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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

"The Franco - Prussian War" by Geoffrey Wawro

I have started the work for my U3A talk - by finishing this book that I began in July. Now I have a reasonable idea of the historical sequence of events and I am looking for suitable maps and pictures.

Geoffrey Wawro raised an interesting question - who won the Franco - Prussian War? This is not a question I have considered before as it seemed obvious, the Prussians. They won on the fields of battle and then took advantage of this to force through German Unification. The French lost. Now, having read a few books I am thinking the answer is not so straight forward. Yes, France lost but that was Imperial France and Bonapartism. French Republicans won, in the chaos they established the Republic which has survived two World Wars and a number of recessions and French Monarchists are a small group on the fringes of French politics. Similarly, not all Germans think they won,  South German Catholic states had more in common with Austria and France than Protestant Prussia, during the 17th and 18th century, Bavaria's natural ally was France.

There is much to ponder in the writing.

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