martes, 1 de septiembre de 2015

September 1: Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Sedan during the Franco-Prussian War resulting in a conclusive Prussian victory which brought about the final unification of Germany under King Wilhelm I of Prussia and the end of the second French Empire with the capture of Napoleon III and 100 thousand of his troops, in 1870.


Prussia had defeated Austria and won the leadership in most German States. Emperor Napoleon III of France and his advisers had longed to crush Prussia because they considered it as a newcomer hostile power.

Sedan, 2 September 1870; A shattered Emperor Louis Napoleon, frequently in tears, surrendered his sword to William, King of Prussia (later proclaimed Kaiser of German Empire a year later at Versailles), after 44 days of warfare that have devastated France and confirmed newly-united Germany as the most powerful new nation in Europe.

On the other side Bismarck, the chancellor of Prussia, felt that a war was necessary to unify Germany.

Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and Bavaria; and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and Bavaria.

Franco-Prussian War: surrender of Napoleon III, 1870

The French provinces of Alsace and Lorraine were taken by the Prussian victors and annexed by the newly formed German Empire, starting January first, 1872.

Napoleon III having a conversation with Bismarck after being captured in the Battle of Sedan (1878 painting by Wilhelm Camphausen)

After Prussian decisive victory, the German Empire was proclaimed in the Palace of Versailles, which became an influential role in international political relations in the following decades.

Parade of Prussian troops in Paris.This chalk lithograph depicts the scene on March 1, 1871, when Kaiser Wilhelm I and his victorious troops entered Paris.

The fall of the Second French Empire under Napoleon III marked the beginning of the Third Republic with the help and support of the Prussian winners.

AñadiWilliam I is proclaimed German Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, France (painting by Anton von Werner)