History in english : the impact of the franco-prussian war
In 1870, France and Prussia were at war It was a disaster for the French who had no allies, a inefficient badly organised army and they were outnumbered. They were crushed by Otto von Bismarck’s efficient army. It was a chance for him to create a grand German national pride.
France’s defeat was humiliating. The peace treaty of Frankfurt was severe : Prussia annexed Alsace and Lorraine (region rich in iron and agricultural goods) and the defeated had to pay an indemnity of 5,000 million francs. This became a source of tension between France and Germany. Furthermore this harsh punishment wasn’t the end of France’s troubles. With the fall of Napoleon III and the creation of the 3rd Republic in France, a socialist and worker’s regime called the communards rebelled against the government in late march 1871. The Commune was a violent and bloody uprising which was finally repressed by the government.
The end of the war led to many changes in Europe. A federal German Empire governed by the Prussian King, proclaimed in the palace of Versailles was created. It incorporated the southern states like Bavaria and Württemberg. Now Germany was the most economically and military powerful nation, it also played a dominant role in the international relations in Europe. The Prussian army was an example for the other European countries. It used fast mobilisation, planning military operations, professionally trained soldiers, a competent general staff. This shown that the German Empire was ready for a future war. Other nation took advantage of France’s defeat, for example Italy took