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"The Franco-Prussian War was a turning point in the history of the nineteenth century Europe, and the Battle of Sedan, fought on Thursday, 1 September 1870, was the pivotal event of that war ... The story of Sedan is that of the fall of one empire and the rise of another. It was on one side a milestone in the achievement of German unity, and on the other the culmination of a series of French errors that brought national calamity and the exile of the Bonapartes. It is a story of mutual fear and insecurity that tempted both governments to seek a solution to domestic tensions by a war against the other; as well as the military story of how that war was fought and how Sedan came about ... This account of that climatic clash between two great continental rivals has no pretension other than to offer a narrative introduction to the events"--Preface.
Tension and rivalry between France and Germany shaped the history of Western Europe in the century from 1860. Three times that hostility led to war and the invasion of France - in 1870, 1914 and 1940. The outcomes of the battles that followed reset the balance of power across the continent. Yet the German invasions tend to be viewed as separate events, in isolation, rather than as connected episodes in the confrontation between the two nations. ??Douglas Fermer's fresh account of the military campaigns and the preparations for them treats them as part of a cycle of fear, suspicion, animosity and conflicting ambitions extending across several generations. In a clear, concise account of the decisive opening phase of each campaign, he describes the critical decision-making, the manoeuvres and clashes of arms in eastern France as German forces advanced westwards. ??As the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War approaches, this is a fitting moment to reconsider these momentous events and how they fit into the broad sweep of European history.
The Wars of German Unification is the definitive account of the three of the most decisive conflicts in the history of modern Europe. In this new edition, Dennis Showalter offers a thoroughly updated look at the wars and their context that will be invaluable for those interested in the military, social and political history of the period. Showalter explores how the Schleswig-Holstein conflict of 1864; the 'Six Weeks War' of 1866; and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 fundamentally altered the balance of power in 19th-century Europe. They marked the establishment of Prussian hegemony in central Europe, the creation of the Bismarckian Reich in 1871, the reduction of Habsburg influence and the collapse of Napoleon III's Second Empire. The Wars of German Unification offers a balanced and incisive account of the wars, their origins and their consequences, and firmly embeds these conflicts in their political, ideological and military contexts. This volume traces the transition from the 'cabinet wars' of the 19th century and shows how the conflicts that made up the wars of German unification provided the foundation for the birth of modern warfare.
The Franco-Prussian War did not end with the catastrophic French defeat at Sedan on 1 September 1870 when an entire French army surrendered, the Emperor Napoleon III was captured and his regime collapsed. The war went on for another five agonizing months, and resolved itself into a contest for Paris—for while Paris held out, France was undefeated. The story of this dramatic final phase of the war is the subject of Douglas Fermers masterly account, the sequel to his Sedan 1870. He weaves this story of military victory and defeat into a gripping narrative and it sets the extraordinary events of nearly 150 years ago in the wider context of European history.

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