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The Franco Prussian War 1870 - 1871. French soldiers 1870. Prussian soldiers advancing past a dead French soldier. Prussian Soldiers. Qu 30. Alliances indicate Bismarck’s next move. ( ie . make France the ‘bad guy’).

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qu 30 alliances indicate bismarck s next move ie make france the bad guy
Qu 30. Alliances indicate Bismarck’s next move. (ie. make France the ‘bad guy’)
  • He needed to get the 4 South German states on his side. They were not keen to ally with Prussia as the mainly Catholic south distrusted the mainly Protestant North.
  • His idea was to make France appear to be a bigger enemy to the states than Prussia could be.
  • He leaked the news of Napoleon III’s demand that he should be rewarded for staying neutral in the Austro/Prussian war. Any reward would come from the 4 southern states.
  • This made the states very anti French and so had to look to Prussia to help them oppose any possible threats from France.
31 historiography was bismarck planning for war or using events to achieve his aims
Planning for war


  • Mitchell: ‘almost as soon as Bismarck had dealt with Austria, there began the conflict with Napoleon III which would lead to the F-P war.’
  • For more see page 59. McK
  • Gorman: ‘war was not his sole aim, but it was one of a variety of possibilities open to him.’
  • Williamson agrees: ‘Bismarck knowingly risked war, even though he probably hoped to avoid it.’
  • For more see page 60. McK
31. Historiography- Was Bismarck planning for war or using events to achieve his aims?
32 the spanish candidature
32. The Spanish Candidature
  • September 1869 Spanish throne became available.
  • Bismarck saw a chance to antagonise France by putting a Prussian prince (Leopold of Hohenzollern) forward as a candidate for the throne.
  • He knew France would not accept this as it would feel encircled by Prussian power.
  • France found out about the Bismarck’s scheme and were enraged.
19 july 1870 france declared war on prussia
19 July 1870. France declared war on Prussia.
  • 33 + 34. France fights alone because: Bismarck released French plans to take over parts of the south German states and Belgium as compensation.
  • This alarms the states. Their military alliances come into effect and they unite with Prussia ‘in a national war of defence against France.’
  • No international support
causes of prussian victory over france january 1871
Causes of Prussian victory over France. January 1871
  • Better Prussian artillery
  • Better mobilisation of army. 6 German railway lines to French border. France had 2.
  • Better commander: General von Moltke
  • Weak defensive tactics adopted by the French.