The Franco-Prussian War – Essay Example

The Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the North German Confederation under command of the Kingdom of Prussia. The conflict was based on the Prussian ambition to extend German unification and French fear of Prussian dominance in Europe politics that would result if the Prussians succeeded.

A few historians claim that the Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck purposely incited the French into proclaiming battle on Prussia to draw the free southern German states — Baden, Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse-Darmstadt — into a coalition with the North German Confederation. On July 19, 1870, the French parliament declared war on Prussia. The German triumph in the conflict brought about the unification of Germany and the possible breakdown of the Second French Domain. The Franco-Prussian Conflict started on July 15, 1870, when the Prussian armed force attacked the French territory of Alsace-Lorraine.

The French army was quickly defeated, and the Germans captured French Emperor Napoleon III at the Battle of Sedan on September 2. The Prussian army then advanced on Paris, and the French government surrendered on September 4. The Prussian army occupied Paris on September 28.

The war ended on January 28, 1871, with the signing of the Treaty of Frankfurt. Under the terms of the treaty, France ceded Alsace-Lorraine to Prussia, and Prussia was recognized as the leading German state.

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