Profile of the Franco-Prussian War
Germany became the
Hi I’m Jade, and today, with About.com, we are going to discuss the Franco-Prussian War.From July 19, 1870 to May 10, 1871, France and the Kingdom of Prussia, which was aided by the North German Confederation and the South German States, fought a war that led to the establishment of the German Empire. Though fought under the guise of disputes regarding the potential crowning of Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern to the Spanish Throne, the war is generally attributed to the political ambition of Otto Van Bismarck.Tensions between France and Germany had been high since Germany’s loss during the Napoleonic Wars. Seeing a chance to capitalized on this long-standing grudge to bring about the unification of Germany, Otto Van Bismarck backed the crowning of Leopold in Spain, in opposition to France, and published an edited conversation between King Wilhelm of Prussia and the French Ambassador to Prussia which appeared insulting to each country. Napoleon III, Emperor of France, declared war on Prussia. As Bismarck had hoped, the French aggression brought the German states together alongside the Prussian army.The war was short, with a clear Prussian-German victory. Though the fighting lasted for months, Napoleon III and his army were captured following their surrender at the Battle of Sedan on September 2, 1870. Hearing of his capture, the French overthrew the Second French Empire and instated the Third French Republic. There were negotiations to end the war, but they failed because France saw Bismarck’s terms as too severe; this lead to further fighting and the fall of Paris on January 20, 1871. France unsuccessfully attempted to unify armies through the country and ultimately signed the Treaty of Frankfurt on May 10, 1871; agreeing to give the German Empire Alsace-Lorraine and to pay a war indemnity of five billion francs.The most notable outcome of the war occurred prior to its end. On January 18, 1871, the outstanding southern German states unified with the Northern German Confederation creating the German Empire, led by the King of Prussia. With this, Germany became the largest power in Europe.Thanks for watching. For more information, please see About.com.