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Sunday, 1 March 2015

Franco-Prussian War

The 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War was engineered by Otto Von Bismarck in order to unite the 39 small German states by making them fight together against a common enemy. The German chancellor tricked the French into this war by altering a telegram from the king of Prussia in which he struck out the king's conciliatory words so that the telegram sounded belligerent. As a result the French declared war.

France declared war on July 19, 1870. With her German allies and universal conscription, Prussia was able to bring together a bigger army than the French and their notable victories included Sedan, Mars-la-Tour, Gravellote, and Metz. Following the Siege of Paris, the capital fell on January 28, 1871. The consequent capture of the city by Prussian forces, led to French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire as well as the Paris Commune.

The Siege of Paris by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier. Oil on canvas.

When the Franco-Prussian war erupted in 1870, Friedrich Nietzsche left Basel and, being disqualified for other services due to his citizenship status, volunteered as a medical orderly on active duty. His time in the military was short, but he experienced much, witnessing the traumatic effects of battle and taking close care of wounded soldiers.

The composer Gabriel Fauré volunteered for military service during the Franco-Prussian War. He took part in the action to raise the Siege of Paris, and saw action at Le Bourget, Champigny and Créteil. He was awarded a Croix de Guerre.

French reservists responding to the call, painted by Pierre-Georges Jeanniot

French canned bouilli (boiled) beef was fed to the French army in the Franco-Prussian War. It was ideal for soldiers on the move; they could eat it cold straight from the can.

Thanks to food rationing during the Franco-Prussian War, French physician Apollonaire Bouchardat discovered a link between diet and diabetes management.

During the siege of Paris in 1870, the artist Manet's cat was eaten by a person, or persons, unknown.

The Parisians were forced to eat horsemeat during the Franco-Prussian war when beef was unavailable, and discovered they liked it. This prompted the French's enthusiasm for the equine cuts.

The Treaty of Frankfurt of May 10, 1871 gave Germany some mainly German speaking regions, which became the Imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine.

Treaty Of Frankfurt

During the Franco-Prussian War vaccination was not compulsory for the French army and over 23,000 died of smallpox. However vaccination was compulsory in the Prussian army and less than 300 died of the same disease.

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