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A Duel of Nations

Germany, France, and the Diplomacy of the War of 1870–1871

David Wetzel

Publication Year: 2012

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-9

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

The volume these words will introduce represents the second part of what was conceived as a study, in depth, of the tension that brought France and Prussia to a crisis in July 1870 and resulted in a war between the two of them that began on the nineteenth of that month and ended, eight months later, by the Treaty of Frankfurt, on 10...

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pp. xv-xvi

The number of persons from whom I have received assistance and support in the preparation of this volume is so great that space does not permit me to mention them all. My gratitude goes out, in the fi rst instance, to the Department of History of the University of California, Berkeley, which, though I am not a member of its permanent faculty, has supported...

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1. Politics and Personalities

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pp. 3-25

The declaration of war by France against Prussia on 19 July 1870 constitutes the formal point of departure for this narrative. But it was, of course, only the fi nal phase of a crisis that had begun with the acceptance by Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern- Sigmaringen of the throne of Spain less than four weeks earlier. Before we proceed to examine...

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2. The Position of the Powers

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pp. 26-40

When the Prussian and French armies took to the fi eld in the summer of 1870, they not unnaturally hoped to receive assistance in one form or another from the other powers of Europe. And the point at which our narrative has now arrived—just after the inauguration of hostilities between the two powers— is perhaps not a bad one...

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3. The League of Neutrals

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pp. 41-66

While the events discussed in the preceding chapter and others still to be recounted were taking place in the various exchanges between Bismarck and the senior offi cials of the British and Russian governments, they were not, of course, taking place in a vacuum. All the governments of the Great Powers were beginning for the fi rst time to...

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4. The End of Napoleon III

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pp. 67-99

Mention has been made already of the climate of opinion that came over the two populations after the French declaration of war had been presented at Berlin on 19 July. In order to understand how the German war aims developed as they did, let us return to the second half of July 1870 and discuss, at the risk of slight repetition, what...

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5. Ferrières

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pp. 100-121

As for Bismarck, his immediate problem in the fi rst days of September 1870 was what it was to be throughout the coming four months: namely with which French government should he negotiate? Still relatively uninvolved in matters affecting Moltke and his offi cers, he was understandably concerned that the government of the North German...

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6. Bismarck, Bazaine, and Thiers

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pp. 122-144

That the collapse of the negotiations at Ferrières had a profound effect on Bismarck has been the subject of considerable discussion in the preceding chapter. The failure of the talks marked the moment of lowest ebb in relations between the French authorities and the Prussian government, the time when the task of establishing relations...

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7. Bismarck’s Anxieties

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pp. 145-179

The days following the collapse of the negotiations with Thiers were diffi cult ones for Bismarck, and he himself possessed few illusions about the number, the magnitude, and the complexities of the problems with which he was faced. But the thrust of his efforts never varied—to end the war quickly and in a way in which German aims...

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8. Armistice

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pp. 180-212

Negotiations with Favre meant that the scene of the drama had shifted to Paris, where it was to remain until an armistice was concluded, on 28 January 1871. The situation was becoming intolerable. The Prussian rain of ruin engulfed the city. On 19 January, bread was rationed for the fi rst time, this despite previous assurances from the...

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pp. 213-226

We have had occasion to observe in the preceding narrative the processes by which the two parties conducted the confl ict that plagued their relations for nine tortuous and bloody months and that would continue to burden those relations for the next eighty years, right down to the middle of the century that followed: the Franco- Prussian War of 1870–71. Certain of the conclusions to which this event leads...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. 227-230


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pp. 231-250

Bibliographical Essay

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pp. 251-304


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pp. 305-310

E-ISBN-13: 9780299291334
E-ISBN-10: 0299291332
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299291341
Print-ISBN-10: 0299291340

Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 27 b/w illus.
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 824698501
MUSE Marc Record: Download for A Duel of Nations

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Subject Headings

  • Bismarck, Otto, Fürst von, 1815-1898.
  • Franco-Prussian War, 1870-1871 -- Diplomatic history.
  • France -- Foreign relations -- Germany.
  • Germany -- Foreign relations -- France.
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