization game was because it lost control over all its coastal regions during the time for quite a while. The dutch separated themselves from the rest of the reich and todays northern germany was occupied by sweden. The house of habsburg lost its grip over most of the rest of the reich, which allowed the hohenzollern to rise (this is why today there is an austria and a germany, among other reasons).
                      It's no coincidence that some historians compare WW1 and WW2 in its significance to that war and refer to it as the second thirty years war. You cannot start with european history in 1871 and hope to understand it.

                      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                      It was not a good idea in any event, and why was that place treated like an overseas colony, and the citizens denied citizen's rights until 1913?
                      (source; The Guns of August, by Barbra Tuchmann)
                      That was because Wilhelm II. was an insecure idiot. Don't know why, but he feared insurgence and such things.

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                      • #12
                        [QUOTE=Drake;803378]Mainly the soon to be German Kaiser

                        Didn't general Von Moltke also advocate the annaxation of AL?
                        "To the USA Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne. . .There is only one possibility. . .the honorable surrender of the encircled town."
                        "To the German Commander: Nuts! The American Commander."
                        Brig GEN McAuliffe response at Bastogne Dec 1944

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                          Noooo,...I think it is not well known in the Americas because too few have an interest in its causes and consequences. Its link to the condemnation of the Versailles Treaty clauses is about as far a s most get. In fact, Germay's terms dictated to France were hardly generous and the loss of territory and reparations just as agregious when the pendulum swung the other way 48 years later.
                          I can agree with your statement, but I beleive some of it would also be that I don't remember smaller conflicts like the Franco-Prussian, Austro-Prussian, or the Danish-Prussion wars even being taught in school. I mostly did some reading because of what I had read in a WWI book of the Franco-Prussian war. That lead to reading about the Franco-Prussian; Franco-Prussian lead to Austro-Prussian..ect..ect.. Their was always some detail that lead me to read about a previous conflict.
                          "To the USA Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne. . .There is only one possibility. . .the honorable surrender of the encircled town."
                          "To the German Commander: Nuts! The American Commander."
                          Brig GEN McAuliffe response at Bastogne Dec 1944

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jackal View Post
                            Mainly the soon to be German Kaiser

                            Didn't general Von Moltke also advocate the annaxation of AL?
                            Jup, there were many people in the army with that attitude, I think Moltke was one of them, but the Prussian King was definatly the biggest player, if he had been on Bismarcks side on that issue it wouldn't have happened. But imho this wouldn't have changed the development towards WW1, I think the impact of that issue is one of the most overrated reasons in world history.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                              Noooo,...I think it is not well known in the Americas because too few have an interest in its causes and consequences. Its link to the condemnation of the Versailles Treaty clauses is about as far a s most get. In fact, Germay's terms dictated to France were hardly generous and the loss of territory and reparations just as agregious when the pendulum swung the other way 48 years later.
                              During the actual time in question, the US had a great deal of interest in the F-P War. The US Army actually adopted the German "picklehaube" helmet as part of its kit and continued to use it throughout the latter part of the 19th Century.
                              "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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