Lecture in English with bilingual support.
Franco-German relations since the late 19th century have been profoundly affected by the policies of Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck was Prussian prime minister in 1862-1890 and chancellor of the German Empire in 1871-1890. After defeating France in the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War, Bismarck spearheaded Germany’s unification in 1871.
This presentation made by Michael Huenefeld will shed some light for the general public on Bismarck’s policy toward France throughout his career. This policy facilitated the creation of the German Empire in 1871 and helped set the tone for the subsequent development of Franco-German relations in the 20th century. The long-term results of Bismarck’s policy toward France indirectly contributed to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
This presentation will also review the broader international framework of Franco-German interactions while Bismarck was chancellor, including the roles of Russia, Great Britain, Austria-Hungary, etc. Finally, this presentation will touch on some of Bismarck’s key personal characteristics and his domestic political objectives in Germany. Both Bismarck’s character and domestic policies influenced his conduct toward France.
Franco-German relations have been critical to Europe’s development. Understanding Bismarck’s policy toward France is essential to understanding Europe’s recent history.
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