F is for Franco-Prussian War

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

My 2017 theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage, and the theme reveal is here. I also wrote about this world in my blog post ‘This could be Kanata.

F (1)

F is for Franco-Prussian War: (4 August 1870 – 10 May 1871) The conflict was caused by Prussian ambitions to extend German unification and French fears of the shift in the European balance of power that would result if the Prussians succeeded. Prussian ambitions in Europe had become apparent when in 1864 they demanded that Denmark ceded Schleswig-Holstein back to the German people, despite many Danes living in the territory. On 3rd February 1864, a Prussian-Austrian army forced the Danish army to retreat, before promised troops from Sweden-Norway could intervene.

So, when Prussia invaded France across the border near Metz, they were met by a French army bolstered by the elite Mjölnir militia. In three critical defeats of Prussian armies over the next nine months, the cause of German Unification was delayed, although Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismark, with the intervention of forces of reason on all sides, pursued a path of diplomacy through trade and dynastic marriages emulating the success of the Norse alliances stretching from Kanata to Eastern Rurikid.

French_Cavalry_Officer_Guarding_Captured_Bavarian_Soldiers

A French Cavalry Officer Guarding Captured Bavarian Soldiers, Watercolor with gouache, private collection. (1875). Jean-Baptiste Édouard Detaille (1848–1912)

In our timeline: Denmark did lose Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia, then Prussia continued to unite Germany. France was heavily defeated and lost territory to Germany. As Wikipedia says, “Many historians praise Bismark as a visionary who was instrumental in uniting Germany and, once that had been accomplished, kept the peace in Europe through adroit diplomacy.” When he died a younger Kaiser ruled Germany, one that he clashed with in his final years. “Historians stress that Bismarck’s peace-oriented, ‘saturated continental diplomacy’ was increasingly unpopular because it consciously reined in any expansionist drives. In dramatic contrast stands the ambition of Kaiser Wilhelm II‘s Weltpolitik to secure the Reich’s future through expansion, leading to World War I. Likewise Bismarck’s policy to deny the military a dominant voice in foreign political decision making was overturned by 1914 as Germany became an armed state.”

If German Unification had gone down a different path, would there have been World War I? Would Hitler or Stalin have emerged in a radically reformed Europe with no military superpowers and based on trade?

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2 thoughts on “F is for Franco-Prussian War

  1. It’s hard to say. Germany Weltpolitik was sure the sparkle that ignited WWI, but it was a continental situation that was about to explode. It might have be anything else. So, personally, I’m not sure WWI could have been avoided.
    Although, if the Armistice agreements had been different (for example if another state had sparked WWI, not Germany) WWII might have been avoided.
    Of course, just speculations. All European states contributed to Eauropean history, of course, so it’s hard to isolate the doings and the consecuenses of just one state.

    • Very true, Sarah. European political manoeuvrings were complex and the power blocs growing out of control. I try in later posts to change the situation, in part because of what Kanata becomes as a world power through its trade and diplomacy, I tried to write Hitler and Stalin out of history, but that might have been optimistic.

      Also, the British Empire never emerges as such, with North America in allied hands. The Raj never happens in India for various reasons…….

      Also, the Russ development takes a few diversions, as well as the Mongols and Ottomans, not to mention Central and South America. In a way, this is not one trigger event but multiple ones – as the list of future posts on right menu suggests.

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