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1. What was Bismarck afraid of most during the Franco-Prussian War? • Bismarck feared a European Congress being formed to end the war before he could defeat France.
2. Give at least five reasons why the Prussians defeated the French. Five reasons the Prussians defeated the French: • the German army was well prepared and organized for war (they actually formed the first officer training schools in all of Europe) • United chain of command under Moltke. • They were ready for war earlier than the French • They had greater troop numbers at the outset of war. 500k against 200k along the frontier in the initial stages of the conflict. • They were superior in artillery, scouting, and geography than the French.
3. Give at least two reasons why the French were defeated by the Prussians. • The French had conflicting counsels. The emperor was in nominal control but he was very ill and therefore the French war effort lacked direction. According to Grant and Temperley, “Unity, science, and concentration of purpose encountered division, tradition, and shifting plans.”
4. How did French political decisions affect the outcome of the war. • The poor performance of the French forces at Worth and at Spicheren caused the downfall of the Ollivier government. • When the French command wanted to retreat into Paris, they were refused and had to fight in an open defense of Metz. • Instead of retreating to the protection of the guns of Paris, MacMahon was forced to expend troops in the relief of the popular war hero Bazaine at Metz.
5. Where and how was Napoleon captured? • The expedition to relieve Bazaine at Metz was a failure. The emperor was eventually surrounded and cut off at Sedan after MacMahon delayed his retreat too long.
6. How did the conflict continue after the defeat of Napoleon? • The city of Paris held out against a Prussian siege from September 1870 to January 28. Many French wanted to continue the fight against the Prussians. • Leon Gambetta made a daring escape from Paris by hot air balloon to organize the French Army into a resistance capable of breaking through to Paris. It achieved limited success but after the surrender of Bazaine, the Prussians had an overwhelming troop advantage.
7. What was the make-up of the French forces trapped in Paris during the siege? • Paris had plenty of men defending the city. 80,000 troops of the line, 115,000 Garde Mobile, and 350,000 of the National Guard. Many of these troops were poorly led and poorly disciplined.
8. Why was General Bazaine sentenced to be hanged? • Many Frenchmen thought his premature surrender at Metz caused the downfall of the French 3rd Republic. He was sentenced to death but was instead exiled to Spain.
9. Why did elections have to be held before a formal surrender could take place? • The Government of National Defense was an elected body made up of only the local members from Paris and did not have the electoral mandate from the whole country. New elections had to be held at once to attain a bargaining partner that could speak for all of France.
10. How important were the Russians to Bismarck’s foreign policy? Why did the rest of Europe not intervene? • It was essential for Bismarck that the Russians stay out of the fight. The goal of his foreign policy throughout the period of his reign was the estrangement of Russia and France to prevent an alliance on both sides of Germany. • Napoleon had no help to come for him throughout Europe. Austria Hungary was sympathetic but weak, England was isolationist, Russia was firmly pro-Prussian and Italy was anxious to avoid conflict with Prussia.
11. Where was William crowned Emperor of Germany? • William was crowned Kaiser in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.
12. How was the new German government organized? How did Prussia dominate it? • Bismarck created a two chamber government with an upper house representing states (Bundesrat) and a lower house representing numbers (Reichstag). In each, Prussia was guaranteed the dominant voice or the veto.