• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • FRANKISH KINGDOM
  • JOHANNES REUCHLIN
  • THE WEIMAR CONSTITUTION
  • W
  • INFLATION, REPARATIONS, AND
  • THE STRESEMANN ERA, 19231929
  • STABILIZATION AND LOCARNO,
  • CULTURE AND SOCIETY
  • ROAD TO DICTATORSHIP,
  • T
  • CONSOLIDATION OF POWER
  • THE NAZI TOTAL STATE
  • ULRICH VON HUTTEN
  • PERSECUTION OF THE JEWS
  • RELIGION AND THE CHURCHES
  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • W
  • THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
  • INVASION OF RUSSIA
  • HITLERS PLANS FOR EUROPE
  • TURNING OF THE TIDE,
  • THE HOME FRONT
  • THE RESISTANCE
  • PHILIP MELANCHTHON
  • D-DAY TO DEFEAT NAZI GERMANY
  • THE HOLOCAUST
  • A
  • ALLIED PLANS AND CONFERENCES
  • DENAZIFICATION
  • POLITICAL PARTIES AND TRADE
  • LOCAL STATE FORMATION
  • PARLIAMENTARY COUNCIL AND THE
  • ECONOMIC RECONSTRUCTION
  • T
  • ERASMUS OF ROTTERDAM
  • BUNDESTAG ELECTION AND
  • REGAINING SOVEREIGNTY AND INTEGRATION
  • RECONSTRUCTION AND THE ECONOMIC
  • TRANSITIONAL YEARS AND
  • THE GRAND COALITION AND YOUTH
  • THE SOCIAL-LIBERAL COALITION
  • OSTPOLITIK (FOREIGN POLICY
  • CULTURE AND SOCIETY
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE
  • SCHMIDT ERA: SOCIAL UNREST,
  • PRINTING AND MEDICINE
  • THE KOHL ERA, 19821998
  • T
  • UPRISING OF JUNE 17, 1953
  • ECONOMIC SYSTEM
  • SOCIETY, EDUCATION, AND
  • RELATIONS WITH THE FEDERAL
  • R
  • CONSEQUENCES AND PROBLEMS OF
  • ECONOMIC UNIFICATION,
  • P
  • RENAISSANCE ART
  • UNIFICATION POLITICS AND ITS
  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • GOVERNMENT AND ELECTIONS,
  • HISTORICAL DICTIONARY A
  • A
  • Abwehr
  • Adenauer, Konrad
  • Afrika Korps
  • Agadir Incident
  • Agrarian League
  • NEED FOR CHURCH REFORM
  • Agricola, Rudolf
  • Air Force
  • Albert (Albrecht) of
  • Albert V
  • Algeciras, Conference of
  • Allied Control Council
  • Alsace-Lorraine
  • Altdorfer, Albrecht
  • Amiens, Battle of
  • Anabaptists
  • P
  • Anglo-German Naval Treaty
  • Anschluss
  • Anti-Comintern Pact
  • anti-Semitism/Jew hatred
  • anti-Semitism
  • Anti-Socialist Law
  • Ardennes, Battle of the
  • Arendt, Hannah
  • Armed Forces (Wehrmacht)
  • Armed Forces (Bundeswehr):
  • LUTHER AND MELANCHTHON
  • Army (Prussian to 1860)
  • Army (Second Empire,
  • Asylum Law
  • Atlantic, Battle of the
  • Auerstadt, Battle of
  • Augsburg, Diet of
  • Augsburg, Religious Peace of
  • Augsburg, War of the League
  • Augsburg Confession
  • Augspurg, Anita
  • LUTHER AND ZWINGLI
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau
  • Austerlitz, Battle of
  • Austria
  • Austrian Succession, War of
  • autarchy
  • autobahns
  • Axis, The
  • B
  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Ballin, Albert
  • CAROLINGIAN EMPIRE
  • KNIGHTS REVOLT AND GREAT
  • Barbie, Klaus
  • Barmen Declaration
  • Barth, Karl
  • Basic Treaty
  • Bauernschutz
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  • Baumer, Gertrud
  • Bavaria
  • Bavarian Peoples Party (BVP)
  • Bavarian Succession, War of
  • REFORMATION AND THE TOWNS
  • Bayer AG
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  • Bebel, August
  • Beck, Ludwig August Theodor
  • Beckmann, Max
  • Beer-Hall Putsch of 1923
  • Beethoven, Ludwig van
  • Benjamin, Walter
  • Benn, Gottfried
  • Bennigsen, Rudolf von
  • ANABAPTISM AND MÜNTZER
  • Benz, Carl Friedrich
  • Bergen-Belsen
  • Berghof
  • Berlin
  • Berlin, Battle for (Fall of)
  • Berlin, Congress of
  • Berlin-Baghdad Railway
  • Berlin Blockade
  • Berlin Conference
  • Berlin Wall
  • CALVINISM IN GERMANY
  • Bernstein, Eduard
  • Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald
  • Biedermeier
  • Biermann, Wolf
  • Bismarck, Otto Eduard Leopold
  • blank check
  • Bleichröder, Gerson von
  • Blenheim, Battle of
  • Blomberg, Werner von
  • Blücher, Gebhard
  • CHARLES V AND THE REFORMATION
  • Böll, Heinrich
  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich
  • Bonn
  • Bormann, Martin
  • Born, Max
  • Borsig, August
  • Bosch, Robert
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Brahms, Johannes
  • Brandenburg
  • C
  • Brauchitsch, Walther von
  • Braun, Eva
  • Braun, Karl Ferdinand
  • Braun, Otto
  • Braun, Wernher von
  • Brecht, Bertolt
  • Bremen/Bremerhaven
  • Brentano, Elizabeth Bettina
  • Breslau
  • The Bridge
  • THE THIRTY YEARS WAR
  • Britain, Battle of
  • Brüning, Heinrich
  • Buchenwald
  • Bülow, Bernhard von
  • Bundesrat
  • Bundestag
  • Burschenschaft
  • C
  • Canisius, Peter
  • canton system
  • A
  • Carlsbad Decrees
  • Celtis, Conrad
  • Center Party
  • Chamberlain, Houston Stewart
  • Charles V
  • Charles VI
  • Charles VII
  • Charlottenburg, Palace of
  • Christian Democratic Union
  • Christian Social Union
  • LITERATURE
  • Civil Code, German (Revised
  • Clausewitz, Carl von
  • Concordat of 1933
  • Condor Legion
  • The Confederation of the Rhine was a
  • Confessing Church
  • Congress of Vienna
  • conservatism
  • constitutional traditions
  • Counter-Reformation
  • MUSIC
  • Cranach, Lucas, the Elder
  • cultured elites
  • D
  • Daimler, Gottlieb
  • Danish War
  • Danzig
  • Dawes Plan
  • D-Banks
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  • Degenerate Art
  • SAXON AND SALIAN DYNASTIES,
  • SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
  • denazification
  • Denck, Hans
  • Depression, The Great
  • Depressions
  • détente
  • Diesel, Rudolf
  • Dietrich, Josef Sepp
  • Diplomatic Revolution of 1756
  • Dix, Otto
  • Döblin, Alfred
  • GOTTFRIED WILHELM VON LEIBNIZ
  • Dönitz, Karl
  • Dresden
  • Droste-Hülshoff, Annette
  • Dual Alliance
  • Dürer, Albrecht
  • Düsseldorf
  • E
  • Edict of Toleration
  • Ehrlich, Paul
  • Eichendorff, Joseph von
  • PIETISM
  • Eichmann, Adolf
  • Eicke, Theodor
  • Einsatzgruppen
  • Einstein, Albert
  • Eisner, Kurt
  • El Alamein, Battles of
  • Elbe River
  • Ems Telegram
  • Enabling Act
  • Engels, Friedrich
  • ROCOCO
  • ENIGMA/ULTRA
  • Enlightenment
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  • Ernst, Max
  • Erzberger, Matthias
  • Eugene, prince of Savoy
  • European Coal and Steel
  • European Defense Community
  • A
  • European Economic Community
  • European Union
  • euthanasia
  • expressionism
  • Falkenhayn, Erich von
  • F
  • Fatherland Party
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  • TURKISH WARS
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  • feminism, 18151945
  • feminism, 19452005
  • Ferdinand II
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  • Fichte, Johann Gottlieb
  • Final Solution
  • Fischer, Josef Joschka
  • Fischer von Erlach, John
  • Fontane, Theodor
  • WARS OF AUSTRIAN SUCCESSION
  • Four Year Plan
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  • Frankfurt am Main
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  • STATE REFORMS
  • Frederick William
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  • Free Corps
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  • Führerprinzip
  • G
  • Galen, Clemens August von
  • Gellert, Christian
  • General Directory
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  • Gentz, Friedrich
  • JOSEPH II AND REFORM
  • German Christians
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  • HOHENSTAUFEN DYNASTY,
  • VIENNA AND ARCHITECTURE
  • German Reich (Imperial) Party
  • German Womens Bureau
  • German Workers Party
  • Germany Treaty
  • R
  • FREDERICK III
  • FREDERICK WILLIAM I, THE
  • FREDERICK THE GREAT
  • SEVEN YEARS WAR
  • S
  • ECONOMY
  • POLITICAL DECENTRALIZATION
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE
  • HABSBURG DYNASTY
  • CULTURE
  • THE ENLIGHTENMENT
  • LITERATURE AND DRAMA
  • PHILOSOPHY
  • SECRET SOCIETIES
  • T
  • R
  • THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT
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  • EARLY INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
  • CITIES AND CRAFT GUILDS
  • REVOLUTIONS OF 1848
  • ARMY REFORM AND PARLIAMENTARY
  • O
  • THE DANISH WAR, 1864
  • AUSTRO-PRUSSIAN WAR, 1866
  • THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR,
  • COLLAPSE OF THE SECOND FRENCH
  • I
  • N
  • ART AND ARCHITECTURE
  • ORIGINS OF CAPITALISM
  • SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND WOMEN
  • EDUCATION
  • T
  • POLITICAL PARTIES
  • THE KULTURKAMPF, SOCIALISM,
  • FOREIGN POLICY AND ALLIANCE
  • BISMARCKS DISMISSAL
  • WILHELMINE GERMANY
  • T
  • THE QUESTION OF
  • LATE MEDIEVAL CULTURE
  • CONDUCT OF THE WAR
  • PEACE RESOLUTION, REFORM, AND
  • AN UNPLANNED REVOLUTION
  • N
  • POLITICAL PARTIES UNPREPARED
  • A REVOLUTIONARY PATTERN
  • WORKERS AND SOLDIERS
  • KURT EISNER AND REVOLUTION IN
  • A REPUBLIC PROCLAIMED
  • A SEVERE ARMISTICE
  • T
  • ESTABLISHMENT OF A REVOLUTIONARY
  • EBERT MAKES A DEAL WITH THE
  • THE SPARTACISTS
  • INTERPRETATION OF THE
  • A VENGEFUL PEACE
  • V
  • THE GOALS OF THE PEACEMAKERS
  • TERMS OF THE TREATY
  • WAR GUILT AND REPARATIONS
  • DENUNCIATION AND RELUCTANT
  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR,

    187071

    Since the 17th century French leaders had tried to prevent the rise of a united

    German empire across the Rhine. With Bismarcks diplomatic victories and

    Prussias military successes in 1864 and 1866 there was increasing apprehension

    in France over the prospects of having a united and powerful German

    neighbor. The French emperor, Napoleon III, had remained neutral during the

    Danish and the Austro-Prussian wars. In 1866 he had expected the conflict to

    be prolonged and exhausting and end in a stalemate, thus weakening both

    Prussia and Austria. Based on a secret meeting with Bismarck at Biarritz in

    October 1865, where Bismarck made vague hints that Napoleon would be compensated

    along the Rhine if the French would not interfere in a conflict with

    Austria, Napoleon reasonably expected to be rewarded with territorial compensations.

    When in the summer of 1866 Napoleon demanded the left bank of

    the Rhine, including the city of Mainz, Bismarck categorically refused.

    Napoleons demands aided Bismarck in the formation of an alliance with the

    southern German states against France. Napoleon also failed in his attempt to

    purchase Luxembourg in 1867 and the Belgium railroad system, which Bismarck

    and the governments of England and Russia opposed. Because of

    increasing internal opposition to the Second Empire, the monarchists believed

    that a humiliation of Prussia would restore the support of the French people

    for Napoleon. With his armies newly equipped Napoleon believed that the

    French army was superior and could successfully intimidate Prussia. Napoleon

    attempted but failed to successfully negotiate alliances with Austria and Italy

    and mistakenly hoped that the south German states would support France.

    For his part Bismarck considered a war with France to be unavoidable. He

    also was convinced that the southern German states would support Prussia and

    that the European powers would remain neutral. He foresaw that such a war

    would irresistibly draw together all the provinces and people of Germany and

    that the anticipated victory would be crowned by the achievement of national

    unity. Not only had Bismarck gained for Prussia diplomatic protection, but Prussias

    armed forces were well prepared. The Prussian general staff had worked

    out a detailed strategic plan and the armed forces and the trained reserves could

    be brought to full war strength at short notice.

    Napoleon soon got the opportunity to administer the wished-for diplomatic

    humiliation of Prussia. As a result of a revolution in 1869 the Spanish throne

    had become vacant, and the Spaniards had offered the crown to Prince Leopold

    of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, a member of the Catholic branch of the Hohenzollerns

    and a distant relative of the king of Prussia. The French government

    immediately protested that this would resurrect the old threat of the Austrian-

    Spanish Habsburgs surrounding France. Aware that the candidacy of Prince

    Leopold was disagreeable to France, Bismarck secretly tried to secure the acceptance

    of the candidacy while Prussian king William, anxious to preserve the

    peace, tried to persuade the prince to decline the Spanish offer.

    78 Germany

    Even though Prince Leopold finally announced that he would not be a candidate

    for the Spanish throne, Napoleon listened, however, to the advice of the

    imperialist extremists in the French cabinet, and committed the greatest mistake

    of his political career. In July 1870, while King William was vacationing at

    Bad Ems, the French ambassador demanded of the king a formal pledge never

    again to give his consent to another candidacy of a Hohenzollern to the Spanish

    throne. The king of Prussia was angered and asked that Bismarck be

    informed by telegram of the French demands and of Williams negative answer.

    The message was sent from Bad Ems to Bismarck, who then proceeded to condense

    and omit passages in his Ems Dispatch. He made it appear that the

    Prussian king had been grossly insulted and that the French ambassador had

    been intentionally slighted. The Ems Dispatch was published in the press, and

    with inflammatory comments the demand for war became so great in France

    that Napoleon responded with a declaration of war (July 19). Unlike some historians

    who have claimed that Bismarck was trying to create a war, it is fairly

    certain that Bismarck did not plan a war, but the crisis that he encouraged and

    the maladroitness of the French government and popular passion conveniently

    provided a war of opportunity.

    The German princes immediately rallied to the support of Prussia, placing

    their armies under the command of the Prussian general staff. The nominal

    commander in chief of the German armies was the king of Prussia, but all military

    movements and operations were directed by General Helmuth von

    Moltke, whose strategic genius had helped win the war against Austria. He

    divided his forces into three large sectors: a central army under the command

    of Prince Frederick Charles, a northern right wing under General von Steinmetz,

    and a southern left wing, consisting of contingents from Baden and

    Bavaria, under the crown prince of Prussia. Almost 1,830,000 soldiers were

    quickly mobilized within 18 days, unlike the slow mobilization of the French.

    About 462,000 were transported to the front. The Germans had the advantage

    with their railroads, supply system, high command, and general staff. This war

    also became a new kind of peoples war and not the traditional type of 1866.

    New weaponry also made the battles more deadly as both infantry and cavalry

    were slaughtered with the French repeating rifle, the Dreyse needle gun

    of the Prussians, and the firepower of the breech-loading cannons of Krupp. As

    the widely dispersed French reserves struggled to join their armies, the Prussian

    armies broke through the Lorraine gap, winning the battles of Vionville-

    Mars-la-Tour, Saint-Privat, and Gravelotte, which placed them between Paris

    and the main French armies of Marshall, Bazaine, and MacMahon. Marshall

    was cornered into the fortress of Metz. When the armies of MacMahon and the

    emperor tried to aid Bazaine, some of the forces were destroyed while others

    were surrounded at Sedan and bombarded until they surrendered. Six weeks

    after the war began Napoleon and his army of 100,000 troops surrendered.

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