Franco-Prussian War

Franco-Prussian War
   The underlying causes for this war (1870-71), lost by France to the German states under the leadership of Prussia, was the determination of the Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck to unify Germany under Prussian control (and also to eliminate French influence over Germany), and the desire of napoléon III to regain for France the prestige lost as a result of numerous diplomatic reversals. Additionally, Prussian military strength was perceived to constitute a threat to French dominance in Europe. The immediate cause of war was the issue of the candidacy of Leopold, prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, for the vacant Spanish throne. The French government, alarmed at the possibility of a Prussian-Spanish alliance, demanded a withdrawal. it was Bismarck's editing of a telegram, the Ems dispatch, reworded to make the French demands and the Prussian king's rejection provocative to both nations, that caused the French declaration of war in 1870. The south German states joined Prussia. The French mobilized about 200,000 troops, the Germans 400,000. All German forces were under the command of the Prussian king Wilhelm and General Moltke. Three German armies drove into France led by General Steinmetz, Crown Prince Frederick Wilhelm, and Prince Frederick Charles. The first engagement at Saarbriicken was won by the French, but in the later battles at Weissenburg, Worth, and Spichern, the French forces, under the command of General edme mac-mahon, were defeated. Command of the French army was assumed by General rené bazaine, who was defeated at the battles of Vienville and Gravelotte. The French forces then withdrew to Sedan. The decisive battle of Sedan was fought on September 1, 1870, with the French being commanded by General Emmanuel Wimpf-fen. Once the situation appeared hopeless, however, napoléon III surrendered with 83,000 of his troops. Upon news of the surrender, paris rose in rebellion, the Legislative Assembly was dissolved, and France was proclaimed a republic. By the end of September, Paris was surrounded by German forces. The new prime minister, léon gambetta, escaped by balloon and established a provisional government at Tours. Divisions under his command fought on but were driven into Switzerland. On October 27, Marshal Bazaine surrendered at Metz with 173,000 troops. Paris, meanwhile, was subjected to a terrible siege and bombardment. On January 19, 1871, the city opened negotiations for surrender. The day earlier, Wilhelm i of Prussia was proclaimed emperor of Germany at Versailles. The formal capitulation of Paris took place on January 28. An elected National Assembly, convened at bordeaux, chose adolphe Thiers as first president of the third republic. In March, the revolutionary government of the Paris commune was proclaimed but was suppressed in May by government troops. The Treaty of Frankfurt, signed on May 10, 1871, ended the war between France and Germany. it provided that the province of alsace (excepting Belfort) and part of Lorraine, including Metz, were to be ceded to the German Empire. France also was to pay a war indemnity of 5 billion gold francs, submitting to German military occupation until it was paid in full. This obligation was discharged in September 1873, and the occupation was then ended. The Franco-Prussian War and the harsh terms of the peace treaty, especially the ceding of the provinces of Alsace and part of Lorraine, would produce in France the rapid rise of nationalism and a spirit of revanchism against Germany.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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  • Franco-Prussian War — Fran′co Prus′sian War′ [[t]ˈfræŋ koʊ ˈprʌʃ ən[/t]] n. why the war between France and Prussia, 1870–71 …   From formal English to slang

  • Franco-Prussian War — noun a war between France and Prussia that ended the Second Empire in France and led to the founding of modern Germany; 1870 1871 • Instance Hypernyms: ↑war, ↑warfare …   Useful english dictionary

  • Franco-Prussian War — /ˌfræŋkoʊ prʌʃən ˈwɔ/ (say .frangkoh prushuhn waw) noun a war (1870–71) between France and Prussia, resulting in the ceding of Alsace and eastern Lorraine to Prussia …  

  • Causes of the Franco-Prussian War — The causes of the Franco Prussian War are deeply rooted in the events surrounding balance of power after the Napoleonic Wars. France and Prussia had been combatants against each other, with France on the losing side and Napoleon I exiled to Elba …   Wikipedia

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