The Franco-Prussian War Essay

587 Words 3 Pages
The Franco-Prussian War

During the first half of the nineteenth century, Germany was made up of more than 30 small states, the largest and most dominant of which was Prussia. Prussia had decided that all of the states should all be united to create a bigger and better country, Germany. By the end of 1870 it had forced all of the German states to accept its authority and create the German Empire with the King of Prussia at its head (the Hohenzollen's). Everything was going to plan as Chancellor Prince Otto Von Bismarck (person who was behind the unification of Germany) had anticipated apart from the four large states in southern Germany who remained independent. Bismarck now needed a way to unite
…show more content…
But this wasn't enough for the French government so they took the matter further, and the French Ambassador was to see Wilhelm making sure that Leopold had given up all claims to the Spanish throne. Wilhelm sent a telegram to Bismarck asking him to deal with the matter. On July 13th 1870 Bismarck published an amended version of the telegram, famously known as the "Em's Telegram". This suggested that Wilhelm had deliberately insulted the French Ambassador, and the French were so outraged by this that on July 19th 1870 they declared war on Prussia just as Bismarck had planned.

For France the war was a disaster. 200,000 French troops found themselves facing 380,000 Prussian troops who were more experienced, had better leadership and organization skills, and the Prussian Mauser rifle was far better than the French Chassepot. Unfortunately 180,000 French troops were surrounded in the Fortress of Metz and the French force that had been sent to help were too surrounded at Sudan and surrendered. To make matters worse Napoleon III had also been taken prisoner, and in Paris and independent republic was set up, and the city fought on for one year until January 1871, but it was a lost battle.

As compensation for Prussia, Prussia wrote up the treaty of Frankfurt, in which France had to give Alsace and Lorraine in the North-Eastern
Open Document