Cover image for The Franco-Prussian War : the German conquest of France in 1870-1871
The Franco-Prussian War : the German conquest of France in 1870-1871
Wawro, Geoffrey.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xvi, 327 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Causes of the Franco-Prussian War -- The armies in 1870 -- Mobilization for war -- Wissembourg and Spicheren -- Froeschwiller -- Mars-la-Tour -- Gravelotte -- The road to Sedan -- Sedan -- France on the brink -- France falls -- The Peace.
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Item Holds
DC293 .W38 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 violently changed the course of European History. Alarmed by Bismarck's territorial ambitions and the Prussian army's crushing defeats of Denmark in 1864 and Austria in 1866, French Emperor Napoleon III vowed to bring Prussia to heel. Digging into many European and American archives for the first time, Geoffrey Wawro's Franco-Prussian War describes the war that followed in thrilling detail. While the armies mobilized in July 1870, the conflict appeared "too close to call." Prussia and its German allies had twice as many troops as the French. But Marshal Achille Bazaine's grognards ("old grumblers") were the stuff of legend, the most resourceful, battle-hardened, sharp-shooting troops in Europe, and they carried the best rifle in the world. From the political intrigues that began and ended the war to the bloody battles at Gravelotte and Sedan and the last murderous fights on the Loire and in Paris, this is the definitive history of the Franco-Prussian War. Dr. Geoffrey Wawro is Professor of Strategic Studies at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Wawro has published two books: The Austro-Prussian War (Cambridge, 1996) and Warfare and Society in Europe, 1792-1914 (Routledge, 2000). He has published articles in The Journal of Military History, War in History, The International History Review, The Naval War College Review, American Scholar, and the European History Quarterly, and op-eds in the Los Angeles Times, New York Post, Miami Herald, Hartford Courant, and Providence Journal. Wawro has won several academic prizes including the Austrian Cultural Institute Prize and the Society for Military History Moncado Prize for Excellence in the Writing of Military History. He has lectured widely on military innovation and international security in Europe, the U.S., and Canada and is host of the History Channel program Hardcover History--a weekly book show with leading historians, pundits, critics, statesmen and journalists.

Author Notes

Geoffrey Wawro is Professor of Strategic Studies at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The brief, seldom-sung but crucial Franco-Prussian war gets its due in this superb history. Military historian Wawro gives a comprehensive and lucid account of the political and diplomatic dimensions of the war, which redrew Europe's map and announced the arrival of the German Empire as a world power, but his emphasis is on the conflict as an omen of the future of warfare. Dominated by the firepower of modern rifles and artillery, the bloody fighting foreshadowed the mass slaughter of World War I, while Prussia's lightning victory over France helped lay the groundwork for that conflict by stoking German militarism and enshrining a tragically mistaken confidence in the kind of onrushing offensives that would be undone by machine guns and trenches. Wawro's account is both a gripping narrative and an analytic tour-de-force. He moves easily between visceral depictions of the chaos of combat and strategic overviews of the unfolding battles and campaigns, providing along the way shrewd character studies of the politicians and generals on both sides. At the same time, he keeps a firm grasp of the foundations of military performance in weaponry, logistics and organization, based on an illuminating comparison between the undisciplined and outdated French army and the supremely professional and meticulous Prussians, whose innovations in tactics, planning, staff work and mass mobilization revolutionized European warfare. Full of colorful details and compelling insights, Wawro's vigorously written account should become the standard treatment of this watershed in military history. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Choice Review

Wawro (Naval War College) has written an extraordinary history of the Franco-Prussian War, one of the most significant wars in modern European history. This conflict changed European history, aided Otto von Bismarck in creating an imperial Germany, and, in so doing, help to cause the bloody slaughter of 1914-18. In brilliant writing, the author describes the terrible battles in which the French troops, with one of the best rifles available, were slaughtered by the superior Prussian artillery. Wawro uses a wide variety of documentary sources to create a dazzling, often moving account of the conflict that brought down the Emperor Louis Napoleon and changed the map of central Europe. The bloody battles that caused heavy casualties in both armies are portrayed in striking detail. The author shows the marked contrast between the two armies: the Prussians, fit, younger, and better educated; the French, older, prone to drink too much, and poorly disciplined. There is a striking portrait of Marshall Achille Bazaine, France's premier general, who was too lackadaisical and whose slothfulness contributed mightily to France's defeat. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All modern European history collections. K. Eubank emeritus, CUNY Queens College

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviationsp. xi
List of Illustrationsp. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. 1
1 Causes of the Franco-Prussian Warp. 16
2 The Armies in 1870p. 41
3 Mobilization for Warp. 65
4 Wissembourg and Spicherenp. 85
5 Froeschwillerp. 121
6 Mars-la-Tourp. 138
7 Gravelottep. 164
8 The Road to Sedanp. 186
9 Sedanp. 211
10 France on the Brinkp. 230
11 France Fallsp. 257
12 The Peacep. 299
Bibliographyp. 315
Indexp. 321