Saturday, January 26, 2013

Franco-Prussian War

Hi again! Here is another video I found about Europe's 19th Century. This one is kind of long and serious, and I hope you like it. After the video I'll include a summary of the most important things on it. Enjoy.

The Franco-Prussian War

The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 was the first modern war in Europe. It was the longest military conflict fought on European soil since the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The end of the war marked the ascendancy of Imperial Germany as the preeminent military power on the continent.

In July 1870, William I sent a telegram to the Counselor of Prussia, Otto Von Bismark, explaining how the French ambassador had been cordially received on the matter of the Spanish Succession. The throne had been offered to a member of the Prussian Royal Family, a cousin of the king, but naturally France had objected. William tried to avoid war with the French by saying they wouldn't send such candidate for the throne. He told Bismark to send it to the French, but his intentions were different: he wanted a war. He altered the message, saying that Bennedetti had been dismissed out of hand. The "EMS Telegram" arrived in Paris on the 14th of July. The French were outraged and within 5 days they declared war on Prussia and its allies. 

This war was the first major disruption of the peace established after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte around 1815. The German alliance, with Prussia being the leader, became the ruling power of Europe.

The Franco-Prussian War totally changed the way of seeing war in Europe, especially because of the involvement of new weaponry technology. One of the most important weapons used by the Prussians was the well-known bolt action Dreyse Needle Gun, and the Prussians really understood how to use modern technology with steel artillery. They also considered mobility really important, which the French didn't. Even though the French had more firepower with their Chassepot Rifle, they didn't really invest much money in artillery, and that really costed them the war. Another difference in weaponry were the breech-loading weapons, which were better than the muzzle-loading weapons because you get more cover and don't have to move yourself or the weapon to load, aim and shoot. Since breech-loading weapons are loaded from the back you can do all this from the same position. Another weapon was the mitrailleuse, which was kind of a machine gun, but the French didn't use it well and it was smashed by Prussian artillery before making major damage. 

Warfare during the Franco-Prussian War was improved in a major scale, and lots of the weapons and tactics developed were used again during WWI

After France's defeat, the Germans assumed almost total control of Central and Eastern Europe. The French thought they would have another period of peace, but it didn't happen. One of the most bloody and violent insurrection of the 19th century arose from Paris. It was called the Paris Commune. During the Commune there was a period of great suffering, because the revolutionary spirit of the French was suppressed by the remaining French troops. The turmoil of civil war captured France again. The commune wasn't one single phenomenon, but it was many things to many different people. The bloody week was a great example of the suffering during the Commune, in which Paris was sieged. The people of Paris ate rats, making rat hunts and selling them at high prices. On May 28th, 1871 the Commune finally fell, and over 20 thousand people were savagely slaughtered, public buildings were burnt down and France's symbols of past glories were destroyed.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent summary of this serious, factual, analytical video. Well done.