The Franco-Prussian War Primer

A history of the war for the Rhine frontier
Camphausen, Wilhelm. The meeting of Napoleon III and Bismarck after Napoleon’s capture at the Battle of Sedan, 1870. 1878.

About the Project

The “Franco-Prussian War” website is a term project for the Digital History Lab by a scholar  at the University of South Alabama. The project aims to present a detailed, though not exhaustive, history of the Franco-Prussian War.

The Franco-Prussian War was a relatively short war that was still devastating and had long-lasting influences on the region’s politics and warfighting methods. It led to the creation of the German Empire and changed the balance of power in the region. It also provided insights into the effectiveness of breech-loading artillery and further solidified the use of breech-loading rifles. For war termination, it presents an example of a nation with the capacity and will to continue fighting, discarding their captured leader and his government to continue a war that has turned entirely in favor of their enemy. This project will examine primary source material such as Helmuth von Moltke’s The Franco-German War of 1870-71 and help make it clear that the capture of Napoleon III at the Battle of Sedan and the subsequent fall of the empire, rather than ending the war, instead proved only to prolong the conflict.