The Consequences Of The Franco-Prussian War

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The Franco-Prussian war in 1870-71 caused a tremendous change in the power shift of Europe. This war not only led to Germany to emerge as a new power but, also caused France to lose her status. The first part of the essay will focus on the reasons for the war between France and Prussia. The background causes, the more immediate causes and flashpoints will be discussed. In the second half of this paper the different consequences of this victory for Germany will be examined. These are political, economic and social consequences.

Before 1870, Germany was politically divided. It was one of the German states, Prussia, who became a developed strong power. Historian Geoffrey Wawro said that 'in matter of days, Prussia climbed from the lower rungs of great power '.1 This was enforced by the different wars previous to the Franco-Prussia war, with in particular the Austro-Prussian war in 1866.2 Prussia was a new power that could unite Germany. It was a new industrial power which experienced rapid industrialisation.3 Prussian and the Saxon coal mines 'were outproducing French mines three-to-one... '4 as coal production increased 114% in the 1860s.5 This had an effect on new ways of warfare with for example with guns but also the use of railways.6 Paul Kennedy claimed: ' “The struggle for mastery in Germany” was almost complete; but the clash over who was supreme in western Europe, Prussia or an increasingly nervous and suspicious France, had been brought much closer.. '7 France

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