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The Franco-Prussian War was a turning point in the history of nineteenth-century Europe, and the Battle of Sedan was the pivotal event in that war. For the Germans their overwhelming victory symbolized the birth of their nation, forged in steel and tempered in the blood of the common enemy. For the French it was a defeat more complete and humiliating than Waterloo. Douglas Fermers fresh study of this traumatic moment in European history reconsiders how the mutual fear and insecurity of two rival nations tempted their governments to seek a solution to domestic tensions by waging war against each other. His compelling narrative shows how war came about, and how the dramatic campaign of summer 1870 culminated in a momentous clash of arms at Sedan. He gives fascinating insights into the personalities and aims of the politicians and generals involved, but focuses too on the experiences of ordinary soldiers and civilians.
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.
In 1870 France embarked on a war with Prussia and her allied German states that was to be a complete disaster. For Napoleon III, after his ignominious surrender with thousands of his troops from the Army of the Rhine and the Army of of Chalons, it meant his abdication and exile. For France it resulted in the humiliation of her army, a bitter civil war in Paris, the loss of two Provinces (Alsace and Lorraine) and a heavy indemnity. Maarten Otte provides background chapters to place the lead up to the war and the issues that were involved; he describes the make up of the opposing armies and some of their principal commanders. The campaign around Sedan was short, fought in the fag end days of August and early September 1870, though the war was to drag on for four months. The Sedan Campaign was fought over a relatively small area and the locations of some of the key battles have changed little, though some of those near the built up areas, such as Sedan itself, require some imagination. After the war several German regiments erected monuments and a surprising number remain today, often hidden away in isolated fields and copses. Several communal cemeteries have a number of German graves. Perhaps one of the most macabre of these is the ossuary in Bazeilles, where the visitor is able to see skeletons that still have shreds of uniform and footwear on them. A notable feature of this battlefield is to see memorials to the conflicts of the twentieth century - the Great War and the Second World War - Sedan was a focus of the most recent and most bloody western European wars.
This work is an account of the struggle over freedom of caricature in France during the period between 1815 and 1914. Illustrated with caricatures originally published during the 19th century, it traces the attempt of the French authorities to control opposition political drawings and the attempts of caricaturists to evade restrictions on their craft.

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