Summary: Challenges Against The Third Republic

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1) Challenges against the newly-formed Third Republic, started right after its foundation. Although overwhelming defeat against Prussia after the Franco-Prussian War in 1880-81 was the Second Empire’s fault, peace deal signed between the Third Republic and Prussia. Republic, even from its very beginning, lost significant prestige and France’s “grandeur” (greatness) in the eyes of her rivals both inside and outside. On the one hand, monarchist, which hold the majority in parliament expects the humiliation of the Republic and republicans in order to proclaim a new system and the third empire, on the other hand, Unification of the German Empire created a vital threat not just the French influence in Europe also French sovereignty itself. In addition to that, the Republic had challenges in the system itself between making reforms to implement a fully democratic order and creating a secular republic which create “état laic”. And lastly, political system in France create highly unstable governments and instable ministries which averagely lasted only for 8 months.
To erase the memories of the defeat at the Franco-Prussian war and the loss of prestige, Third Republic found the solution in overseas
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It divided the Republic into two blocs, dreyfusards and anti-dreyfusards. Main effect of this affair was that, anti-Semitism became an option for the right-wing parties to rally masses and to get support from rural areas of France. In addition to that, right-wing took key roles in the French politics after this affair. The Third Republic brought back Captain Dreyfus’s case and found him innocent. Although there were claims that it was a clergy-military conspiracy, they tried to not connect the events with military because they represent French national unity, and targeted relatively easier target: the clergy. After the affair, the Third Republic made “anti-clericalism” their most prior agenda
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