Franco-German War

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Franco-German War
House ruin in Saint-Cloud, photo to document the war damage, developed around 1871 in Adolphe Braun's Paris studio
Ruined house in Saint-Cloud , takes photos to document the war damage to 1,871 in the Paris studio of Adolphe Braun developed
date July 19, 1870 to May 10, 1871
place France and Rhenish Prussia
Exit German victory. During the war, the four southern German states join the North German Confederation ( Kaiserreich )
and the French Empire becomes the French Republic
Territorial changes France takes the bulk of the Alsace and part of Lorraine from
Parties to the conflict

North German ConfederationNorth German Confederation North German Confederation Bavaria Württemberg Baden Hesse German Empire (from January 1, 1871)
Kingdom of BavariaKingdom of Bavaria 
WurttembergKingdom of Württemberg 
SwimmingGrand Duchy of Baden 
Grand Duchy of HesseGrand Duchy of Hesse 
German EmpireThe German Imperium 

Second empireSecond empire French Empire French Republic (from September 4, 1870)
Third French RepublicThird French Republic 

Commander

North German ConfederationNorth German Confederation Wilhelm I. Helmuth von Moltke Edwin von Manteuffel Karl Friedrich von Steinmetz Friedrich Karl of Prussia Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm
North German ConfederationNorth German Confederation
North German ConfederationNorth German Confederation
North German ConfederationNorth German Confederation
North German ConfederationNorth German Confederation
North German ConfederationNorth German Confederation

Second empireSecond empire Napoleon III Edmond Lebœuf François-Achille Bazaine Patrice de Mac-Mahon Louis Jules Trochu Léon Gambetta Louis Faidherbe Charles Denis Bourbaki Louis d'Aurelle de Paladines
Second empireSecond empire
Second empireSecond empire
Second empireSecond empire
Second empireSecond empire
Third French RepublicThird French Republic
Third French RepublicThird French Republic
Third French RepublicThird French Republic
Third French RepublicThird French Republic

Troop strength
519,000 men at the start of the war (total mobilized: 1,400,000 men) 336,000 men at the start of the war (total mobilized: 1,600,000 men)
losses

44,781 killed
89,732 wounded

138,871 killed
143,000 wounded
474,414 prisoners

The Franco-German War from 1870 to 1871 was a military conflict between France on the one hand and the North German Confederation under the leadership of Prussia and the southern German states of Bavaria , Württemberg , Baden and Hesse-Darmstadt, allied with it, on the other. Its most important results were the founding of the German Empire and the end of the Second French Empire . Due to its defeat, France had to cede what was later known as the Reichsland Alsace-Lorraine to the German Empire . This in turn resulted in the deepening of the “ hereditary enmity ” that lasted until the middle of the 20th century . Over 180,000 soldiers were killed and more than 230,000 wounded in the war. After the German-Danish War in 1864 and the German War in 1866, the conflict with France was the third and last of the German wars of unification . During its course, Baden, Bavaria, Württemberg and Hessen-Darmstadt joined the North German Confederation. With this and with the constitution of January 1, 1871 , the German Empire came into being . Also during the war, France abolished the monarchy and constituted itself as the Third Republic .

The trigger for the war was the dispute between France and Prussia over the Spanish candidacy for the throne of Prince Leopold von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen . Contrary to Napoléon III. The four southern German states entered the war in anticipation. Meanwhile, the other European powers remained neutral , considering the French declaration of war to be unfounded. Within a few weeks in the late summer of 1870, the German allies defeated large parts of the French armies. After the Battle of Sedan in northern France, Emperor Napoléon III went. captured on September 2, 1870. Thereupon a provisional national government was formed in Paris, which proclaimed the republic and continued the war. But even the new government was unable to turn the tide. After the fall of Paris , the French government agreed to the preliminary peace of Versailles in February 1871 . The war officially ended on May 10, 1871 with the Peace of Frankfurt .

Designation and classification

The Franco-German War is also known in German-speaking countries as the War of 1870/71 . In the English-speaking world, the dispute is called Franco-Prussian War (Franco-Prussian War), following the custom of naming the side declaring the war first . The British designation particularly emphasizes the direction of the German side of the war by the Prussian government, but does not include the Prussian allies in northern and southern Germany. The term Guerre Franco-Prussienne (Franco-Prussian War) is also still represented in French research literature , but is increasingly being replaced by the term Guerre Franco-Allemande (French-German War) . In Denmark, the war was dubbed fransk-tyske krig (Franco-German War) more often from the start .

The Franco-Prussian War took place in the industrial age . Therefore, it was waged similar to the previous Crimean War (1853 to 1856), the Sardinian War (1859), the American Civil War (1861-1865) and the German War (1866) with expanded weapons technology. This found its expression in the high number of victims. 190,000 soldiers died in the entire Franco-German War. Chassepot rifle , “long lead” - a projectile in the form of an elongated drop - and grenades inflicted new types of severe wounds on the soldiers. Bone injuries, limb loss and exit wounds (caused by projectiles) took on a new dimension.

In its second phase after the Battle of Sedan , the Franco-German War also developed features of a war against an entire people . The French government led by Léon Gambetta and Charles de Freycinet called for a “guerre à outrance”, that is, for a “war to the extreme”. It introduced general conscription, raised new mass armies and intensified the struggle. This led to an increase in atrocities on both sides of the war. In the end, however, in contrast to the First World War, the politicians managed to assert themselves against the military leadership and to end the war again after a relatively short time. Since the Franco-Prussian War, however, it had to be assumed that wars “would potentially be fought according to the French model with the whole people's strength” (Stig Förster).

prehistory

Portrait painting of Napoleon III.

Development up to the German War

In France the memory of the defeat of the Napoleonic Empire continued. The territorial demotion of 1814/1815 was felt as a severe humiliation. The Bourbon dynasty and the July monarchy could not live up to the public expectation that the old influence would be regained . The disappointed hopes of restoring France's old position of power ultimately contributed to the presidential election of Louis Napoleon in 1848 , who four years later became Napoleon III. crowned Emperor of the French. Napoleon III had his foreign policy goal. already formulated during his time in exile. In the writing Idées Napoléoniennes , he intended to weaken or dissolve Russia and Austria. Napoleon III wanted to replace them with liberal nation-states dependent on France. In the 1850s, Napoleon III. still have foreign policy successes ( Crimean War and Sardinian War ) in this regard. In the 1860s, however, the foreign policy setbacks increased (the French intervention in Mexico and the German War of 1866 ).

In the run-up to the German War, the Prussian Prime Minister Bismarck tried to negotiate French neutrality. Napoleon III was not averse to this, but brought territorial expansions into discussion in return for the military standstill (e.g. parts of Belgium, the Saar region and the Palatinate). Bismarck gave Napoleon III. however, no binding guarantees for territorial compensation. Napoléon III concluded with Austria. a secret treaty which , in return for its neutrality, provided France with the Prussian Rhineland . Napoleon III and his circle of advisers expected a prolonged war between Austria and Prussia. Therefore, they refrained from rallying French troops for quick intervention. In view of this situation, Napoleon III tried. to exert diplomatic pressure on Prussia. A month after the decisive battle of Königgrätz , he asked the victorious Prussia to support French territorial gains. The plans envisaged the regaining of territories that France had been allowed to keep in the First Peace of Paris in 1814 and had to cede to German states only after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

The quick conclusion of peace with Austria ultimately prevented French intervention. At the same time, the power balance shifted: Prussia annexed the northern German states of the Kingdom of Hanover , the Electorate of Hesse-Kassel , the Duchy of Nassau and the Free City of Frankfurt . The remaining northern German states joined the newly formed North German Confederation in 1867 , which further increased the political weight of Prussia. In 1860 Prussia had reached less than 50% of the French population. The North German Confederation of 1867 now had 30 million inhabitants, which was closer to the French population of 37 million. In addition, the army of the North German Confederation was a third larger than its French counterpart due to the general conscription. The call for " revenge for Sadowa " (French name of the Battle of Königgrätz) came up in France. What was meant was the disappointment in France of not having been sufficiently rewarded for neutrality in the German war. The French Minister of War commented on the French perception with the sentence: “We are the ones who were actually beaten at Sadowa” (“C'est nous qui avons été battus à Sadowa”).

Territorial holdings of the North German Confederation from 1867 to 1870, Prussia (blue)

At least France ensured that Prussia was only allowed to found the federal state north of the Main line. The southern German states of Württemberg, Baden and Bavaria initially retained their state independence. From a French perspective, this was not insignificant. The three southern German states were able to muster another 200,000 soldiers in a potential war and some bordered directly on France. The national exclusion of southern Germany was ultimately politically worthless, because in August 1866 Bismarck had still managed to conclude secret protective and defensive alliances (mutual defense in the event of a war of aggression) with Bavaria, Württemberg and Baden. The reason for the treaties was the new demarcation of borders, which brought the southern German governments, fearing for their sovereignty, into an emergency. They were geographically between the great powers Austria, France and the North German Confederation. The growing national movement only allowed a foreign policy orientation towards the North German Confederation.

Luxembourg crisis and rapprochement between France, Austria and Italy

After the Franco-Prussian negotiations on extensive territorial compensations failed in August 1866, the French government deviated from its original objective. She now asked Prussia to support it in the annexation of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg . In March 1867, the French government began negotiations with the Dutch king who ruled Luxembourg. William III. agreed to hand Luxembourg over to France for financial compensation (5 million guilders). But he also made the sale dependent on the approval of the Prussian monarch Wilhelm I. Bismarck then had the previously kept secret protection and defensive treaties with the southern German states printed in the Prussian State Gazette . The publication of the alliance strengthened a nationalist outrage against France in the German states. Impressed by this, the Dutch king refused to sign the treaty with France. Bismarck also appealed to the other major European powers to work for a peaceful settlement of the Luxembourg crisis. So there was a conference in London in May 1867. In the course of this, France had to permanently give up its claims to Luxembourg. Prussia was forced to withdraw its garrison from the fortress .

The Luxembourg crisis brought France and Austria closer together. Both great powers tried to create an alliance directed against Prussia. The French diplomacy for a time provided for an expansion of the planned alliance to include Italy . However, insurmountable conflicts of interest between the three powers emerged. Florence, for example, demanded the withdrawal of French troops from Rome, which were protecting the Papal States from Italian annexation. The Italian government also claimed Austrian areas such as the Isonzo Valley and Trieste for themselves. Vienna, on the other hand, distrusted Paris. It was not prepared to support French territorial expansion into the area of ​​the former German Confederation. For its part, the French government hoped that - although an alliance treaty with Austria and Italy ultimately failed to materialize - it would receive support in a possible war against Prussia. This assessment encouraged Paris to seek a diplomatic course of confrontation with Prussia on the question of the Spanish succession to the throne .

Spanish succession crisis and declaration of war

Hereditary Prince Leopold von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in a representation by the printer Richard Brend'amour

The question of the Spanish succession to the throne became the immediate trigger for the Franco-Prussian War. In September 1868 the military overthrew Queen Isabella II from the Spanish throne. The leaders of the coup then looked to the European ruling houses for a new king for Spain. After several refusals from Italy and Portugal, the Spanish Prime Minister Juan Prim finally turned to the Sigmaringer Line of the Hohenzollern in February 1870. The decision fell on Prince Leopold von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen , the son of a former Prussian Prime Minister and member of the Catholic branch line of the King of Prussia who ruled in Berlin. Berlin and Madrid originally planned to keep their joint project secret from the public. Political Paris was only to be informed of the candidacy for king after Leopold had been confirmed as king by the Spanish parliament . The strategy failed because a mistake crept in while decoding a telegraph message from Berlin. The Spanish government wrongly assumed that the parliamentary vote on the candidacy for king should not take place until July 9, 1870. But actually June 26th was planned - an appointment two weeks earlier. The decryption error meant that the government prematurely released parliament into the summer recess. When Juan Prim found out about the misunderstanding, he had to recall Parliament. On the occasion, he justified his decision with the Spanish candidacy for the throne, which made the matter public.

A possible enthronement of Leopold as Spanish king aroused fears in France of a new dynastic embrace, as had already existed by Habsburg monarchs in the 16th and 17th centuries. In view of the already strong opposition of the Republicans in parliament, the emperor and his government had to fear their overthrow. On July 6, 1870, the French Foreign Minister Gramont gave a speech to the legislative assembly, the Corps législatif . He accused the Prussian government of being behind the Spanish project and stated that it would be a defamation of France. Although Gramont never spoke directly of war, his rhetoric could be interpreted as a threat of war to Prussia. On July 7, 1870, Gramont ordered the French ambassador to Prussia, Count Vincent Benedetti , to travel to Bad Ems . King Wilhelm I and his courtly followers stayed in the city for a cure. Benedetti should ask the king to withdraw Leopold's candidacy. On July 9, 1870, Wilhelm I declared to the French ambassador that he had only supported the candidacy as head of the Hohenzollerns, but not as Prussian king. It is a purely dynastic matter. The confession of Wilhelm I strengthened Gramont's diplomatic position in Europe. He was now able to prove beyond doubt that the Prussian government, headed by Bismarck, was involved in the Spanish project. For example, Prince Reuss , the Prussian ambassador to Russia, sent a telegram to Wilhelm that Tsar Alexander II had recommended that he give up his candidacy. On July 10, 1870, Wilhelm I finally sent a special envoy to Sigmaringen. His task was to convince Karl Anton to give up. On July 12, Karl Anton renounced the Spanish crown on behalf of his son. Paris had a great diplomatic success with it.

The diplomatic victory was not enough for Gramont. The signed declaration of renunciation concealed any Prussian participation in the Spanish succession project. For this reason, Gramont demanded a public apology from Prussia. Ambassador Benedetti was supposed to elicit a binding promise from the Prussian monarch not to support any more Spanish Hohenzollern candidacy in the future either. On July 13, 1870, Benedetti visited the monarch on the Bad Ems spa promenade. Wilhelm I reacted politely to the request, but firmly rejected it. He feared a loss of face for Prussia. As long as only one non-ruling member of the Hohenzollern dynasty publicly withdrew the candidacy, the crisis could not discredit the reputation of the entire Prussian state. The situation was different if he himself had officially made an appropriate declaration as a monarch. Wilhelm I was not prepared to forbid the accession of a Hohenzollern to the throne in Spain “forever and ever”. When Benedetti informed Gramont that the French demand had been rejected, the Foreign Minister ordered another meeting with William I on the same day. However, the monarch refused the French ambassador another audience and thus authorized the Prussian Foreign Ministry to inform both the press and the Prussian ambassadors about his meeting with Benedetti. Wilhelm's rejection and the way in which Chancellor Bismarck published it in the Emser Depesche sparked outrage in France and national enthusiasm in Germany. In retrospect, Bismarck portrayed it in his autobiography Thoughts and Memories as if the Emser Depesche had mainly been the cause of the war. This opinion is held by many historians to this day. However, scientists like Josef Becker follow a different traditional version of what happened. The historian Leopold von Ranke wrote in his diary that the decision to go to war was made on July 12, 1870 in Berlin. On the evening of that day in the official apartment of the Prussian Prime Minister Bismarck, the Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke and Minister of War Albrecht von Roon agreed on an armed conflict.

On the evening of July 14th, 1870, thousands of people gathered in the streets and squares of Paris to demonstrate for the war. Choirs like “Nach Berlin” and “Nieder mit Preußen” could be heard. On July 15, 1870, after an eleven-hour debate, the members of the French parliament voted 245 against 10 for the taking up of war credits. Four days later, on July 19, 1870, France declared war on Prussia. In the declaration of war, the French government justified its actions by stating that "the project to elevate a Prussian prince to the Spanish throne was an undertaking directed against the territorial security of France".

Initial foreign policy situation and war goals

South German states

The diplomatic events in Bad Ems caused a change of mood in the southern German states in favor of Prussia. The majority of the public was outraged by what they considered to be excessive French demands on the Prussian king. However, the Bavarian and Württemberg governments initially left it open as to whether they would actually fulfill their contractual alliance obligations towards the North German Confederation in the upcoming war . Only the government of the Grand Duchy of Baden expressed its military support for Prussia from the start.

In Bavaria , the Council of Ministers held a heated debate on July 14, 1870 - just five days before the French declaration of war - about the role of the country in the looming war. A day later the government in Munich agreed to fight on the Prussian side. On July 16, 1870, the Bavarian King Ludwig II ordered the army to be mobilized. Munich hoped that by actively participating in the armed conflict it would have to relinquish as few sovereignty rights as possible.

The Bavarian Foreign Minister Bray-Steinburg summarized Bavaria's political options as follows:

“If we go with Prussia and it wins the war, Prussia is forced to respect Bavaria's existence. If Prussia is defeated, we may lose the Palatinate, but nothing more can happen to us, because France must always favor the independence of the individual German states; the same will happen if we remain neutral and France wins. But if Prussia wins, although we let it go against the contract, then the fate of Hanover awaits us . "

The Württemberg government also had reservations about entering the war: During the crisis in the succession to the Spanish throne, the Württemberg Prime Minister Karl von Varnbuler, with the help of the French ambassador in Stuttgart , tried to moderate the French government. This should be dissuaded from making the purely dynastic matter a national incident. It was only after the diplomatic escalation in Bad Ems that Varnbuler agreed with the Bavarian government that the alliance case was recognized. Under pressure from the street, King Karl I then had the Württemberg army mobilized. Parliament almost unanimously approved the war credits.

The Grand Duchy of Baden bordered directly on France. The government in Karlsruhe therefore endeavored not to irritate Paris during the crisis of the Spanish succession to the throne. After the war became apparent, however, only Prussia and its North German allies seemed in a position to prevent a French occupation of the country. Since the Prussian suppression of the Baden Revolution in 1849, the Baden dynasty was also very close to the Hohenzollern. The Baden mobilization began on July 15. Gramont's comment that Baden was just a “branch of Berlin” that had to be politically destroyed also caused outrage against France.

European great powers

The Emser dispatch fulfilled the purpose intended by Bismarck: France stood there in isolation as the aggressor , because in the eyes of the world public the cause of war was void, and France had unnecessarily forced itself to act through excessive demands. This assessment was also reflected in the London Times. This wrote on July 16, 1870: "There can be no doubt at present about the one thing that sympathies from all over the world are now turning to the attacked Prussia".

Tsar Alexander II of Russia

At the start of the war, France continued to have no real ally. Bismarck won Russia over by promising to support his policy of revising the Peace of Paris of 1856 . In return, Saint Petersburg not only tolerated the Prussian armed forces against France, but also increased the pressure on Austria to remain neutral as well. Tsar Alexander II informed the Austrian government that it would otherwise send troops to Austrian Galicia . The tsar saw himself dynastically connected to Wilhelm I of Prussia. After all, the Prussian king was his uncle. In addition, Saint Petersburg assumed that a Franco-Austrian victory would lead to independence unrest in the Polish territories occupied by Prussia and Russia. As a result, Russia should be able to advance its step-by-step revision policy with Bismarck's help at the Pontus Conference in March 1871.

Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria

Efforts to establish an Austro-French alliance failed in 1870. In June - even before the French declaration of war on Prussia - the French general Barthélémy Louis Joseph Lebrun traveled to Vienna, but could hardly get any commitments from the Austrian government. Emperor Franz Joseph declared that he would only intervene militarily if Austria had a chance of being perceived by the southern German governments as a liberator. However, precisely that scenario did not occur; In July 1870, the southern German states declared their alliance with the North German Confederation. Austrian neutrality made it possible to move all German troops to the French border. The only exception to this was the Prussian 17th Division , which was supposed to defend the Schleswig-Holstein coast against French attacks from the sea .

King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy

Paris could not count on military help from Italy either. The point of contention was still the so-called Roman question : In order to secure the sympathy of the Catholic population and the clergy in France, Napoleon III insisted. on the continuation of the papal papal state. The government in Florence, however, insisted on the occupation of Rome by Italian troops. In their opinion, Rome should become the capital of Italy. However, the French protection forces, which ensured the political sovereignty of the Pope, stood in the way of this goal. In the looming Franco-German war, Italy suddenly had the chance to occupy Rome: shortly before it declared war on Prussia, the French government agreed to withdraw its troops from the Vatican. In doing so, Paris unintentionally cleared the way for the Italian conquest of Rome. The Franco-Italian diplomacy in the run-up to the war did not have the desired effect on France because the Italian King Victor Emmanuel II only assured Paris that he would not enter into negotiations with other powers. The French government mistakenly saw this as a declaration of support. However, contrary to what was expected, Italy did not intervene in the conflict.

Britain at the time was hardly interested in participating in an armed conflict on mainland Europe. In London, the changed geopolitical situation in North America was perceived as more threatening than the previous successes of Prussia. There the United States of America had only bought Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867 , which could potentially affect the interests of the British colony of Canada . Political London also saw Prussia as a possible counterbalance to France's expansionist ambitions. British politics combined a possible French victory with the fear of a renewed domination of Paris in Europe, similar to the time of Napoleon I. London therefore shied away from a military intervention in favor of France, the former partner in the Crimean War. The main concern of the liberal-dominated British government was the disruption of trade that could be expected from the war. It therefore first endeavored to achieve disarmament in both countries. The dynastic connections between the British royal family and the Hohenzollerns were also used for this purpose. After all, Crown Prince Friedrich was married to a daughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain . The mediation attempts failed, however, which was not least due to the disarmed and comparatively limited troop strength of Great Britain.

Denmark and Belgium

Like Great Britain, Denmark also opted for neutrality. Although Copenhagen had lost the duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg to Prussia and Austria in the war of 1864, it did not want to take the risk of revanchism. The Danish government feared that in such a war against Prussia German troops would take Jutland before the French reinforcements appeared. At first on its own, Denmark could not have stopped the German advance with its own military forces. In addition to these concerns, foreign policy pressure also played a role in Denmark's neutrality: The Russian tsar spoke out against Danish entry into the war, because a Franco-Danish success on the coast could have led to uprisings in Poland. In addition to Danish neutrality, the fact that French forces were quickly tied up in their own country also contributed to restricting naval warfare . For the course of the conflict, the theater of war in the North and Baltic Seas was to remain militarily completely insignificant.

Since the London Protocol in 1831, Belgium was committed to neutrality in Europe. King Leopold II of Belgium stuck to this point of view. In order to be able to counter violations of neutrality, the Belgian troops were mobilized. The fact that it was not involved in the Franco-Prussian War contributed to the fact that in 1914, at the beginning of the First World War , the Belgian public again mistakenly relied on the security of their neutrality.

War aims

With the war, Paris pursued the goal of preventing German unification for reasons of power politics. Prussian striving for power should be curbed in the future and France should remain the dominant nation on the European continent. At the same time, the war seemed for the government of Napoleon III. to be a means of silencing the domestic political opposition with a military success.

At the beginning of the war, France's territorial war objectives were also set. The Kingdom of Hanover, annexed by Prussia, was to be restored, southern Schleswig was to be returned to Denmark and the German Confederation was to be re-established. Above all, however, the possession of parts of the Prussian Rhine Province for France was insisted on ( Rhine border ).

In the Peace of Prague of 1866 , France was still able to prevent the German states south of the Main border from joining the North German Confederation. As early as 1866, Bismarck speculated on "in the event of war with France [to] break through the Main Barrier immediately and [to draw] all of Germany into battle". A successful armed conflict against Paris would also secure the previous conquests of the German-Danish War and the German War.

In August 1870 - already during the war with France - the Great Headquarters around King William I agreed on the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine. The background to this decision was to want to permanently weaken France in terms of power politics and to create a buffer zone to protect southern Germany from possible future French campaigns. The demand for the assignment of territory, which Bismarck presented to the French negotiator on September 19, 1870, was initially rejected by the latter. The Prussian war aims thus prolonged the war.

course

Strategic planning in advance (1867–1870)

Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke

On the side of the North German Confederation and the southern German states, King Wilhelm I was nominally the supreme commander. In practice, however, the monarch left the chief of the general staff, Helmuth von Moltke , to plan the military operations. Moltke had been planning a possible war against France since 1867. The chief of staff planned to use the numerical superiority of troops. A rapid mobilization, combined with the transport capacities of the railway lines, should move the campaign to French soil as quickly as possible. He then wanted to force a quick, decisive battle between Metz and Strasbourg. Moltke's strategy was based on the idea of ​​a modern cabinet war . This means that he not only wanted to weaken the opposing troops, but also wanted to destroy them completely. Strategically important places in France should be captured. Previously, warfare was mostly about hitting the enemy just enough to agree to certain peace conditions. Moltke expected that France would try to advance in the direction of the Main and thus drive a wedge between the North German Confederation and its southern German allies. To prevent this scenario, he let three German armies concentrate in the Palatinate. One unit finally marched in the direction of Trier, a second in the direction of Saarbrücken and a third in the direction of Landau.

On the French side, the prevailing opinion was that they could achieve an easy and quick victory. The Minister of War, Marshal Edmond Lebœuf , placed his hopes on a quick offensive success, which France was to win through rapid mobilization and deployment. Both Napoléon III followed his assessment. as well as the vast majority of the general staff. In the international European press a military superiority of France was expected. During the Luxembourg crisis in 1867, Marshal Niel had presented an offensive plan. He wanted to advance east on the front between Thionville and Trier and cut Prussia off from its southern German allies. The project would have had good prospects due to the existing railway lines and French fortresses in the area. However, Niel's plan was not pursued after the end of the Luxembourg crisis. The French general Charles Auguste Frossard brought another, defensive consideration into play in 1868. Troops were to be relocated to the cities of Strasbourg, Metz and Châlons and from there initially fend off a Prussian attack.

In February 1870, Napoleon III then changed the On the advice of General Lebrun, the military strategy of France was renewed, since after the visit of the Austrian field marshal in Paris he reckoned with military backing from Austria. Napoleon III relocated part of his army. therefore to Metz, the others to Strasbourg. Above all, the emperor hoped to be able to occupy southern Germany from Strasbourg and draw their governments to his side. After that, the French soldiers - so the idea - would be reinforced by the Austrian emperor's troops. When war broke out, an attempt was made to use elements from all three plans. So Napoleon III split. his army was divided into three groups of troops. The Rhine Army was led by himself and took up positions in Metz. The other two units had their temporary bases in Alsace and Châlons. The inadequate preparation of the campaign slowed the pace of the French deployment and the mobilization and formation of troops. The numerically superior forces of the German armies were given enough time to form. The planned offensive of the French army across the Rhine was no longer possible without further ado under these conditions.

In the Franco-German War, it was essential to be able to move hundreds of thousands of soldiers, horses, equipment and food to the front. In the course of the war, nearly 3 million soldiers were drafted on both sides. In the German states active conscription was applied. Between the ages of 17 and 45, every male citizen could theoretically be obliged to serve in the war. However, due to the lack of capacities of the military stations, a lottery procedure decided the actual deployment. Socially better off people were often able to buy their way out of their service. The French army was composed mainly of professional soldiers. There was no general conscription. The French soldiers were experienced in combat because of their use in the Crimean War and the Sardinian War and were equipped with the highly efficient Chassepot rifle .

Parades (July, August and September 1870)

French soldiers drill in the Ile Chambrière camp near Metz , 1870

However, the French army only numbered 336,000 soldiers at the beginning of the war. She was outnumbered. Due to the smaller population of France, the German states were able to recruit a little more soldiers in the long term. On July 31, 1870, 460,000 men were ready on the German side near the border. It took 900 trains to get them to their destinations. A total of 1,500 trains transported 640,000 soldiers, 170,000 horses and almost 1,600 guns to the front in just three weeks up to August 12. On the French side, hardly any provisions had been made for the imminent transfer of troops. At first there was a lack of accommodation and tents. In the beginning, only the food they had brought with them was available to the soldiers. Although 900 trains quickly transported the units to the Rhine and Moselle, the necessary equipment was still in the depots. The weapons magazines were spread across the country, so that the reservists who were supposed to bring the equipment to their units first traveled across France. Then they had to find their respective units at the front. Even when the fighting had already started, some of the French troops still lacked equipment and men in September 1870.

The railroad played an essential role, especially at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War. The Prussian side recognized its potential as a means of transport early on. Since the 1840s, the Prussian War Ministry involved them in military planning. The railroad had been an integral part of military exercises since the 1860s. In 1869, a railway department was established within the general staff that had contacts with the railway companies. In this way, timetables to France were available as early as the spring of 1870. Such agreements between the military management and the railway companies were not made on the French side. So it happened that trains had to turn around on the way, despite the better developed French railway network, because the troops assigned to them had not yet boarded completely.

First phase of the war up to the Battle of Sedan

Course of the first phase of the war up to the Battle of Sedan on September 1, 1870

The fighting began on August 2, 1870 with an advance by French troops under General Frossard. They took Saarbrücken , which was strategically rather isolated and only protected by a few Prussian troops . On August 5th, Frossard vacated Saarbrücken, suspecting strong opposing troops in the vicinity. They beat him on August 6th in the Battle of Spichern . With his withdrawal, the initiative passed to the three German armies, led by Karl Friedrich von Steinmetz , Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia and Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm . Further French defeats in the border battles of Weissenburg on August 4th and the Battle of Wörth initially banished the possibility of a French invasion. It became apparent that France would become the main theater of war.

Fight on August 18, 1870 in the village cemetery of Saint-Privat near Gravelotte near Metz.

The first victories were associated with high losses. In Wörth alone, more German soldiers were killed than in the war of 1866 against Austria. At the beginning of the military conflict, the German officers often still ordered traditional frontal attacks on the French positions. In doing so, they exposed the soldiers to fire from the Chassepot rifle . Since the Prussian needle guns had only half the range (600 meters) of their French counterparts, the German troops had to travel several hundred meters before they could return fire. The German artillery , superior in terms of firing frequency and range , was often only used at the beginning of the war after the infantry had given it a favorable position with high losses.

The French troops pushed back from the border marched to Nancy and Strasbourg to regroup there. The Army of the Rhine , led by Marshal François-Achille Bazaine , kept its position in Metz. There were to be three battles around the city between August 14th and 18th: The first encounter with the Rhine Army at Colombey-Nouilly (August 14th) ended in a draw. In the second battle at Mars-la-Tour (August 16), the German troops succeeded in cutting off Bazaine's army from the heavily fortified Verdun . This was a union with the army of Napoleon III. been foiled. On August 18, the largest and most costly battle of the entire war took place near Gravelotte . As a result of the battle, the Rhine Army withdrew behind the fortress walls of Metz and could ultimately be encircled. The trapped Rhine Army - after all the largest troop unit in France - was no longer able to guarantee the defense of the country.

The morning after the Battle of Sedan, Emperor Napoleon III went. in captivity.

In order to lift the siege of Metz , the units assembled in the camp of Châlons under the command of Marshal Mac Mahon were set in motion. However, the III. Army of the Prussian Crown Prince and the Maas Army Mac Mahon after. After the lost battle at Beaumont (August 30th) the French general finally abandoned the plan to relieve the fortress of Metz . He had his army pushed further in the direction of the Belgian border, to Sedan . The city lies in a valley, surrounded by hills to the east and north. These surveys made it possible for the German artillery to bomb the city and fortress from above on September 1st . For the first time in the Franco-Prussian War, guns served as the main weapon. It was no longer just enemy artillery that was under fire, but systematically, above all, enemy infantry. On September 2, 1870, the now also encircled Armée de Chalons surrendered . Emperor Napoleon III. got into Prussian captivity. When the news of the defeat reached Paris on September 3, the imperial regime began to collapse for good. On the night of September 4th, 28 members of parliament pleaded for a decision on the abolition of the monarchy. However, unrest in Paris preceded this in the course of September 4th. An insurgent crowd occupied the parliament and called for the establishment of a republic. MEPs around Léon Gambetta gave in to public pressure . They proclaimed the Third French Republic at the town hall and set up a "provisional government of national defense" to carry on the war. The disempowered Napoleon had to spend the following months in exile, in Wilhelmshöhe Castle near Kassel, before the conclusion of peace .

Continuation of the war and second phase of the war

Course of the second phase of the war (part 1 - September 1 to November 30)
Course of the second phase of the war (part 2 - December 1st until the end of the war)

Following the formal customs of the Cabinet War, France was defeated after the Battle of Sedan. Most of the French professional army was either taken prisoner of war (Sedan) or was initially trapped in the besieged fortress of Metz. The provisional government in Paris was nevertheless unable to make peace, because that would have meant agreeing to the demands made by the German side for the cession of Alsace and Lorraine. Such a loss of territory would have sparked renewed unrest in Paris and probably led to the overthrow of the new government. Negotiations between Bismarck and the French Foreign Minister Jules Favre therefore failed. The new government relied on a mass levy in the unoccupied parts of the country and tried to raise new armies . In fact, this meant that conscription was reintroduced in France.

Prussian battery in front of Paris , photograph from 1870/1871

For its part, the German General Staff planned to end the war by pushing Paris. The French capital could be included on September 19, 1870. However, there were not enough troops to storm the city. The massive fortifications of Paris and an expected street fight also spoke against a storm. Moltke hoped that the supplies in the besieged city would be used up after eight weeks and that the French government would then have to ask for peace. In fact, the government managed to recruit about a million more men. On the Loire, in the north-west and south-east of France, new armies were formed for the planned liberation of Paris, albeit insufficiently trained and poorly armed. The General Staff was only able to respond significantly to this development after the fortress of Metz surrendered on October 27, 1870 and the First and Second Armies could be withdrawn.

A killed German officer next to his dying horse.

Meanwhile, the Paris fortress governor Louis Jules Trochu made several attempts to break through the siege ring of the Germans. This was the case around September 30 at Chevilly , October 13 at Châtillon and October 28 in the suburban village of Le Bourget . The actions were badly organized and unsuccessful. In the winter of 1870, hunger, epidemics (typhus, dysentery, smallpox) and the cold made life increasingly difficult for the residents of Paris. In particular for the poorer classes, there was hardly any firewood left to heat their houses. 40,000 Parisians should not survive the aggravated living conditions in the city. Since the turn of the year 1870/1871 there have also been casualties from artillery fire. 7,000 shells hit Paris in three weeks. The shelling of the French capital came at the urging of Bismarck, who wanted to hasten the surrender of France. As Chancellor of the North German Confederation, he feared that the other major European powers might convene a peace congress in the event of a protracted war. British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, for example, spoke of a “deep debt to France” that Prussia and its allies would incur if they actually annexed Alsace and Lorraine. The shelling of Paris also encouraged resistance in the city and damaged the reputation of German decision-makers abroad.

An immediate potential threat to the Paris siege came from the three newly established French armies: the Loire Army , the Eastern Army around Besançon and the Northern Army around Rouen . Moltke had to fight defensive battles on different fronts. Several battles took place in the region around Orléans, especially on the Loire . On October 10, 1870, a Bavarian corps withdrawn from Paris forced French forces to retreat in the battle near Artenay . Orléans was occupied the next day. The clearly outnumbered troops, however, did not prevail on November 9 in the Battle of Coulmiers against the Loire Army under the leadership of General Paladines . Orléans fell back into the hands of the French troops for the time being. On December 3, German reinforcements arrived in the region with the 2nd Army, which had withdrawn from Metz, and dispersed the Loire Army. At Le Mans , the army was finally completely defeated from January 10th to 12th, 1871. De facto, this meant that there was hardly any possibility of Paris being liberated.

The French military operations were also unable to reach the Paris siege ring from other regions: in mid-November 1870, Moltke sent the 1st Army under the command of Edwin von Manteuffel to the region north of the Somme. The troops were supposed to take action there against the northern army, which had become capable of fighting. In the Battle of Amiens on November 27, 1870, the newly established French units and Manteuffel's army met for the first time. The inadequately prepared French army was pushed back, not least because of the artillery fire that was further reaching on the German side. Shortly thereafter, the German troops advanced on Rouen and occupied the city on December 5, 1870. The planned advance to Le Havre failed, however, as Louis Faidherbe , who had meanwhile been appointed by the French government as commander in chief of the Northern Army, succeeded in building the fortress in Ham recapture. Thus, the French units briefly controlled the railway line from Reims to Amiens again, which interrupted the supply routes of Manteuffel's army in the direction of Rouen. Due to the victories in the following battles at the Hallue  - a tributary of the Somme near Amiens - and at Saint-Quentin , Manteuffel was ultimately able to push the French Northern Army further away from Paris.

Civilians at war

In the occupied territories of France, the Prussian leadership introduced a military government based on the ordered cooperation of the remaining French local administrations. The civilian population had to make requisitions to accommodate foreign troops. Likewise, the French press banned the population from information. Local French local politicians have sometimes been victims of reprisals from their own people. Organized requisitions by German troops, which in the eyes of the population came close to looting private property in places, caused displeasure. Cities were less affected by such measures than rural areas.

In the Franco-Prussian War, not only regular armies fought against each other. Civilians also intervened on the French side. They joined friar associations, so-called Franc-tireurs . The imperial government of Napoleon III. had encouraged their formation from shooting societies. Out of bitterness over billeting and food for the German occupiers, more French civilians soon strengthened the associations. In the areas of France occupied by the German armies, they carried out actions that, firstly, impaired the supplies of the opposing soldiers and, secondly, were intended to affect their morale. Mainly smaller departments, posts and couriers, but also rail, telegraph and bridge connections were attacked. The military effect was limited. "Only" about 1000 German soldiers died in clashes with the irregulars.

The German officers and soldiers did not recognize the armed civilians as combatants or legitimate combatants. The legal status of the franc tireurs was in fact hardly regulated, as the First Geneva Convention of 1864 was essentially limited to the protection of wounded soldiers. This legal loophole encouraged serious excesses on both sides. In addition to the participation of uniformed associations in the fighting, there were cases of the "abuse of hostages as human shields and [...] executions of recalcitrant civilians" (Heidi Mehrkens). The excesses of the war favored an expansion of the Geneva Conventions in the following decades. The battles for Bazeilles near Sedan made it particularly famous. On September 1, 1870, Bavarian soldiers shot and burned over 30 residents in the village. General von Senden proclaimed the following wording in a proclamation in December 1870:

"Any person who does not belong to the regular troops or the mobile guard and is found under the designation of irregulars or any other name with weapons, at the moment when he is caught red-handed while engaging in hostile acts against our troops, is regarded as a traitor and without any further legal proceedings, hanged or shot [...] all houses or villages that offer the guerrillas shelter and under whose protection they attack the German troops, are set on fire or shot at [...] "

The fear of franc tireurs remained in the military leadership long after the Franco-Prussian War. During the First World War, for example, the German military justified preventive measures against the civilian population in Belgium and France by having to suppress an alleged "Franctireurskrieg".

Empire founding

The proclamation of the German Empire , 3rd, so-called Friedrichsruher version, 167 × 202 cm, Bismarck Museum .
Extra sheet of the Mainzer Wochenblatt of March 3, 1871, No. 52 on the ratification of the peace treaty by Kaiser Wilhelm I.

The successes achieved together on the battlefields favored a national unification process. Although Bismarck was generally not guided by public opinion, he had been working towards the establishment of the German Empire since autumn 1870 at the latest - while the war was still in progress. There were several reasons for this. According to Bismarck's calculation, only an accession of the southern German states to the North German Confederation would deter France from future revanchism. In addition, the government was interested in a budget approval from the Reichstag . The elevation of Wilhelm I to German emperor promised to secure the necessary support in parliament. Bismarck's lengthy negotiations with the southern German governments ultimately proved successful, even if he had to make some concessions. In the November treaties, the southern German states pledged to join a German Confederation (so the official name). In return, they retained their self-administration in the postal, telegraph and rail systems. The Bavarian king remained commander in chief of his country's army in times of peace.

On December 10, 1870, the Reichstag voted for the proposal to introduce the title Kaiser in the new constitution instead of the term Presidium of the Federation . In the same act, the German Confederation was declared what would become the German Empire. The constitution did not formally enter into force until January 1, 1871. The founding of the empire was symbolically confirmed on January 18th by the proclamation of Wilhelm I as German emperor in the hall of mirrors of the Palace of Versailles near Paris. January 18th commemorated the revaluation of Frederick I as king exactly 170 years earlier. Significantly, only princes, princes and high officers were allowed to attend the ceremony. Representatives of the parliament were not invited. The French public perceived the proclamation in Versailles, the former center of power of Louis XIV , as a national humiliation . On June 28, 1919 - after Germany's defeat in World War I - the German delegation was supposed to have to sign the Versailles Peace Treaty in the same room.

End of the war and the Paris Commune

The persistent French resistance motivated Moltke to change his strategy in December 1870. The chief of staff believed that negotiations with the French government had become useless. In his view, France would have to be fully occupied in order to force a peace. The king should allow the military to do so freely - undisturbed by interference by politicians. These plans met with the resolute rejection of Bismarck, who headed for a quick compromise with the French government. After some hesitation, Kaiser Wilhelm I finally decided the conflict in Bismarck's favor. On January 23, 1871, the French government began secret armistice negotiations with Bismarck against the wishes of Interior Minister Gambetta . Here the position of the French Foreign Minister Favre prevailed, who wanted to avoid further political radicalization in enclosed Paris. On January 28, the French capital surrendered formally and a 21-day ceasefire came into force, although this did not yet apply to departments in south-east France. The end of the fighting in the rest of France enabled elections to the National Assembly on February 8 . The voters favored peace advocates and, above all, secured seats in parliament for the monarchists. After the National Assembly in Bordeaux began its work on February 12, 1871, a preliminary peace was concluded in Versailles by February 26 . The treaty provided for the cession of much of Alsace and part of Lorraine. In addition, France was to pay off war indemnity by March 1874.

The borders in Europe after the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire

To clarify further details, the two states arranged negotiations in Brussels and Frankfurt am Main. In neutral Belgium, the French delegation was able to persuade the German side to reduce the reparation payments from 6 to 5 billion gold francs and prevent France from losing the Alsatian fortress town of Belfort . The French government delayed the final peace agreement in Frankfurt on May 10, 1871 as long as possible. The tactic should increase the likelihood that other major European powers will intervene diplomatically in France's favor. However, the French government abandoned these plans after the beginning of the so-called Paris Commune and military threats from Bismarck. For the violent suppression of the revolutionary city council in Paris, the French government needed the tolerance of the German occupiers. So the French diplomats were ready to sign the peace terms now.

The formation of the Paris Commune was preceded by tensions between the monarchist-dominated National Assembly and the republican-minded capital. The government and the National Assembly met in Versailles, the former center of the Ancien Régime , from March 10, 1871 . This provoked rejection in Paris. The Paris National Guard committee then sought to establish an autonomous republic. The protest of the Parisians intensified when, on March 18, 1871, government troops tried to confiscate cannons on Montmartre . The action failed and sparked an open riot. On March 26, 1871, the Parisians elected a city council that took power over the next few months and refused to recognize the Versailles government. The so-called commune passed a number of resolutions, including the abolition of rent debts, a ban on night baking and the confiscation of religious property. In order to suppress the commune, Bismarck allowed the French government troops to be enlarged and released prisoners of war. After two months, Mac-Mahon succeeded in taking Paris. Around 20,000 Communards fell victim to the fighting in the "blood week", the "semaine sanglante".

Consequences of war

France

La tache noir / The Black Spot
Albert Bettannier : La tache noire ("The black spot").

After the war, France was weakened. It had hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded to mourn, lost 2 million of its inhabitants with the cession of Alsace-Lorraine and lost a large part of its previous iron ore supply. For the east of France, the end of the war did not mean an immediate return to normalcy. As agreed in the Versailles preliminary peace, German occupation troops were temporarily stationed in 19 departments until the required reparation sum had been paid. On the other hand, the German military withdrew from areas to the left of the Seine . In the Berlin Agreement of October 12, 1871, French diplomacy limited the occupation troops to 50,000 men and 6 departments. France paid the reparation installments faster than expected, so that in July 1873 the complete withdrawal of troops from France could begin.

The reconstruction of a French army made rapid progress: as early as December 1871, President Thiers announced that he was working towards a troop strength of 600,000 men. In response to this, Moltke began to prepare a possible preventive war against France in 1872. Bismarck rejected such projects, however, and stuck to his new course of isolating France in terms of alliance politics. In this way Paris should be prevented from a possible war of revenge. The question of the extent to which the forced cession of Alsace and Lorraine laid the foundations for the start of the First World War is highly controversial. Christoph Nonn believes that the annexation "blocked the possibility of reconciliation between the opponents of the war in 1870/1871". Klaus-Jürgen Bremm, on the other hand, refers to statements by prominent politicians and publicists in France who contradict such an assessment. The writer Remy de Gourmont described Alsace and Lorraine as "forgotten lands". In the following decades France - according to Bremm - tried rather to compensate for the loss of the two provinces through colonial seizures.

Gambetta's slogan “Pensons-y toujours, n'en parlons jamais” (“Always think about it, never talk about it”) shaped the relationship between the Third Republic and the lost provinces in the period up to the First World War. The German annexation was never completely forgotten because numerous Alsatians and Lorraine people emigrated to Paris and founded the Association Générale d'Alsace et de Lorraine there in August 1871 . According to Julia Schroda, prominent personalities from Alsace and Lorraine succeeded in bringing a reconquest back onto the official political agenda at the beginning of the First World War. The French state gave high priority to efforts to regain the lost provinces in schools. The memory of the defeat and the pursuit of revenge were a recurring topos in the literary and political culture of the country. This had little impact on actual political decisions. The socialist politician and writer Jean Jaurès commented on the situation as Ni guerre, ni renoncement. ("Never war, never waiver.").

During the First World War, the return of Alsace and Lorraine was one of the war aims of France. In addition, Paris called for the formation of a belt of states on its eastern border, which should make future invasions by the German neighbor more difficult. High compensation payments were also discussed as revenge for the reparations payments from 1871 to 1873. The Versailles Treaty  - both its content and the way in which it came about - of 1919 was shaped by the French need for revenge and laid the foundations for the far-reaching crisis of the young Weimar Republic and the rise of National Socialism . The effects of the Franco-Prussian War are not limited to French territory in Europe. In Algeria there was the Mokrani revolt , an uprising of the Algerian population against French colonial rule, which was suppressed by 1872. In Martinique , after the proclamation of the French Republic, riots broke out among the descendants of the slave population against the land-owning elite of Europeans. The unrest was quickly stopped by the armed forces stationed there.

The survival of the Third Republic proclaimed during the Franco-Prussian War still seemed uncertain until 1875. After the violent suppression of the Paris Commune, the reputation of the left wing of the Republicans was badly damaged. Orléanists and Legitimists continued to dominate parliament. While the Orléanists wanted to bring the younger line of the Bourbon dynasty back to the throne, the Legitimists favored the older line. On August 31, 1871, parliament elected Adolphe Thiers, who was politically decisive in the suppression of the Paris Commune, as French President. However, its rapprochement with republican forces did not go down well with the monarchist-minded camps. In addition, Thiers refused to campaign for the restoration of the papal papal state. This cost him further sympathy among conservative circles, so that he was voted out by parliament on May 24, 1873. With the resignation of the president, the way seemed free for opponents of the republican form of government. Legitimists and Orléanists agreed on Henri d'Artois , the grandson of Charles X. However , he spoke out against retaining the tricolor and wanted to return to the white flag of the Bourbons, which Parliament rejected. In the years that followed, Republicans grew in influence. Finally, on January 30, 1875, parliament voted 353 to 352 for the form of government as a republic.

Germany

Festive decorations and grandstands at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin for the entry of Kaiser Wilhelm I and the army on June 16, 1871
The Lübeck battalion, which at the time still belonged to the 2nd Hanseatic Infantry Regiment No. 76 , held a parade on the Lübeck market square .

With the establishment of an empire , Bismarck cemented a German empire excluding Austria-Hungary . The formation of the small German empire changed the power structure in Europe permanently. Germany replaced France as the most important continental power, which is why the former British Prime Minister Disraeli described the establishment of an empire as more momentous than the French Revolution . In 1871 the German Empire covered over 500,000 square kilometers and had about 41 million inhabitants. In terms of area and population, it was the second largest country in Europe. A few years later, Germany was to be among the world's best economically. The warlike rise of the new power aroused in many European states the fear of an even further expansion policy of Berlin. The Prussian model of general conscription for short periods of service quickly spread around the world.

The fact that the founding of the first German nation-state was an authoritarian "birth of war" enforced by the Prussian government made it difficult to unify the empire in the following decades. German nationalism from 1871 onwards was mainly defined in terms of delimitation from France and to the exclusion of minorities, the so-called "enemies of the Reich" (Poles, Danes, Catholics and Social Democrats). The historian Eckart Conze therefore believes that “a liberal, also pluralistic nationalism had a hard time against the background [of the political founding of the empire]”.

The perception of the military in civil society changed as a result of the Franco-German War. The army was now seen in Germany as the midwife of national unity. Criticism of the procedure during the war, as it was expressed by some social democratic politicians, was not a majority in the population. Many military norms and behaviors flowed into everyday life. A military spirit was cultivated even in schools. At the same time, the military claimed a greater role for themselves in politics. High-ranking generals often made demands of the government for further armament and preventive wars. The so-called Sedan Day on September 2nd took the most prominent place in everyday life . He commemorated the battle of Sedan and the capture of Napoleon III. Although the Sedanag never developed into an officially confirmed national holiday, festive events were held at universities and schools in Prussia on its date. The war clubs held parades in the streets.

The French reparations were one of the triggers of the German boom in the early days . The French payments gave the German capital market additional impetus and increased the willingness of the bourgeoisie to invest. Between 1871 and 1873 around 928 joint stock companies were established. The railways as well as the steel, coal and mechanical engineering industries benefited in particular.

The cartoon propagates the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine.

Parts of Alsace and Lorraine officially fell to the German Empire with the Peace of Frankfurt. There was no referendum on integration. The imperial law of June 9, 1871 united the two areas to form the newly created imperial state of Alsace-Lorraine .

reception

Popular cultural commemoration

Numerous war memorials from 1870/71 in Germany commemorate the dead of the war, including on Christian-Friedrich-Voigt-Platz in Flensburg .

Due to personal experiences and the major political changes, the war remained firmly anchored in the consciousness of contemporaries. Numerous monuments and memorials commemorating the fallen were erected in France, Germany, the formerly German Eupen in Belgium and Switzerland . In Germany in particular, numerous streets and squares were renamed after officers and locations of the battles. The Musée de l'Armée in Paris (2017) and the Military History Museum of the Bundeswehr in Dresden (2020) presented major special exhibitions on the Franco-German War .

After 1870 numerous war novels, autobiographies and historiographical texts appeared in Germany and France. In the case of French works in particular, the genres often cannot be strictly delimited from one another. Whether what is told is of a fictional nature or is based on actual experiences is usually left open. One of the most successful works of French war literature was Émile Zola's La Débâcle (The Collapse) . Around 190,000 copies were sold by 1897. The popular French war novels focus, among other things, on "the desperate heroism of the French troops, the sufferings of the Parisians during the siege of the city [and] the attacks by the foreign occupation". Other French war novels took place in the future and propagated a military reconquest of Alsace and Lorraine. So far, only a few research results are available on German war literature. The only exceptions are investigations into publications by Karl May ( Die Liebe des Ulanen ) and Theodor Fontane . Fontane was active as a war correspondent. When he  explored Domrémy-la-Pucelle  - the birthplace of Joan of Arc - which was not occupied by Prussian troops , he was taken prisoner by the French. The writer processed his experience in the autobiography Prisoners of War . After the end of the war, Fontane visited France again in 1871, which was still partly occupied by German troops. In 1872 his travelogue from the days of the occupation was published .

The awards of honor of the Sedan Festival 1916 in the office of the Lübeck medical column

On the German side, the Franco-German War was often equated with the so-called Wars of Liberation . As in 1813 - according to the narrative - the Germans once again went to war together against France in 1870. Again the fight was directed against a member of the Napoleon I dynasty . The contemporaries also thought back to the Napoleonic wars , as their fathers and grandfathers were involved in them and there was no major war between states afterwards. In particular, contemporaries made analogies between the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 and the Battle of Sedan in 1870. Alfred Spitzer, the author of the dedicatory inscription of the Völkerschlachtdenkmals in Leipzig, expressed this in 1913 - on the centenary of the battle - as follows: “Leipzig [...] was the sedan of the first Napoleon, here the principles grew out of the later that in the fight against the last Napoleon, a powerful German unitary state was founded ”. The war of 1870/1871 was therefore popularly known under the name "Leipzig - one-and-one Leipzig". In fact, the war of 1813 had little to do with a real German national war. Many Rhine Confederation states only turned away from France in the last moments of the war. According to the historian Hans-Ulrich Thamer, the Franco-German War was also accompanied by a shift in the national bourgeois commemorative culture: the memory of the Battle of Leipzig was still strongly shaped by ideals of political freedom and the unsolved problem of national unity. This commemorative culture, supported by the bourgeoisie, was gradually replaced annually from 1871 onwards by that of the Sedan Day on September 2 and the Emperor's birthday. This happened against the background of the establishment of the nation state and - according to Thamer - the growing concern of the bourgeoisie about a growing labor movement, against which the existing political system of the German Empire promised protection. The liberal-national component was lost in the sedan cult, which was loyal to the authorities.

historiography

Historiography before the First World War

The Franco-Prussian War was a challenge for historiography in France, because several highly controversial aspects had to be dealt with in the respective political camps. From a republican, conservative, monarchist or secular perspective, the change from the Napoleonic Empire to the Republic and the Paris Commune was assessed very differently. There was no uniform, powerful pattern of interpretation. Republican-minded historians around Gabriel Monod and Ernest Renan blamed the poor organization of the army and insufficiently patriotic education in schools and universities for the French defeat. According to their opinion, France must take a reform course similar to that followed by Prussia after the defeat against Napoleon I.

In Pro-Prussian historiography, the Franco-German War seemed to form a unity with the German-Danish War of 1864 and the German War of 1866. The conflicts were seen as stages on the way to the Prussian-German nation state, the so-called German wars of unification . The Franco-German War played a special role in this assessment, since in its course the French "hereditary enemy" had been overcome and the establishment of an empire took place. Historians such as Treitschke , Sybel and Droysen saw this as “the high point of German history”. Leopold von Ranke saw in the war a break in the French hegemony that had shaped the European continent since Louis XIV. Representations critical of Prussia were unsuccessful during the empire, which led the Swiss cultural historian Jacob Burckhardt to comment that "the whole of world history from Adam to victorious German will be crossed out". Treitschke's German history in the 19th century played a major role in such historiography .

Historiography in the age of the world wars and the post-war period

According to Klaus-Jürgen Bremm, "historical research in Germany neglected the war of 1870/1871 for a long time since the Weimar Republic for understandable reasons". One reason for this was that many of the results of the Franco-Prussian War were reversed by the two world wars. The imperial rule of the Hohenzollern founded in 1871 came to an end in 1918, as did Alsace-Lorraine's membership of the German Empire. In the course of the German-German division after the Second World War, Germany temporarily lost its national unity. Even after reunification, the “catastrophes of the 20th century” overshadowed interest in the Franco-German War. Hermann Oncken's book Die Rheinpolitik Kaiser Napoleon III was written against the background of the discussion about Germany's responsibility for the First World War . from 1863 to 1870 and the origin of the war 1870/71 . In 1926, the historian tried to prove that France and not Prussia were to blame for the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.

After the First World War, research on the Franco-German War also changed in France. Before the First World War, the aim was partly to process a defeat and justify a possible war of revenge, but after 1918 the Franco-German War was largely forgotten. A preoccupation with the First World War seemed to be far more central to French historians. Since the war of 1870/1871 was mainly fought on French soil, the French research literature is mainly localized. There are only a few overviews such as François Roth's La guerre de 1870 from 1990 or Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau's 1870. La France dans la guerre from 1989.

With the book La guerre de 1870 by François Roth, among other things, the post-history of the Franco-Prussian War was scientifically examined in detail for the first time. Roth was able to prove that there were no major incidents on the German-French border between 1871 and 1914. Apart from the years between 1887 and 1891, trade and people were able to move freely between the two countries. Roth also emphasizes that the Franco-Prussian War did not necessarily lead to the First World War. During the July crisis in 1914 , the reconquest of Alsace and Lorraine was not on the agenda in Paris. Nevertheless, the French people have not forgotten the loss of both provinces.

Aspects in the focus of recent research

Numerous publications appeared on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Franco-German War in 2020/2021. Both in Germany and in France, many of these representations are characterized by “giving a lot of space to autobiographical sources, private writings and press products”. This also includes a historiography by the German historian Tobias Arand . His work The Franco-German War Told in Individual Fates approaches the events of the war through a multi-perspective representation. The author compiled numerous written testimonies from contemporaries who were either directly involved in the war or at least observed its development. Prominent personalities such as Bismarck, Fontane , Nietzsche and Sarah Bernhardt , as well as simple soldiers from both sides and victims of the war, have their say . Arand dismantles the historiographical winner's narrative, according to which the national enthusiasm and the jubilation over the founding of the German Empire would have silenced all critical tones. For example, the book traces the continuing reservations in southern Germany against the Prussian state and the existential fears of soldiers and their families. In their book La guerre franco-allemande de 1870. Une histoire global, published in 2020, the French historians Nicolas Bourguinat and Gilles Vogt question the local restrictions on the Franco-German War. The conflict is usually reduced to a clash between two major European powers. In fact, however, a global history of this war must be told. So many doctors, nurses, journalists and soldiers came from non-German and non-French countries. In many countries around the world, newspapers, governments and sections of the public discussed the war vigorously. Outside of Europe, the war also weakened French rule in the colonies.

War guilt issue

The opinions of historians still differ on the question of what part the two warring parties had in the beginning of the escalation. In his monograph The Outbreak of War in 1870 , published in 1970 , the historian Eberhard Kolb argued that Bismarck's approach in the run-up to the Franco-German War was more of a defensive nature. According to Kolb, during the Spanish succession crisis, “irrational-emotional factors played a dominant role” on the part of the French government. The French overreaction to the Hohenzollern candidacy could not have been foreseen for Bismarck. Kolb also refers to the fact that other heads of government misjudged the situation and did not expect such sharp statements and a declaration of war by the French government. From Bismarck's point of view, German unification was conceivable in the long term even without war, albeit under changed political conditions in France. The Chancellor had a prerequisite for this in the foreseeable death of Napoleon III, who was already terminally ill. seen.

The historian Josef Becker turned against Kolb's thesis in 1971 . In his essay on the problem of Bismarck's policy in the Spanish succession to the throne in 1870 , he argues that Bismarck deliberately provoked a war with France in order to achieve German unification and to overcome the strong South German reservations against it. In order to prevent the intervention of other great powers, it was Bismarck's aim to give the outside impression of a German defensive war. According to Becker, “it would mean assuming that Bismarck had an unusual misjudgment if one were to assume that he would have assessed the possibilities of the reactions in Paris significantly differently”. In his three source editions, published between 2003 and 2007, “ Bismarck's Spanish Diversion 1870 and the Prussian-German War for the Establishment of an Empire. Sources on the pre- and post-history of the Hohenzollern candidacy for the throne in Madrid 1866–1932 “, Becker continues to develop his thesis, using extensive source material to trace how Bismarck and his entourage consciously tried to cover up the true circumstances of the outbreak of war. This is what made the “legend of the attacked Prussia” ( Hans-Ulrich Wehler ) last so long.

Christoph Nonn, on the other hand, thinks that Bismarck could have pursued the Spanish project primarily to secure peace. After all, a Hohenzollern king on the Spanish throne could have made France shy away from a war with Prussia or at least additionally forced France to gather troops to protect its southwestern border. The American historian David Wetzel (2005) describes the prehistory of the Franco-German War as a personal -historical confrontation between the Chancellor of the North German Confederation and the French Emperor. In addition to the two central protagonists for Wetzel (Bismarck and Napoleon III), their surroundings also played an important role in triggering the war. The author names the Prussian King Wilhelm I, the French Empress Eugénie, the French Prime Minister Émile Ollivier and the French Foreign Minister Gramont. Ollivier and Gramont in particular are seen as the main actors responsible for the war. According to Wetzel, Bismarck was not working towards a war with France. Rather, with the Spanish candidacy for the throne, Bismarck tried to divert France's attention from its German unification policy. The French government reacted to the Spanish project much more aggressively than Bismarck could foresee. Steffen Bruendel accuses Wetzel's presentation of neglecting structural factors (e.g. public opinion) too much.

Totalization of war
Bavarian infantryman Max Lehner in action as a stretcher carrier

To what extent the Franco-German War was comparable to the First World War is still the subject of debate in research. In his dissertation The Home Front 1870/71. Economy and society in the Franco-German War, Alexander Seyferth classifies the Franco-German War as a stage on the way to the total wars of the 20th century. He justifies this characterization with the special role of the home front - i.e. an intensive involvement of the civilian population on the other side of the front. Seyferth shows that the new German state had to have an interest in controlling the public mood: Since the military conflict even after the capture of Napoleon III. was not finished, there was certainly criticism of the war. According to Seyferth, Prussian-German politics had to react to this and thus already laid the foundations for modern war propaganda . The Franco-German War also hit economic life hard. Because the conscript soldiers were deployed at the front, there was often a shortage of workers and production costs increased. The historian Christine Krüger criticizes Seyferth's approach, among other things, for the fact that the home front is only one characteristic of the total war among many. In addition, the humane treatment of prisoners of war speaks against a complete disenfranchisement in war. Compared to the world wars, the parties to the conflict succeeded in ending the confrontation after a relatively short period of time and thus curbing further radicalization.

Status change in her work . War experience and national perception in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 , the historian Heidi Mehrkens examines to what extent the experiences gained in the Franco-German War fostered national identification and national enemy images. She illuminates this primarily using the example of so-called “status changers”. By this she understands people whose position changed during the war - such as prisoners of war, partisans, spies, refugees, hostages and the wounded. On the one hand, according to Mehrkens, nationalism was exacerbated on both sides by the war. Fights with armed civilians, the artillery bombing of Paris and the taking of hostages are particularly responsible for this. On the other hand, prisoners of war and the injured were treated according to the standards of the martial law of the time. The nationalist charge of the Franco-Prussian War had been propagated in particular by the press and had itself affected the correspondence of the fighting soldiers.

Causes of the French defeat

In his book The Franco-Prussian War. The German conquest of France in 1870–1871 , the American military historian Geoffrey Wawro analyzes the causes of the French defeat. He emphasizes the hesitation and the lack of plan of the French military leadership. The high officers did not understand how to exploit the main advantage of the French army, the new type of Chassepot rifle . The decisive factor for the German success was the quantitative availability of soldiers (around 850,000 French forces against 1.3 million German soldiers). Later, according to Wawro, the strength of the German artillery also contributed to the French defeat. He attaches less importance to the tactical skills of the Prussian military leadership in battles.

Diaries and letters from the field

Autobiographical texts are a type of source that is increasingly becoming the focus of research. The publications based on diaries or field post letters enable historians to reconstruct contemporary perspectives and perceptions beyond the official, political patterns of interpretation. However, the actors personally involved in the war usually only released their memories several years later. The occasion was mostly national anniversaries. The writings mostly served to promote patriotic sentiments. Also the infantryman Florian Kühnhauser wanted with his war memories of a soldier of the royal Bavarian infantry regiment from 1898 - as he wrote - "to raise the love and patriotism to the closer and wider fatherland, to promote the enthusiasm for the military class". Kühnhauser came from Tettenhausen in Upper Bavaria on Waginger See . He worked as a carpenter and took part in the German War as early as 1866. His report on the Franco-Prussian War shows Kühnhauser to be a supporter of what would later become the German Empire, but he does not hide the atrocities on the battlefields and the hardships of a soldier's life.

Unlike Kühnhauser, the French diarist Geneviève Bréton belonged to the upper middle class. She lived with her parents on the Boulevard Saint-Michel in one of the posh districts of Paris. As a staunch Republican, Bréton welcomed the overthrow of the French Empire in September 1870: “Never [had] a revolution [...] been more peaceful; no rifle shot, not a drop of blood has flowed; the weather is good, the sun is shining, Paris is in a festive mood [...] ”. Shortly afterwards she experienced the everyday siege of Paris. In her diary, she complained that a grenade had struck only 50 meters from her home. In the middle of the war, the Parisian agreed to be engaged to the painter Henri Regnault . Shortly afterwards he fought as a national guard against the German besiegers. Despite the fighting, the couple planned to marry on March 7, 1871. However, that was not to come because Regnault was killed in the Battle of Buzenval on January 19, 1871.

Visual arts

In France battle paintings also played an important role in coming to terms with the defeat. The pictures often propagated the story that only the wrong decisions of the government and troop commanders or the shortage of soldiers would have thwarted a certain French victory. Accordingly, mostly not the emperor, his entourage and generals were depicted, but a few soldiers. The French battle painters stylized their struggle as a "brilliant testimony to the bravery and heroic sentiments of [their] people" (Frank Becker). The most important players in this style of painting were Alphonse de Neuville and Jean Baptiste Édouard Detaille .

In contrast to the French paintings, in the German paintings the military leadership elite is often in the center of the picture or in the foreground. Many of the commanding officers and princes invited battle painters such as Georg Bleibtreu and Anton von Werner to their headquarters. The function of the pictures was to ensure “their prestige and fame”. According to the narrative of many paintings, the warlike successes of the German nation are due to the achievements of their leaders. In both Germany and France, photography played a subordinate role in the memory of the war. The long exposure times only made it possible to show dead or posing soldiers, but not the moving battle itself. Compared to painting, photography had hardly established itself as an art form that could be exhibited.

swell

  • The Franco-German War 1870–1871. Edited by the War History Department of the Great General Staff. Mittler, Berlin 1872–1881. (5 volumes, 3 map cases)
  • Helmuth von Moltke : History of the Franco-German War from 1870–1871. Popular edition to commemorate our victories 25 years ago in the great battles of 1870–1871. Mittler, Berlin 1895. ( Digitized in the Internet Archive ; Reprint: Melchior, Wolfenbüttel 2005, ISBN 3-939102-10-5 ).
  • Ernst Theophil Ferdinand Engel: The losses of the German armies to officers and men in the war against France in 1870 and 1871. With 7 graphic representations. Berlin 1872.
  • Theodor Fontane : The war against France 1870–1871. Berlin 1873/1876 (digital copies of Volume 1 and Volume 2 in the Internet Archive; reprint: Verlag Rockstuhl, Bad Langensalza 2004, ISBN 3-937135-25-1 , ISBN 3-937135-26-X , ISBN 3-937135-27- 8 ).
  • Sigismund von Dobschütz: "We came to the point of burning down entire villages". Letters from the Franco-German War 1870/71 and the occupation period 1872/73 from Paul von Collas to his parents. In: East German family studies. (OFK), ISSN  0472-190X , issue 1/2006, p. 321 f. ( Paul von Collas was then General Staff Officer and Adjutant under Karl Friedrich von Steinmetz and later under General Edwin von Manteuffel , whose memoir he wrote.)
  • Émile Leclercq: La Guerre de 1870. L'esprit parisien produit du regime impérial. 5th edition. Claassen, Brussels 1871. (digitized as PDF)
  • Jean Francois Lecaillon: Eté 1870. Giovanangeli, Paris 2002, ISBN 2-909034-30-5 .
  • Wilhelm Müller: Illustrated history of the Franco-German War 1870 and 1871. Melchior, Wolfenbüttel 2006, ISBN 3-939791-06-7 . (Reprint of the magnificent Hallberger edition, Stuttgart 1873. (digitized version) )
  • Florian Kühnhauser: War memories of a soldier of the royal Bavarian infantry body regiment. Liliom, Waging am See 2002. (Reprint of the original from 1898)
  • Geneviève Bréton: In the Solitude of My Soul. The Diary of Geneviève Bréton. 1867-1871. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale 1994.
  • Various editions of the Oldenburger Zeitung ( Oldenburg ), August to November 1870.

literature

German-language overview literature

French-language overview literature

prehistory

  • Josef Becker (ed.): Bismarck's Spanish "Diversion" 1870 and the Prussian-German war for the establishment of an empire. Sources on the pre- and post-history of the Hohenzollern candidacy for the throne in Madrid 1866–1932. 3 vol., Paderborn 2003-2007.
  • Josef Becker: From Bismarck's “Spanish Diversion” to the “Emser Legende” of the founder of the empire. In: Josef Becker, Johannes Burkhardt, Stig Förster, Günther Kronenbitter (eds.): Long and short ways in the First World War. Vögel, Munich 1996, pp. 87-113.
  • Josef Becker: District President Bismarck, the throne candidacy of “Prince” Leopold von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in Madrid in 1870 and the Spanish District President Prim. News from the bursting of the Spanish bomb in July 1870 from a publication by J. Rubio in the FBPG. In: Frank-Lothar Kroll (Hrsg.): Research on Brandenburg and Prussian history. Vol. 24 (2014), Issue 2: pp. 225–241.
  • Hans Fenske: 1870/71 - a provoked defensive war with France? In: Wolfgang Neugebauer and Frank-Lothar Kroll (eds.): Research on Brandenburg and Prussian History 13. (2003) Issue 1, pp. 109–114.
  • Eberhard Kolb (Ed.): Europe before the war of 1870. Power constellation - areas of conflict - outbreak of war. (= Writings of the Historical College. Colloquia. 10). Munich 1987. (digitized version)
  • Javier Rubio: The Hohenzollern candidacy of 1870 is under discussion again. In: Research on Brandenburg and Prussian history. Vol. 23 (2013), Issue 1, Duncker, pp. 61-89.
  • David Wetzel: Duel of the Giants. Bismarck, Napoleon III. and the causes of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71. Schöningh, Paderborn et al. 2005, ISBN 3-506-71791-X .

Reception and reminder

  • Tobias Arand (Ed.): The greatest war that has ever been waged. Contributions to the historical culture of the Franco-German War 1870/71. (= Culture of history and war. Volume 2). University of Münster Central Coordination of Teacher Training (ZfL), Münster 2008, ISBN 978-3-934064-82-9 .
  • Frank Becker: Images of War and Nation. The wars of unification in the bourgeois public in Germany 1864–1913. Oldenbourg, Munich 2001.
  • Nikolaus Buschmann: encirclement and brotherhood in arms. The Public Interpretation of War and Nation in Germany (1850–1871). Goettingen 2003.
  • Alexander Jordan , Thomas Madeja, Winfried Mönch (arr.): From emperor to emperor. Memories of the Franco-German War of 1870/71. Catalog for the special exhibition, July 31 to October 31, 2010 in the Military History Museum Rastatt (= study collections and special exhibitions in the Military History Museum Rastatt. No. 8). Edited by the Association of Friends of the Defense History Museum Schloss Rastatt. Rastatt 2010, ISBN 978-3-9810460-5-2 .
  • Heidi Mehrkens: change of status. War experience and national perception in the Franco-Prussian War 1870/71. Essen 2008, ISBN 978-3-89861-565-5 .
  • Frank Kühlich: The German soldiers in the war of 1870/71. A representation of the situation and the experiences of the German soldiers in the Franco-Prussian War. Frankfurt / Main 1995.
  • Christian Rak: War, Nation and Denomination. The experience of the Franco-German war of 1870/71. Paderborn 2004.

Question about the totalization of the war

  • Stig Forester; Jörg Nagler (Ed.): On the Road to Total War. The American Civil War and the German Wars of Unification, 1861-1871. German Historical Institute, Washington, DC 1997, ISBN 0-521-56071-3 . (English).
  • Förster, Stig , Moltke, Helmut (eds.): From cabinet war to people's war. Bouvier, Bonn / Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-416-80655-7 .
  • Nikolaus Buschmann, Dieter Langewiesche: “Setting Limits to the War of Extermination”: Types of War of the 19th Century and the Franco-German War 1870/71. Hidden war - People's and national war - Revolutionary war - Jihad. In: Beyrau, Dietrich et al. (Ed.), Forms of War. From antiquity to the present, Paderborn 2007, pp. 163–196.
  • Mark R. Stoneman: The German atrocities in the war of 1870/71 using the example of Bavaria. In: Sönke Neitzel , Daniel Hohrath (Ed.): War atrocities. The delimitation of violence in armed conflicts from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Paderborn 2008, ISBN 978-3-506-76375-4 , pp. 223-239.

To individual scenes of the war

  • Rachel Chrastil: The Siege of Strasbourg. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England 2014, ISBN 978-0-674-72886-8 .
  • Douglas Fermer: Sedan 1870. The Eclipse of France. Pen & Sword Military, Barnsley 2008, ISBN 978-1-84415-731-0 .
  • Matthias Steinbach : Abyss Metz. War experience, everyday siege and national education in the shadow of a fortress 1870/71. (= Series of Paris historical studies. ) Oldenbourg, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-486-56609-1 .

Home front

  • Alexander Seyferth: The Home Front 1870/71. Economy and Society in the Franco-German War. Paderborn 2007. ISBN 978-3-506-75663-3 .

Individual armies

Peace agreement

  • Eberhard Kolb: The way out of the war. Bismarck's policy in war and peace initiation 1870/71. 1989, ISBN 3-486-54641-4 .
  • Eberhard Kolb: The difficult way to peace. The problem of the end of the war in 1870/71. (= Writings of the Historical College . Lectures. Volume 11). Munich 1985. (digitized version)

Web links

Wikisource: Topic page Franco-German War  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Franco-German War  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Remarks

  1. ^ The Franco-German War 1870/71. Lemo of the German Historical Museum, Berlin 2014.
  2. ^ The Franco-German War 1870/71. Lemo of the German Historical Museum, Berlin 2014.
  3. Michael Clodfelter: Warfare and armed conflicts: a statistical reference to casualty and other figures, 1500-2000. Mc Farland, Jefferson NC, 2002, ISBN 0-7864-1204-6 , p. 210.
  4. ^ Frédérick Nolte: L'Europe militaire et diplomatique au dix-neuvième siècle, 1815-1884 . E. Plon, Nourrit et ce., 1884, pp. 527 (French).
  5. ^ Nolte: L'Europe militaire et diplomatique. 1884, pp. 526-527.
  6. This designation can be found, for example, as the title of an anthology by Eberhard Kolb (ed.): Europe before the war of 1870. Power constellation - areas of conflict - outbreak of war. (= Writings of the Historical College. Colloquia. 10). Oldenbourg, Munich 1987; See also: Frank Kühlich: The German soldiers in the war of 1870/71. A representation of the situation and the experiences of the German soldiers in the Franco-German War. Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1995.
  7. This designation can be found, for example, as the title of a monograph by Michael Howards: The Franco-Prussian War. The German Invasion of France, 1870–1871. Dorset, New York 1961; See also: Geoffrey Wawro: The Franco-Prussian War. The German Conquest of France in 1870–1871. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2003.
  8. Nicolas Bourguinat / Gilles Vogt: La guerre franco-allemande de 1870. Une histoire global , Flammarion, Paris 2020, p. 8.
  9. ^ Nikolaus Buschmann: encirclement and brotherhood in arms. The Public Interpretation of War and Nation in Germany 1850–1871. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2003, p. 56.
  10. Tobias Arand: 1870/71. The Franco-German War is told in individual fates. Osburg, Hamburg 2018, p. 161.
  11. Stig Förster: The German General Staff and the Illusion of the Short War, 1871-1914: Metacriticism of a Myth. In: Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift 54 ​​(1995), pp. 61–95, here pp. 69–70.
  12. ^ Entry in the image database of the Museo Napoleonico in Rome.
  13. ^ Geoffrey Wawro: The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005, p. 8.
  14. ^ Geoffrey Wawro: The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005, p. 9.
  15. ^ Geoffrey Wawro: The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005, p. 11.
  16. ^ Geoffrey Wawro: The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005, p. 26.
  17. ^ Geoffrey Wawro: The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005, p. 14.
  18. ^ Geoffrey Wawro: The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005, pp. 17-18.
  19. ^ Geoffrey Wawro: The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005, pp. 16-17.
  20. Geoffrey Wawro: The Franco-Prussian War. The German Conquest of France in 1870–1871. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005, p. 19.
  21. Michael Epkenhans : The establishment of an empire 1870/71. Beck, Munich 2020, p. 44.
  22. Ulrich Kühn: The basic idea of ​​the politics of Bismarck. (Dissertation) Döttelbach 2001, p. 262.
  23. Geoffrey Wawro: The Franco-Prussian War. The German Conquest of France in 1870–1871. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005, p. 19.
  24. Ulrich Kühn: The basic idea of ​​the politics of Bismarck. (Dissertation) Döttelbach 2001, pp. 262-263.
  25. Eberhard Kolb: Bismarck. Beck, Munich 2009, p. 81.
  26. Eberhard Kolb: Bismarck. Beck, Munich 2009, p. 82.
  27. Gerd Fesser: Sedan 1870. An ominous victory. Schöningh, Paderborn 2019, pp. 16-17.
  28. ^ Klaus-Jürgen Bremm : 70/71. Prussia's triumph over the French Empire and the consequences. Theiss, Darmstadt 2019, p. 30.
  29. Christoph Nonn: Bismarck. A Prussian and his century. Beck, Munich 2015, p. 180.
  30. Eberhard Kolb: Bismarck. Beck, Munich 2009, p. 85.
  31. Klaus-Jürgen Bremm: 70/71. Prussia's triumph over the French Empire and the consequences. Theiss, Darmstadt 2019, p. 33.
  32. Eberhard Kolb: Bismarck. Munich 2009, p. 85.
  33. ^ Klaus-Jürgen Bremm: 70/71. Prussia's triumph over the French Empire and the consequences. Theiss, Darmstadt 2019, p. 39.
  34. Michael Erbe: Napoleon III. 1848 / 52-1870. In: Peter C. Hartmann (Ed.): French kings and emperors of the modern age. From Louis XII. until Napoleon III. 1498-1870. Beck, Munich 2006, pp. 422–452, here p. 450.
  35. Christoph Nonn: Bismarck. A Prussian and his century. Beck, Munich 2015, p. 184.
  36. ^ Klaus-Jürgen Bremm: 70/71. Prussia's triumph over the French Empire and the consequences. Theiss, Darmstadt 2019, p. 40.
  37. Geoffrey Wawro: The Franco-Prussian War. The German Conquest of France in 1870–1871. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005, p. 35.
  38. Gerd Fesser: Sedan 1870. An ominous victory. Schöningh, Paderborn 2019, p. 23.
  39. Klaus-Jürgen Bremm: 70/71. Prussia's triumph over the French Empire and the consequences. Theiss, Darmstadt 2019, p. 41.
  40. Gerd Fesser: Sedan 1870. An ominous victory. Schöningh, Paderborn 2019, p. 23.
  41. ^ Entry in the image database of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  42. Eberhard Kolb: Bismarck. Beck, Munich 2009, p. 87.
  43. Gerd Fesser: Sedan 1870. An ominous victory. Schöningh, Paderborn 2019, p. 24.
  44. Christoph Nonn: Bismarck. A Prussian and his century. Beck, Munich 2015, p. 185.
  45. Klaus-Jürgen Bremm: 70/71. Prussia's triumph over the French Empire and the consequences. Theiss, Darmstadt 2019, p. 43.
  46. Josef Becker: Bismarck's Spanish Diversion 1870 and the Prussian-German war for the establishment of an empire. Sources on the pre- and post-history of the Hohenzollern candidacy for the throne in Madrid 1866–1932. Emser dispatch and legend of the founding of the Empire until the end of the Weimar Republic July 12, 1870 - September 1, 1932. Volume 3, Schöningh, Paderborn and others. 2007, p. 12.
  47. Gerd Fesser: Sedan 1870. An ominous victory. Schöningh, Paderborn 2019, p. 27.
  48. ^ Klaus-Jürgen Bremm: 70/71. Prussia's triumph over the French Empire and the consequences. Theiss, Darmstadt 2019, p. 45. and Gerd Fesser: Sedan 1870. An ominous victory. Schöningh, Paderborn 2019, p. 27.
  49. Gerd Fesser: Sedan 1870. An ominous victory. Schöningh, Paderborn 2019, p. 27.
  50. ^ Klaus-Jürgen Bremm: 70/71. Prussia's triumph over the French Empire and the consequences. Theiss, Darmstadt 2019, pp. 43–44.
  51. ^ Klaus-Jürgen Bremm: 70/71. Prussia's triumph over the French Empire and the consequences. Theiss, Darmstadt 2019, p. 226.
  52. ^ Hermann Rumschöttel: Ludwig II of Bavaria. Munich 2011, Beck, p. 59.
  53. ^ Hermann Rumschöttel: Ludwig II of Bavaria. Beck, Munich 2011, p. 59.
  54. Tobias Arand: 1870/71. The Franco-German War is told in individual fates. Osburg, Hamburg 2018, p. 118.
  55. Tobias Arand: 1870/71. The Franco-German War is told in individual fates. Osburg, Hamburg 2018, pp. 118–119.
  56. Michael Epkenhans: The Franco-German War 1870/1871. Reclam, Stuttgart 2020, p. 28.
  57. Christopher Clark: Prussia. Rise and fall. 1600-1947. Pantheon, Munich 2007, p. 787.
  58. Tobias Arand: 1870/71. The Franco-German War is told in individual fates. Osburg, Hamburg 2018, p. 122.
  59. Josef Becker: Bismarck's Spanish "Diversion" 1870 and the Prussian-German war for the establishment of an empire. Sources on the pre- and post-history of the Hohenzollern candidacy for the throne in Madrid 1866–1932. From the crisis of small German national politics to the Franco-Prussian July crisis in 1870, April 5, 1870 - July 12, 1870 . Volume II, Schöningh, Paderborn 2003, p. 621.
  60. ^ Klaus-Jürgen Bremm: 70/71. Prussia's triumph over the French Empire and the consequences. Theiss, Darmstadt 2019, p. 76.
  61. Tobias Arand: 1870/71. The Franco-German War is told in individual fates. Osburg, Hamburg 2018, p. 82.
  62. Tobias Arand: 1870/71. The Franco-German War is told in individual fates. Osburg, Hamburg 2018, p. 179.
  63. Tobias Arand: 1870/71. The Franco-German War is told in individual fates. Osburg, Hamburg 2018, p. 121.
  64. Klaus-Jürgen Bremm: 70/71. Prussia's triumph over the French Empire and the consequences. Theiss, Darmstadt 2019, pp. 24–25.
  65. Anselm Doering-Manteuffel: The German Question and the European State System 1815–1871. Munich 1993, p. 50.
  66. ^ Gabriele Metzler: Great Britain - World Power in Europe. Trade Policy in the Change of the European State System 1856–1871. De Gruyter, Berlin 1997, p. 296.
  67. Michael Epkenhans: The Franco-German War 1870/1871. Reclam, Stuttgart 2020, p. 28.
  68. Maik without time: The Franco-German War 1870/71. Prehistory, causes and outbreak of war. In: Jan Ganschow / Olaf Haselhorst / Maik Without Time (eds.): The Franco-German War 1870/71. Prehistory - course - consequences. Ares, Graz 2009, pp. 17–82, here p. 81.
  69. Denise Geng: Monarch and Military. On the relationship between political and military leadership in the 19th century. A comparison of Prussia and Germany. Lit Verlag, Berlin 2013, pp. 181-182; Luc de Vos: Belgium. Operation planning and tactics of a neutral country. In: Hans Ehlert, Michael Epkenhans, Gerhard P. Groß (eds.): The Schlieffenplan. Analyzes and documents. Schöningh, Paderborn et al. 2006, pp. 293-310, here p. 299.
  70. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: The long way to the west. German history from the end of the Old Reich to the fall of the Weimar Republic. Beck, Munich 2000, p. 203; Wilfried Radewahn: European questions and conflict zones in the calculation of French foreign policy before the war of 1870. In: Eberhard Kolb (Ed.): Europe before the war of 1870. Oldenbourg, Munich 1987, pp. 33–64, here p. 41.
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  72. Christopher Clark : Prussia. Rise and fall. 1600-1947. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-421-05392-3 , p. 626.
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