Word Count: 2337Throughout the time period of 1815 1917 there was a vast number of changes. There were good and bad ones. The main principle of this time period was that people were starting to realize that peace should be prevalent throughout Europe. This paper will discuss the relationships between France and Germany during the time period of 1815 1917.
The paper will primarily focus on the Franco Prussian War, The Revolutions of 1848, the Dreyfus affair, the Austro Prussian War, imperialism and the beginning of World War One and everything that is closely related to those topics. The paper will have various pictures and primary documents for you to refer to throughout the reading.
The Outcome of the Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was formed to keep a balance of power, and preserve peace throughout Europe. There were many territorial decisions that were made during this congress. These decisions effected the outcome of the Congress of Vienna. France was deprived of any land that was conquered by Napoleon. Prussia received much of Saxony and important parts of Westphalia and the Rhine Province.
After Prussia received the Rhineland, it was not thought too much of a political gain. However in the long run it paid off. The Rhineland was full of coal and iron. This was very important during Prussian industrial revolution of the 1840s. Since there was this abundance of iron a plethora of railroad tracks could be produced. This led to a large free trade zone. Since King Fredrick William III eliminated all tariffs in the German states, a large free trade state was formed. This allowed the Prussian to have a large monopoly in the middle of the continent of Europe. However the Prussian success did not last forever. It ran into a small glitch. This glitch was the revolution of 1848.
France did not have the same luck. They were given no land and kept under watch by the other countries. The clever Tallyrand represented France at the congress and just tried to make sure that France could stay in the thick of things in European politics. France would soon also have their own problems just as Prussia would. France would also have their own revolution in 1848, as did almost every other country in Europe.
The Revolutions of 1848
There were many revolutions throughout Europe in 1848. They were all based on the three ideas of liberalism, nationalism and socialism. These were the cause for many uprisings various countries. Most of the revolutions died down quickly. The reason for most of the revolutions ending abruptly was the fact that there was disunity amongst the leaders of the revolutions. A good way to see this is to look at such countries as Germany and Frances revolutions.
The fact that there was a sever depression and low employment rate at the time is a reason that this revolution started. In France, the revolution began with a riot lead by Parisians. This riot lead to Louis Phillippe fleeing to Great Britain. Soon a provisional government was established. It soon also had disunity amongst the leaders. This second republic was formed and there was soon fighting in the streets. The bloody June days gave the Parisians a chance to fight the government troops. Again they were back were they started. This uprising was crushed and ensured the conservative nature of the republic. This created a fear among the bourgeoisie of hard working radicals that influenced French politics. This new constitution established a presidential republic with a single assembly. These were to be chosen by universal male suffrage. Louis Napoleon soon ran for presidency and he was victorious with an overwhelming vote in his behalf. He soon gave France a new constitution. A year later he took the throne as Napoleon III. Napoleon II never reigned.
The revolution of 1848 in Prussia or soon to be Germany was of various causes. The acute source of tension was a power struggle. This was between industrial bourgeoisie upset about anarchist ideas imposed upon the expansion of capitalism and the feudal people refusing to relinquish their power. For the bourgeoisie to be able to start anything against the nobility they need the masses to join them in them in this struggle. All of a sudden, word reaches Germany of a successful revolution in France, and this provided that push over the edge for many people to join in the revolution. The commoners of Germany knew that commoners of France revolted so they thought that they also could revolt. So the populace took to the streets in March of 1848, and lashed out against the government. The revolting people wished to establish political democracy, which promised to accelerate the capitalist restricting society. The groups revolting did not express their true goals. The workers wanted to use bourgeoisie democracy to move on the nest stage of social democracy and popular or republican government. The results were that capitalism would grow in Germany and help revolutionary thinking. Also that the working class had become more self-conscious. As Marx explained Henceforth it would rely upon itself and would be guardian of the revolutionary tradition of the German people. The third lesson of the revolution that was learned was that the Bourgeoisie couldnt control the desire to exploit the proletariat. Overall, the revolutions failed due to the large disunities amongst the revolutionaries. Refer to Document A on page 617 and Proclamation of the second republic at the end of the paper.
The Austro Prussian War
The Austro Prussian war was also called the Seven weeks war. This took place in 1866 between Prussia and Austria. Prussia was left with the dominant power. Bismarck pushed on the war. After the Congress of Vienna, Germany was split into 39 states. Prussia and Austria were rivals for leadership. Bismarck was determined to come out on top in this rivalry. Prussia had received Schleswig in a war with Denmark and Austria had received Holstein in that same war. Both Prussia and Austria were not satisfied with just those countries. Prussia interfered with Austrias ruling of Holstein. Austria didnt like this so Bismarck sent troops to Holstein. Austria had some allies with other German states because they also feared Prussian expansion. Prussia had secured neutrality of most non-German powers. He did this so that no other countries would side with Austria and then he would be face with more than one country to fight. The treaty of Prague ended the war. Prussia annexed Hanover and Hessen-Kassel. Austria ceded Holstein to Prussia gave backs Venetia to Italy, and paid a small indemnity. The year after this war Prussia organized the North German Confederation. Austria was excluded.
The Franco- Prussian war
The Franco Prussian War took place during the years of 187071. This conflict between France and Prussia, soon to be Germany, signaled the rise of German military power and imperialism. Otto Von Bismarck encouraged it. He was currently the Prime Minster of Prussia. This was part of his plan to create a unified German Empire. There were many causes of this war. The emergence of Prussia as the leading German power and the increasing unification of the German states were a main cause of the war. These were viewed with apprehension by NapoleanIII after the Prussian victory in the Austro Prussian war of 1866.
Bismarck at the same time, on purpose encouraged the growing tensions between Prussia and France. This was in order to bring the states of Southern Germany into a national union. Bismarck realized that France would feel right if it had a strong German state to its left. This made France feel threatened. France at the time was experiencing some diplomatic turmoil. The first cause for war was when Queen Isabella II was disposed by a successful revolution. This introduced one of the causes of war; when the throne of Spain was offered to a prince of the house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. This was a branch of the ruling house of Prussia. It had large ties with Prussia. This did not make France happy at all. This offer was strangely rejected upon the advice of Bismarck on July 12. This was only due to a large French protest. The French did not want this to happen at all because then they would be totally encircled by the ruling dynasty of the Hohenzollern. The French caused King William I to remove his candidacy to have Leopold to be the King of Spain. They also pushed William I to a formally apology to the French. They also made him promise never to put Leopold up for candidacy again. William I apology was sent through the telegraph and Bismarck made it seem more harsh than it actually was. By doing this he knew that France would declare war. After Bismarck edited the telegraph it read:
After the reports of renunciation by the hereditary
Prince of Hohenzollern had been officially transmit-
Ted By the royal Government of Spain to the imper-
ial Government of France, the French Ambassador
presented to his majesty the King at Ems the demand
to authorize him to telegraph to Paris that his majesty
the king would obligate himself for all future time
never again to give his approval to the candidacy of
the Hohenzollerns should it be renewed.
His majesty the King thereupon refused to rec-
Ieve the French envoy again and informed him thro-
ugh an adjustant that his majesty had nothing further
to say to the Ambassador.
This telegraph ultimately led to the Franco- Prussian war. This is what drew France in to fight.
Before the war ended William I was crowned emperor of the newly proclaimed German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors on January 18, 1871. The capitulation of France took place on January 28 1871. Adolphe Thiers was chosen as the first president of the third republic by a French National assembly as assigned to negotiate peace. The Treaty of Frankfurt was signed on May 10, 1871. This is what ended the war. This treaty stated that Alsace and part of Lorraine were to be given to the German Empire. It also stated that France pay an indemnity to Germany of five billion Francs. Bismarck thought that this would put a hamper on Frances political position. In September 1873 German soldiers finally left France. Refer to Documents A on page 658,D on page 663, F on page 664 and German Unification at end of Paper.
The Dreyfus Affair
The Dreyfus affair was a major incident in France in 1894. This controversy was about a French army officer who was convicted on a charge of treason. This charge consisted of him having written an anonymous document, containing a list of French military secrets. These documents were supposedly being delivered to Germany Embassy in France. In 1894 Dreyfus was convicted by court martial. He was lowered in rank and was exiled to Devils Island for the rest of his life.
In 1896, two years after Dreyfus conviction, Lieutenant Colonel George Picquart; then head of French Military Intelligence discovered something that was very interesting. This interesting fact was that Dreyfus had really not written that list of French military secrets. The person that actually had written them was Major Marie Charles Esterhazy. A very bad thing happened short after these discoveries were made. Picquart was dismissed from the service and silenced by his superiors. But relatives of Dreyfus also soon came up upon these findings. This information was soon brought out into public. The army needed to come out of this looking good. Their plan for this was to court martial Esterhazy. Oddly enough he was acquitted in early 1898. Things soon took a nosedive. In August 1898 Lieutenant Colonel Hubert Joseph Henry admitted to forging the documents that implicated Dreyfus. He was immediately arrested and committed suicide in his cell. Esterhazy was dismissed from the army.
In 1899 the case was brought before the Supreme Court of appeal. The results of the second trial were the same as the first. However knowing what they did the punishment was lessened. It was lessened to ten years imprisonment. Ten days after the verdict he was pardoned. Dreyfus later joined the army and served his country well in World War One. As for Esterhazy he admitted in late 1899 to being a German spy. So that being known the person, who accused him, Picquart was reinstated to the army.
In the volatile France of the 1890s the Dreyfus case provided the spark for an inevitable political and social flare up The news of all these happenings excited the people. People didnt know what to think. Everytime it was supposedly solved a new problem arose. This was the important public issue in France at the time. After all of this the power and prestige of the military declined. It shocked people to hear that verdict for the second time.
Imperialism and Nationalism
Nationalism is the overall feeling of a group of people to feel part of a group. This feeling was becoming more and more prevalent throughout these times. It was many times a cause of revolt or war just as imperialism was.
The underlying causes of World War I were the spirit of intense nationalism that superfluous in Europe throughout the 19th and into the 20th century. The political and economic rivalry among the nations, and the establishment and maintenance in Europe after 1871 of large armaments and of two hostile military alliances. Refer to document C on page 714.
The times from 1815 1917 were a time of massive change. Many things went on that changed our world forever. One thing is the Dreyfus affair was a situation that any society has never encountered until
this time. Just at the beginning of the Twentieth century was the First World War. This left an ever-impressionable impact upon our world. All of this change was good and need. Otherwise our society would not have turned out the way it has.