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Perang Prancis-Prusia

Perang Prancis-Prusia


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Pecahnya Perang Perancis-Prusia terjadi pada 16 Juli 1870. Itu adalah upaya Napoleon III untuk mempertahankan Kekaisaran Prancis Kedua dari ancaman yang ditimbulkan oleh negara-negara Jerman dari Konfederasi Jerman Utara yang dipimpin oleh kanselir Prusia Otto von Bismarck. Asosiasi Pekerja Internasional (IWMA) telah menyatakan pada konferensinya tahun sebelumnya bahwa jika perang pecah, pemogokan umum harus dilakukan. Namun, Karl Marx secara pribadi berpendapat bahwa ini akan berakhir dengan kegagalan karena "kelas pekerja ... belum cukup terorganisir untuk memberikan bobot yang menentukan pada timbangan". (1)

Bagian Paris dari IWMA segera mengecam perang tersebut. Namun, di Jerman pendapat terbagi tetapi mayoritas sosialis menganggap perang sebagai perang defensif dan di Reichstag hanya Wilhelm Liebknecht dan August Bebel menolak untuk memilih kredit perang dan berbicara keras menentang aneksasi Alsace-Lorraine. Untuk ini mereka didakwa dengan pengkhianatan dan dipenjara. (2)

Marx percaya bahwa kemenangan Jerman akan membantu keinginan jangka panjangnya untuk revolusi sosialis. Dia menunjukkan kepada Friedrich Engels bahwa pekerja Jerman lebih terorganisir dan lebih disiplin daripada pekerja Prancis yang sangat dipengaruhi oleh ide-ide Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: "Prancis membutuhkan kekalahan. Jika Prusia menang maka sentralisasi kekuasaan Negara akan memberikan bantuan pada sentralisasi kelas pekerja... Superioritas Jerman atas Prancis di arena dunia pada saat yang sama akan berarti superioritas teori kita atas teori Proudhon dan seterusnya.” (3)

Beberapa hari kemudian Karl Marx mengeluarkan pernyataan atas nama IWMA. “Apapun belokan perang mengerikan yang akan datang, aliansi kelas pekerja dari semua negara pada akhirnya akan membunuh perang. Fakta bahwa sementara pejabat Prancis dan Jerman bergegas ke dalam perseteruan saudara, para pekerja Prancis dan Jerman saling mengirim pesan. tentang perdamaian dan niat baik, fakta besar ini, yang tak tertandingi dalam sejarah masa lalu, membuka pemandangan masa depan yang lebih cerah. Ini membuktikan bahwa berbeda dengan masyarakat lama, dengan kesengsaraan ekonomi dan delirium politiknya, sebuah masyarakat baru bermunculan, yang pemerintahan Internasionalnya adalah Perdamaian, karena penguasa alaminya akan sama di mana-mana - Buruh! Pelopor masyarakat baru itu adalah Asosiasi Pekerja Internasional." (4)

Aktivis perdamaian, John Stuart Mill dan John Morley, mengucapkan selamat kepada Marx atas pernyataannya dan mengatur agar 30.000 eksemplar pidatonya dicetak dan didistribusikan. Marx berpikir perang akan memberikan kesempatan untuk revolusi. Dia mengatakan kepada Engels: "Saya benar-benar tidak bisa tidur selama empat malam sekarang, karena rematik dan saya menghabiskan waktu ini dalam fantasi tentang Paris, dll." Dia mengharapkan kemenangan Jerman: "Saya berharap ini karena kekalahan pasti Bonaparte kemungkinan akan memprovokasi Revolusi di Prancis, sementara kekalahan Jerman yang pasti hanya akan memperpanjang keadaan sekarang selama dua puluh tahun." (5)

Dalam sebuah surat kepada penyelenggara IWMA Amerika, Friedrich Sorge, Marx membuat beberapa prediksi tentang masa depan yang mencakup Perang Dunia Pertama dan Revolusi Rusia: perang antara Jerman dan Rusia seperti perang tahun 1866 menyebabkan perang antara Prusia dan Prancis. Itu adalah hasil terbaik yang saya harapkan untuk Jerman. Prusiaisme seperti itu tidak pernah ada dan tidak dapat ada selain dalam aliansi dan tunduk pada Rusia . Dan Perang No. 2 ini akan bertindak sebagai bidan dari revolusi yang tak terhindarkan di Rusia." (6)

Perang berjalan buruk untuk Napoleon III dan dia kalah telak di Pertempuran Sedan. Pada tanggal 4 September 1870, sebuah republik diproklamasikan di Paris. Adolphe Thiers, mantan perdana menteri dan penentang perang, terpilih sebagai kepala eksekutif pemerintah Prancis yang baru. (7)

Mereka yang sekarang berusia 74 tahun, menunjuk pemerintahan sementara dengan pandangan konservatif dan kemudian melakukan perjalanan ke London dan berusaha untuk merundingkan aliansi dengan Inggris. William Gladstone menolak dan ketika dia tiba kembali di Paris pada tanggal 31 Oktober 1870, dia dituduh melakukan pengkhianatan. Felix Pyat, seorang sosialis radikal mengorganisir demonstrasi melawan Thiers, yang dia tuduh mengancam akan menjual Prancis ke Jerman. (8)

Karl Marx, yang lambat menyerang Bismark karena "patriotisme Jerman murninya di mana dia dan Engels selalu cenderung secara mencolok" dan Asosiasi Pekerja Internasional mengeluarkan pernyataan "memprotes pencaplokan, mencela ambisi dinasti Raja Prusia. , dan menyerukan kepada pekerja Prancis untuk bersatu dengan semua pembela demokrasi melawan musuh bersama Prusia." (9)

Marx kemudian menunjukkan bahwa "Sebuah absurditas dan anakronisme untuk menjadikan pertimbangan militer prinsip yang dengannya batas-batas negara ditetapkan? Jika aturan ini menang, Austria masih berhak atas Venetia dan garis Minicio , dan Prancis ke garis Rhine, untuk melindungi Paris, yang tentunya lebih terbuka terhadap serangan dari timur laut daripada Berlin dari barat daya. Jika batas ditentukan oleh kepentingan militer, tidak akan ada akhir untuk klaim, karena setiap garis militer pasti salah, dan dapat ditingkatkan dengan mencaplok beberapa wilayah yang lebih terpencil; dan, terlebih lagi, mereka tidak pernah dapat diperbaiki secara akhirnya dan adil, karena mereka selalu harus dipaksakan oleh penakluk kepada yang ditaklukkan, dan akibatnya membawa di dalamnya benih perang baru." (10)

Pada bulan Maret 1871, pemerintah melakukan upaya untuk melucuti Garda Nasional Paris, pasukan sukarelawan warga yang menunjukkan tanda-tanda simpati radikal. Ia menolak untuk menyerahkan senjatanya, mendeklarasikan otonominya, menggulingkan pejabat pemerintah sementara, dan memilih komite revolusioner rakyat sebagai pemerintahan Prancis yang sebenarnya. Adolphe Thiers sekarang melarikan diri ke Versailles. Pemerintah di seluruh Eropa prihatin dengan apa yang terjadi di Eropa. Waktu dilaporkan mengeluhkan "sentimen berbahaya dari Demokrasi ini, konspirasi melawan peradaban di ibukotanya". (11)

Pemerintah baru menyebut dirinya Komune Paris dan berusaha untuk menjalankan kota. Isaiah Berlin berargumen bahwa komite tersebut merupakan campuran dari berbagai pendapat politik yang berbeda, tetapi memang termasuk para pengikut Mikhail Bakunin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, dan Louis Auguste Blanqui. Communards mengalami kesulitan menjaga kontrol dari penjaga nasional dan 28 Maret, pada hari pemilihan, Jenderal Jacques Leon Clément-Thomas dan Jenderal Claude Lecomte dibunuh. Dokter Guyon, yang memeriksa mayat-mayat itu tak lama kemudian, menemukan empat puluh bola di tubuh Clément-Thomas dan sembilan bola di punggung Lecomte.

Adolphe Thiers yang sekarang berbasis di Versailles mendesak warga Paris untuk tidak memilih. Ketika pemungutan suara selesai, 233.000 warga Paris telah memilih, dari 485.000 pemilih terdaftar. Di lingkungan kelas atas banyak yang menolak untuk ambil bagian dalam pemilihan dengan lebih dari 70 persen menolak untuk memilih. Tapi di lingkungan kelas pekerja, jumlah pemilih tinggi. Dari sembilan puluh dua komunard yang dipilih oleh hak pilih rakyat, tujuh belas adalah anggota IWMA. Disepakati bahwa Marx harus menyusun "Alamat kepada Rakyat Paris" tetapi dia menderita bronkitis dan gangguan hati dan tidak dapat melakukan pekerjaan itu. (12)

Communards mengalami kesulitan menjaga kontrol dari penjaga nasional dan pada hari pemilihan, Jenderal Jacques Leon Clément-Thomas dan Jenderal Claude Lecomte, dua orang yang dipersalahkan karena sangat disiplin, dibunuh. Dokter Guyon, yang memeriksa mayat-mayat itu tak lama kemudian, menemukan empat puluh bola di tubuh Clément-Thomas dan sembilan bola di punggung Lecomte. (13)

Pada pertemuan pertama Komune, para anggota mengadopsi beberapa usul, termasuk presiden kehormatan untuk Louis Auguste Blanqui; penghapusan hukuman mati; penghapusan wajib militer; proposal untuk mengirim delegasi ke kota-kota lain untuk membantu meluncurkan komune di sana. Juga dinyatakan bahwa tidak ada kekuatan militer selain Garda Nasional, yang terdiri dari warga negara laki-laki, yang dapat dibentuk atau dimasukkan ke dalam ibukota. Anak-anak sekolah di kota diberikan pakaian dan makanan gratis. David McLellan menyarankan bahwa tindakan nyata yang dilakukan oleh komune adalah reformis daripada revolusioner, tanpa serangan terhadap properti pribadi: majikan dilarang dengan hukuman denda untuk mengurangi upah... dan semua bisnis yang ditinggalkan dipindahkan ke asosiasi koperasi. " (14)

Karl Marx percaya bahwa tindakan-tindakan para Komune adalah revolusioner: "Setelah menyingkirkan tentara dan polisi yang berdiri - elemen kekuatan fisik dari pemerintahan lama - Komune sangat ingin menghancurkan kekuatan spiritual represi ... dengan pembubaran dan pelepasan semua gereja sebagai badan milik. Para imam dikirim kembali ke relung kehidupan pribadi, di sana untuk memberi makan sedekah umat beriman meniru pendahulu mereka, para rasul. Seluruh lembaga pendidikan dibuka untuk orang-orang secara cuma-cuma, dan pada saat yang sama dibersihkan dari semua campur tangan gereja dan negara. Dengan demikian, tidak hanya pendidikan yang dapat diakses oleh semua orang, tetapi ilmu pengetahuan itu sendiri dibebaskan dari belenggu yang telah dikenakan oleh prasangka kelas dan kekuatan pemerintah." (15)

Meskipun hanya laki-laki yang diizinkan untuk memilih dalam pemilihan, beberapa perempuan terlibat dalam Komune Paris. Nathalie Lemel dan lisabeth Dmitrieff, mendirikan Serikat Wanita untuk Pertahanan Paris dan Perawatan yang Terluka. Kelompok tersebut menuntut kesetaraan gender dan upah, hak cerai bagi perempuan, hak atas pendidikan sekuler, dan pendidikan profesional untuk anak perempuan. Anne Jaclard dan Victoire Léodile Béra mendirikan surat kabar Paris Commune dan Louise Michel, mendirikan batalion wanita Garda Nasional. (16)

Komite diberi kekuasaan yang luas untuk memburu dan memenjarakan musuh Komune. Dipimpin oleh Raoul Rigault, ia mulai melakukan beberapa penangkapan, biasanya atas dugaan makar. Mereka yang ditangkap termasuk Georges Darboy, Uskup Agung Paris, Jenderal Edmond-Charles de Martimprey dan Abbé Gaspard Deguerry. Rigault berusaha untuk menukar para tahanan ini dengan Louis Auguste Blanqui yang telah ditangkap oleh pasukan pemerintah. Meskipun negosiasi panjang, Adolphe Thiers menolak untuk membebaskannya.

Pada 22 Mei 1871, Marsekal Patrice de MacMahon dan pasukan pemerintahnya memasuki kota. Komite Keamanan Publik mengeluarkan sebuah dekrit: "Untuk mempersenjatai! Bahwa Paris dipenuhi dengan barikade, dan bahwa, di balik benteng-benteng improvisasi ini, ia akan kembali melontarkan seruan perangnya, teriakan kebanggaannya, teriakan pembangkangannya, tapi teriakannya kemenangan; karena Paris, dengan barikadenya, tak terkalahkan ... Paris revolusioner itu, Paris pada masa-masa besar, melakukan tugasnya; Komune dan Komite Keamanan Publik akan melakukan tugas mereka!" (17)

Diperkirakan sekitar lima belas hingga dua puluh ribu orang, termasuk banyak wanita dan anak-anak, menanggapi panggilan senjata. Pasukan Komune kalah jumlah lima banding satu dengan pasukan Marsekal MacMahon. Mereka berjalan ke Montmartre, tempat pemberontakan dimulai. Garnisun dari satu barikade, sebagian dipertahankan oleh batalion yang terdiri dari sekitar tiga puluh wanita, termasuk Louise Michel. Para prajurit menangkap 42 penjaga dan beberapa wanita, membawa mereka ke rumah yang sama di Rue Rosier di mana jenderal Clement-Thomas dan Lecomte telah dieksekusi, dan menembak mereka.

Sejumlah besar Garda Nasional berganti pakaian sipil dan melarikan diri dari kota. Diperkirakan hanya tersisa sekitar 12.000 Communard untuk mempertahankan barikade. Segera setelah mereka ditangkap, mereka dieksekusi. Raoul Rigaut menanggapi dengan membunuh tahanannya, termasuk Uskup Agung Paris dan tiga imam. Segera setelah itu Rigaut ditangkap dan dieksekusi dan pemberontakan berakhir segera setelah itu pada tanggal 28 Mei. Seperti yang ditunjukkan oleh Isaiah Berlin: "Pembalasan yang dituntut oleh tentara pemenang berupa eksekusi massal; teror putih, seperti yang biasa terjadi dalam kasus-kasus seperti itu, jauh melampaui tindakan kekejaman terhadap hewan ekses terburuk dari rezim yang kejahatannya telah terjadi. untuk mengakhiri." (18)

Menurut Marx inilah yang selalu terjadi ketika massa berusaha untuk menguasai masyarakat: “Peradaban dan keadilan tatanan borjuis muncul dalam cahayanya yang mengerikan setiap kali budak dan pekerja keras dari tatanan itu bangkit melawan tuannya. Kemudian peradaban dan keadilan ini berdiri sebagai kebiadaban yang tak terselubung dan balas dendam tanpa hukum Setiap krisis baru dalam perjuangan kelas antara pemilik dan produser memunculkan fakta ini dengan lebih mencolok... Kepahlawanan yang mengorbankan diri dengan mana penduduk Paris – pria, wanita, dan anak-anak – berjuang selama delapan hari setelah masuknya Versaillese, mencerminkan sebanyak keagungan tujuan mereka, seperti perbuatan jahat tentara mencerminkan semangat bawaan peradaban itu, memang, masalah besarnya adalah bagaimana menyingkirkan tumpukan mayat yang dibuatnya setelah pertempuran selesai!" (19)

Dalam pamflet terlarisnya, Perang Saudara di Prancis (1871), Karl Marx mengakui bahwa Asosiasi Pekerja Internasional sangat terlibat dalam Komune Paris. Jules Favre, menteri luar negeri yang baru saja diangkat kembali di Prancis, meminta semua pemerintah Eropa untuk melarang IWMA. Sebuah surat kabar Prancis mengidentifikasi Marx sebagai "pemimpin tertinggi" dari para konspirator, menuduh bahwa ia telah "mengorganisir" pemberontakan dari London. Ia mengklaim bahwa IWMA memiliki tujuh juta anggota. (20)

Pemerintah Eropa lainnya juga mendesak hukuman anggota IWMA. Spanyol setuju untuk mengekstradisi mereka yang terlibat dalam Komune Paris. Giuseppe Mazzini, pemimpin gerakan nasionalis Italia, bergabung dalam seruan untuk menangkap Marx, yang ia gambarkan sebagai "seorang dengan watak yang mendominasi; cemburu pada pengaruh orang lain; tidak diatur oleh keyakinan yang sungguh-sungguh, filosofis, atau religius; memiliki, saya takut lebih banyak unsur kemarahan daripada cinta di alamnya". (21)

Surat kabar Inggris juga mengeluhkan bahaya yang ditimbulkan oleh Karl Marx. Waktu memperingatkan kemungkinan Marx memiliki pengaruh pada kelas pekerja. Dikhawatirkan bahwa serikat pekerja Inggris yang solid yang menginginkan tidak lebih dari "upah sehari yang adil untuk pekerjaan sehari yang adil" mungkin dirusak oleh "teori aneh" yang diimpor dari luar negeri. (22) Marx menulis kepada Ludwig Kugelmann bahwa "Saya mendapat kehormatan untuk menjadi orang yang paling dilecehkan dan diancam saat ini di London." (23)

Duta Besar Jerman mendesak Granville Leveson-Gower, Menteri Luar Negeri Inggris, untuk memperlakukan Marx sebagai penjahat biasa karena "ancamannya terhadap kehidupan dan harta benda" yang keterlaluan. Setelah berkonsultasi dengan William Gladstone, Perdana Menteri, dia menjawab bahwa "opini sosialis yang ekstrem diyakini tidak akan mempengaruhi para pekerja di negara ini" dan "tidak ada langkah-langkah praktis sehubungan dengan negara-negara asing yang diketahui telah diambil oleh cabang Inggris dari Asosiasi." (24)

Publikasi dari Perang Saudara di Prancis (1871) membuat marah beberapa pemimpin serikat pekerja Inggris dan George Odger mengundurkan diri dari Dewan Umum Asosiasi Pekerja Internasional. Telah dikemukakan bahwa pengesahan Undang-Undang Reformasi tahun 1867 telah membuat kelas pekerja menjadi kurang radikal. Setelah Komune Paris, satu-satunya daerah di mana IWMA membuat kemajuan adalah di kubu anarkisme: Spanyol dan Italia. (25)

Pemerintah Prancis menandatangani Perjanjian Frankfurt pada Mei 1871. Ini menetapkan perbatasan antara Republik Ketiga Prancis dan Kekaisaran Jerman, Hal ini mengakibatkan Prancis kehilangan Alsace dan Lorraine, Strasburg dan benteng besar Metz ke Jerman dan melibatkan penyerahan 1.694 desa dan kota di bawah kendali Prancis ke Jerman. (26)

Setelah kemenangannya atas Prancis, Otto von Bismarck, Presiden Prusia, segera bertindak untuk mengamankan penyatuan Jerman. Dia bernegosiasi dengan perwakilan negara bagian Jerman selatan, menawarkan konsesi khusus jika mereka setuju untuk bersatu. Kekaisaran Jerman yang baru adalah sebuah federasi yang terdiri dari 25 negara bagian. Jerman menempati area seluas 208.825 mil persegi dan memiliki populasi lebih dari 41 juta. Sedangkan pada tahun 1871, Inggris menempati 94.525 mil persegi dengan jumlah penduduk 21 juta jiwa. Jonathan Steinberg berpendapat: "Para negarawan jenius telah mengubah politik Eropa dan telah menyatukan Jerman dalam delapan setengah tahun. Dan dia telah melakukannya dengan kekuatan kepribadian semata, dengan kecemerlangan, kekejaman, dan fleksibilitas prinsipnya." (27)

Bismarck memperoleh dukungan untuk penyatuan dengan mengizinkan semua pria di atas usia 25 tahun untuk memilih. Bismarck sampai pada keputusan bahwa cara terbaik untuk mencegah sosialisme adalah dengan memperkenalkan serangkaian reformasi sosial termasuk pensiun hari tua. Pada tahun 1881 ia mengumumkan bahwa "mereka yang cacat dari pekerjaan karena usia dan ketidakabsahan memiliki klaim yang beralasan untuk perawatan dari negara." Ketika masalah itu diperdebatkan, Bismarck digambarkan oleh para pengkritiknya sebagai seorang sosialis. Dia menjawab: "Sebut saja sosialisme atau apa pun yang Anda suka. Bagi saya sama saja." Telah dikemukakan bahwa niat Bismarck adalah untuk "menjalin ikatan antara pekerja dan negara untuk memperkuat yang terakhir, untuk mempertahankan hubungan otoritas tradisional antara kelompok sosial dan status, dan untuk memberikan kekuatan penyeimbang melawan kekuatan modernis liberalisme dan negara. sosialisme." (28)

Pada tahun 1883 Bismarck memperkenalkan sistem asuransi kesehatan yang memberikan pembayaran ketika orang sakit dan tidak dapat bekerja. Partisipasi adalah wajib dan kontribusi diambil dari karyawan, majikan dan pemerintah. Sistem Jerman memberikan manfaat pensiun iuran dan tunjangan cacat juga. Oleh karena itu, Jerman adalah negara pertama di dunia yang menyediakan sistem jaminan pendapatan yang komprehensif berdasarkan prinsip-prinsip asuransi sosial.

Bismarck menjelaskan: "Keluhan pekerja yang sebenarnya adalah ketidakamanan akan keberadaannya; dia tidak yakin bahwa dia akan selalu memiliki pekerjaan, dia tidak yakin bahwa dia akan selalu sehat, dan dia meramalkan bahwa suatu hari dia akan tua dan tidak layak untuk bekerja Jika dia jatuh miskin, bahkan jika hanya karena penyakit yang berkepanjangan, dia kemudian benar-benar tidak berdaya, dibiarkan sendiri, dan masyarakat saat ini tidak mengakui kewajiban nyata apa pun terhadapnya di luar bantuan biasa bagi orang miskin, bahkan jika dia telah bekerja sepanjang waktu dengan setia dan rajin. Bantuan biasa bagi orang miskin, bagaimanapun, meninggalkan banyak hal yang diinginkan, terutama di kota-kota besar, di mana itu jauh lebih buruk daripada di negara ini." (29)

Bismarck percaya bahwa sistem asuransi ini akan meningkatkan produktivitas, dan memusatkan perhatian politik pekerja Jerman untuk mendukung pemerintahannya. Hal ini juga mengakibatkan penurunan cepat emigrasi Jerman ke Amerika. Ia juga berharap hal itu akan mengurangi dukungan bagi kaum sosialis. Setelah disahkannya Undang-Undang Jaminan Hari Tua dan Cacat pada tahun 1889, Bismarck menganggap aman untuk melegalkan Partai Sosial Demokrat. (30)

Apapun belokan perang mengerikan yang akan datang, aliansi kelas pekerja dari semua negara pada akhirnya akan membunuh perang. Ini membuktikan bahwa berbeda dengan masyarakat lama, dengan kesengsaraan ekonomi dan delirium politiknya, sebuah masyarakat baru bermunculan, yang pemerintahan Internasionalnya adalah Perdamaian, karena penguasa alaminya akan sama di mana-mana - Buruh! Pelopor masyarakat baru itu adalah Asosiasi Pekerja Internasional.

Apa yang tidak dilihat oleh para pengecut Prusia adalah bahwa perang saat ini mengarah pada perang antara Jerman dan Rusia sebagaimana perang tahun 1866 menyebabkan perang antara Prusia dan Prancis. 2 akan bertindak sebagai bidan dari revolusi yang tak terhindarkan di Rusia.

Sebuah absurditas dan anakronisme untuk menjadikan pertimbangan militer sebagai prinsip yang dengannya batas-batas negara ditetapkan? Jika aturan ini berlaku, Austria masih berhak atas Venetia dan garis Minicio, dan Prancis atas garis Rhine, untuk melindungi Paris, yang tentunya lebih terbuka terhadap serangan dari timur laut daripada Berlin. dari barat daya. Jika batasan harus ditetapkan oleh kepentingan militer, tidak akan ada akhir untuk klaim, karena setiap garis militer pasti salah, dan dapat ditingkatkan dengan mencaplok beberapa wilayah yang lebih terpencil; dan, terlebih lagi, mereka tidak akan pernah dapat diperbaiki secara akhirnya dan adil, karena mereka selalu harus dipaksakan oleh penakluk kepada yang ditaklukkan, dan akibatnya membawa benih perang baru ke dalam diri mereka.

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(1) Yesaya Berlin, Karl Marx (1939) halaman 191

(2) Fransiskus Ketika, Karl Marx (1999) halaman 320

(3) David McLellan, Karl Marx: Sebuah Biografi (1973) halaman 355

(4) Karl Marx, pernyataan atas nama Asosiasi Pekerja Internasional (23 Juli 1870)

(5) Karl Marx, surat kepada Friedrich Engels (17 Agustus 1870)

(6) Karl Marx, surat kepada Friedrich Sorge (1 September 1870)

(7) David McLellan, Karl Marx: Sebuah Biografi (1973) halaman 358

(8) René de La Croix de Castries, Tuan Thiers (1983) halaman 320-333

(9) Yesaya Berlin, Karl Marx (1939) halaman 184 dan 185

(10) Karl Marx, Perang Saudara di Prancis (1871)

(11) Waktu (22 Maret 1871)

(12) Fransiskus Ketika, Karl Marx (1999) halaman 326

(13) Donny Gluckstein, Komune Paris: Sebuah Revolusi dalam Demokrasi (2006) halaman 231

(14) David McLellan, Karl Marx: Sebuah Biografi (1973) halaman 358

(15) Karl Marx, Perang Saudara di Prancis (1871)

(16) L'Humanite (19 Maret 2005)

(17) Komite Keamanan Publik (22 Mei 1871)

(18) Yesaya Berlin, Karl Marx (1939) halaman 187

(19) Karl Marx, Perang Saudara di Prancis (1871)

(20) Fransiskus Ketika, Karl Marx (1999) halaman 331

(21) Giuseppe Mazzini, Ulasan Kontemporer (Juli, 1872)

(22) Waktu (16 April 1872)

(23) Karl Marx, surat kepada Ludwig Kugelmann (28 Juni 1871)

(24) Fransiskus Ketika, Karl Marx (1999) halaman 332

(25) David McLellan, Karl Marx: Sebuah Biografi (1973) halaman 366

(26) Howard M. Sachar, Pembunuhan Eropa, 1918-1942: Sebuah Sejarah Politik (2014) halaman 263-264

(27) Jonathan Steinberg, Bismarck: Sebuah Kehidupan (2011) halaman 311

(28) Kees van Kersbergen, Perbandingan Politik Negara Sejahtera: Pembangunan, Peluang, dan Reformasi (2013) halaman 38

(29) Otto von Bismarck, pidato di Reichstag (Maret 1884)

(30) Ernest Peter Hennock, Asal Usul Negara Kesejahteraan di Inggris dan Jerman, 1850–1914 (2007) halaman 157


Prajurit Perang Prancis-Prusia Ditemukan dan Dikubur Kembali 150 Tahun Kemudian

Tentara dari Perang Prancis-Prusia dimakamkan kembali di Gravelotte pada Agustus 2020 / Komisi Makam Perang Jerman, Uwe Zucchi. Lukisan tahun 1910 karya Ernst Zimmer menggambarkan tentara Jerman dalam pertempuran Gravelotte.

Zita Ballinger Fletcher
25 Agustus 2020

Meskipun Perang Prancis-Prusia tahun 1870-71 tampaknya menjadi babak yang terlupakan dalam sejarah, konflik tersebut muncul kembali secara mengejutkan ketika pada bulan Juni seorang petani lokal di dekat Metz, Prancis, berhadapan dengan tulang manusia yang tersingkap di tepi sungai hutan. Ini adalah sisa-sisa enam tentara Prusia, terlupakan selama 150 tahun sampai mereka menarik perhatian otoritas Prancis dan Jerman. Jenazah secara resmi dimakamkan kembali di Gravelotte, Prancis, pada bulan Agustus.

Arkeolog internasional bekerja di situs tersebut. / Foto media Komisi Kuburan Perang Jerman

Penemuan yang tidak biasa terjadi di hamparan hutan milik pribadi di selatan Kastil Aubigny. Tulang-tulang itu terlihat akibat erosi tanah akibat percikan air di sepanjang bantaran sungai. Pemilik kastil bekerja sama dengan otoritas Prancis dan Komisi Makam Perang Jerman untuk memfasilitasi penggalian arkeologi di situs tersebut.

Perang Prancis-Prusia dikenal hari ini karena kemegahan dan imperialismenya. Para prajurit tak dikenal yang hidup dalam lukisan-lukisan medan perang yang luas mungkin meninggalkan kesan dalam ingatan kita dengan seragam mereka yang gagah dan berwarna-warni. Dalam nasib yang aneh, potongan-potongan seragam ini entah bagaimana selamat dari kerusakan waktu — menjadi petunjuk kunci dalam membantu para ahli mengidentifikasi sisa-sisa.

Para arkeolog menemukan kancing hijau yang terkorosi, sebagian dengan lubang tali ganda, dan sisa-sisa kain biru tua tersangkut di bawah kancing tanda pangkat. Jejak-jejak ini membantu para arkeolog untuk mengidentifikasi orang mati sebagai tentara Prusia. Saat para arkeolog dengan hati-hati membersihkan tanah lapis demi lapis dengan kuas dan memindai dengan detektor logam, mereka menemukan tulang tambahan dan banyak benda logam.


Pertempuran berdarah dari Agustus 1870 digambarkan dalam "Pertempuran Mars-La-Tour" oleh Emil Hünten.

Para ahli memperkirakan enam tentara tewas selama atau setelah Pertempuran Colombey (dikenal dalam bahasa Prancis sebagai Pertempuran Borny) pada 14 Agustus 1870. Ini adalah salah satu dari banyak bentrokan perbatasan berdarah antara Prancis dan lawan Jerman mereka yang dipimpin oleh Prusia .

Selama periode perang ini, Jerman meraih kemenangan dengan biaya besar. Para komandan Jerman tidak terlalu memperhatikan nyawa orang-orang mereka dan dengan kejam mempertahankan tekanan di medan perang bahkan ketika pasukan mereka dirusak oleh keunggulan senapan Chassepot Prancis. Pada 18 Agustus 1870, korban diperkirakan berjumlah 5.200 orang Jerman dan 1.100 orang Prancis tewas, dengan tambahan sekitar 30.000 orang terluka di kedua sisi.


Seorang pekerja Komisi Makam Perang Jerman menunjukkan lokasi pertempuran di peta. / Foto Komisi Kuburan Perang Jerman

Kecerobohan ini mendapat kritik dalam 21 Agustus 1870, laporan dari Raja Wilhelm I dari Prusia, yang menuntut para perwiranya memanfaatkan kecerdasan dan medan mereka sendiri dengan lebih baik untuk “mencapai hasil yang sama dengan pengorbanan [tenaga kerja] yang lebih sedikit.”

Dalam harmoni yang aneh, mantan musuh selama konflik berkumpul untuk menguburkan orang-orang Prusia yang tewas di pemakaman Gravelotte pada 14 Agustus, tepat 150 tahun setelah pertempuran terakhir tentara tak dikenal itu.


Para tamu termasuk pejabat sipil Prancis dan perwakilan Jerman menghadiri upacara pemakaman resmi untuk tentara tak dikenal di pemakaman Gravelotte. / Foto Komisi Kuburan Perang Jerman, Uwe Zucchi

Sekitar 50 tamu hadir dari komunitas lokal Prancis, termasuk walikota Gravelotte dan perwakilan kota Metz. Perwakilan Jerman juga hadir. Pembawa bendera Prancis memberikan penghormatan kepada orang mati selama upacara pemakaman, disertai dengan lagu-lagu dari anggota kelompok pemuda Jerman. Para peserta meletakkan bunga dan salib di kuburan. MH


Perang Prancis-Prusia: konflik yang menjerumuskan Eropa ke dalam mimpi buruk

Perang Prancis-Prusia, yang meletus 150 tahun yang lalu, memunculkan dendam yang akan mengirim benua menuju dua perang dunia. Michael Rowe menceritakan kisah konflik abad ke-19 yang memiliki konsekuensi bencana bagi dunia modern

Kompetisi ini sekarang ditutup

Diterbitkan: 19 November 2020 pukul 12:26 malam

Pada 7 Oktober 1870, Léon Gambetta, orang kuat pemerintah Prancis, melarikan diri dari Paris dengan balon gas. Perang Prancis-Prusia saat itu telah berkecamuk selama hampir tiga bulan, dan pasukan Jerman mengepung kota. Gambetta berharap untuk meningkatkan tentara baru di provinsi-provinsi untuk membebaskan ibukota. Itu adalah tindakan putus asa, yang menunjukkan betapa rendahnya nasib Prancis yang tenggelam.

Selama minggu-minggu berikutnya, keadaan menjadi lebih buruk, dengan warga biasa di ibu kota Prancis yang terkenal dikurangi menjadi makan kucing, anjing, tikus, dan kuda. Memoar dan surat penuh dengan perdebatan tentang manfaat relatif daging eksotis yang bersumber dari kebun binatang, seperti unta, kijang atau gajah. Tikus dari tempat pembuatan bir (tidak mengejutkan) dikatakan rasanya lebih enak daripada yang ditangkap di selokan. Sementara itu, pengusaha yang tidak bermoral mulai menjajakan barang-barang pengganti yang aneh seperti susu.

Kaisar Napoleon III terutama bertanggung jawab atas bencana ini. Keponakan dari Napoleon besar yang telah menaklukkan sebagian besar Eropa, Napoleon III telah menjadikan dirinya kaisar Prancis setelah kudeta pada tahun 1852. Victor Hugo dengan terkenal menolaknya sebagai "Napoleon yang Kecil", tetapi orang-orang Prancis mengharapkan hal-hal besar darinya. Prestasinya juga tidak dapat diabaikan: ia membangun kembali Paris, menciptakan kota yang kita kenal sekarang dan ia menegaskan kembali keunggulan Prancis dengan mengalahkan Rusia (dengan bantuan Inggris) dalam Perang Krimea tahun 1853–1856, dan Austria pada tahun 1859, yang memungkinkan serangan Italia penyatuan.

Napoleon III adalah pengganggu besar Eropa pada pertengahan abad ke-19. Sial baginya, dan bagi Prancis, pengganggu yang lebih besar muncul di sebelah timur Rhine, di negara bagian Prusia yang besar di Jerman. Namanya Otto von Bismarck.

Ketika Bismarck menjadi perdana menteri pada tahun 1862, Prusia adalah kekuatan 'besar' terlemah di Eropa, hanya salah satu dari tambal sulam negara yang belum bergabung ke dalam kekaisaran Jerman. Tetapi rajanya, William I, bertekad untuk memperbaiki ini melalui reformasi militer yang luas, dan menunjuk Bismarck yang maverick untuk mendorong mereka melalui parlemen Prusia yang enggan. Setelah pengangkatannya, Bismarck memperjelas pandangannya dalam salah satu kutipan sejarah yang lebih terkenal: "Pertanyaan besar hari ini tidak diputuskan melalui pidato dan mayoritas tetapi oleh besi dan darah."

Bismarck dan Napoleon memiliki banyak kesamaan. Keduanya populis konservatif, dan keduanya mengakui bahwa kekuatan baru nasionalisme yang melanda Eropa adalah sesuatu yang harus dieksploitasi daripada ditakuti. Namun upaya mereka untuk memanfaatkan semangat nasionalis ini menempatkan mereka pada jalur tabrakan, yang akan berakhir dengan konflik.

Perang Prancis-Prusia, sebagaimana konflik itu sekarang dikenal, berakhir dalam 10 bulan yang singkat, tetapi konsekuensinya luar biasa panjangnya. Di Jerman yang menang dan baru bersatu, itu membantu menjadikan militerisme sebagai ideologi dominan di Prancis yang kalah dan dipermalukan, itu memupuk keinginan yang membara untuk membalas dendam. Bahan-bahan beracun ini memicu pertumpahan darah lebih lanjut – dalam skala yang jauh lebih besar – di abad berikutnya. Pasti aman untuk mengatakan bahwa tanpa perjuangan Napoleon dan Bismarck untuk supremasi pada tahun 1870, abad ke-20 Eropa akan mengikuti lintasan yang sangat berbeda.

Panggilan bangun Napoleon

Hitung mundur Perang Prancis-Prusia dimulai dengan perang lain: perang tahun 1866, ketika tentara Prusia yang baru direformasi menghancurkan Austria dalam tujuh minggu. Ini membuktikan Bismarck di rumah dan merupakan panggilan untuk membangunkan Eropa. Prusia menjadi kekuatan dominan di Eropa tengah dan negara-negara Jerman lainnya sekarang melihat ke Berlin, bukan Wina, untuk kepemimpinan.

Ini membuat Prancis ketakutan. Respon panik awal Napoleon III adalah membangun kembali prestise Prancis dengan mencaplok Luksemburg atau bahkan Belgia. Dia meminta persetujuan Bismarck, tetapi ditolak. Kemudian, pada tahun 1868, krisis Eropa baru dimulai dengan penggulingan Ratu Spanyol Isabella II. Spanyol membutuhkan seorang raja baru dan, seperti yang sering terjadi pada periode ini, memilih seorang anggota dari salah satu keluarga pangeran Jerman yang tak terhitung banyaknya. Sayangnya pilihan itu, Pangeran Leopold dari Hohenzollern, terkait dengan William dari Prusia. Tidak mengherankan, Prancis menjadi balistik ketika pengetahuan ini dipublikasikan pada Juli 1870. Pemerintah Napoleon III, didorong oleh opini domestik, mencoba menyelamatkan muka dengan memaksa Prusia untuk memveto pengaturan tersebut. Raja William dengan senang hati membantu Prancis, karena dia tidak pernah menyukai prospek kerabat dekat yang memerintah negara yang tidak stabil seperti Spanyol.

Ada hal-hal yang mungkin telah beristirahat, tetapi untuk Prancis kemudian memainkan tangan mereka secara berlebihan. The French ambassador to Prussia met William at the spa resort of Bad Ems (13 July) and attempted to force a public climbdown, pressing him to block any future Hohenzollern candidacy. This backfired when William politely rebuffed the ambassador.

Bismarck was not present at Bad Ems, but had remained in Berlin, where an account of the exchange reached him in the so-called Ems telegram. Bismarck, in full knowledge of the likely consequences, then edited the telegram, deleting the diplomatic niceties, and released it for publication in the international press. This was Bismarck’s famous red rag, waved at the Gallic bull. The French duly rose to the bait and declared war, amid feverish jubilation on the streets of Paris.

The Franco-Prussian War, despite its name, saw France pitted against a coalition of German states who sided with Prussia. Their inhabitants increasingly saw themselves as fellow Germans and viewed the war against France as a national crusade. Prussia nonetheless provided the overwhelming majority of German forces, as well as the military leadership.

In technological terms, there was little between the belligerents: the French had better infantry rifles, the Prussians superior artillery. What gave the Prussians a decisive advantage was their numerical superiority at the outset, gained by very fast mobilisation, and above all superior military leadership.

“No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” So stated Helmuth von Moltke, the Prussian commander in 1870. Moltke was a new kind of military leader, more manager than charismatic warlord. He presided over the Prussian General Staff, an institution that planned operations and contingencies in peacetime. The regular rotation of staff officers back to their regiments ensured that best practice was spread throughout the army, which meant the overall commander could safely delegate to those best placed to seize opportunities that unfolded once hostilities commenced. This was the answer to the problem highlighted in Moltke’s quote above. Neither the French, nor other armies, operated in this way, and this showed in 1870.

Superior planning and numbers allowed the Prussians to concentrate along France’s eastern frontier. The French, without proper plans, quickly suffered setbacks and these destroyed the morale of Napoleon III, who had unwisely assumed personal command. The only sensible option for the French was to fall back and regroup, but Napoleon could not afford to lose face by retreating. The consequence was a series of major French defeats, starting with Gravelotte-St Privat on 18 August. This would prove the bloodiest engagement of the war, with a casualty rate that was a portent of 20th-century horrors. In just one 20-minute period, the Prussian Guard Corps alone suffered 8,000 men killed or wounded, due to an unholy combination of fast, modern weaponry and outdated attack styles involving massed ranks of men. At least the widespread introduction in this war of ‘dog tags’ – discs worn by soldiers that included their basic details – allowed for the identification of the dead.

Despite horrific losses at Gravelotte-St Privat, the Prussians won, thanks to superior artillery and better manoeuvring. Moltke then trapped most of the French army in the fortress of Metz. Political pressures intervened again on the French side and demanded a rescue effort. This resulted in the battle of Sedan (1–2 September), a second catastrophic French defeat in which Napoleon III himself was captured. News of this debacle reached Paris a few days later and caused regime change. The new republican Government of National Defence filled the political vacuum and proclaimed a war of national resistance.

The Franco-Prussian War now entered a new phase. Prussian forces advanced on Paris, which they besieged from 19 September. The French capital was too strong to be taken by storm, so needed to be starved into submission. While Léon Gambetta escaped to the provinces and raised new armies, irregular volunteers, known as Francstireurs, engaged in guerrilla tactics. The Prussians did not recognise them as legitimate combatants and shot them upon capture, burning down villages suspected of harbouring them.

This messy, dirty war dragged on for the remainder of 1870, to the discomfort of Bismarck who feared international opinion was swinging in favour of France. However, the defeat of Gambetta’s new armies in December meant that Paris was not going to be relieved, and with food running out there was no option but to seek a truce (28 January 1871) which ended the fighting. This created the conditions for French elections to be held, which produced a government with the authority to conclude a preliminary peace on 26 February. Though the new regime’s grip on power was threatened by the so-called Paris Commune, which briefly seized control of the capital in March, it nonetheless ratified the definitive Treaty of Frankfurt on 10 May.

Militarism off the leash

Few who ratified the Treaty of Frankfurt could have guessed the immense impact that the Franco-Prussian War would have on the continent of Europe – an impact that was, in the estimation of future British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, greater than the French Revolution. Geopolitically, Europe went from having a ‘soft’ centre, made up of lots of small separate states, to one with a hard core: impressed by Prussia’s military leadership, and driven by public opinion, Germany’s smaller states agreed to cede their independence to Berlin and form a single entity, the German empire. The big question that arose – and persists – is how such a powerful state can operate within the wider family of European nations.

Initially, things worked well enough. Bismarck used his undoubted political talents to preserve peace. However, when he fell from power in 1890, the more pernicious legacies of the 1870 war came to the fore, including militarism. All major powers in the late 19th century were militaristic, but newly unified Germany was more so than most. Prussia’s army, which formed the core of Germany’s military, emerged from the 1870 war with immense prestige. With Bismarck gone, no civilian leader had the stature to challenge its primacy. In Germany and across Europe, the military planner was let off the leash.

For France, defeat came as an awful shock made worse by the harsh treaty that followed, which inflicted the loss of the region of Alsace and part of Lorraine, and the payment of a large reparations bill. This humiliation nurtured a desire for revenge. A generation of schoolchildren grew up taught of the injustices of the peace settlement. In the 1890s, France exploited wider European unease at German power by creating an alliance, which in turn made Germany feel cornered.

This combination of militarism and bitterness created the perfect conditions for the next round of Franco-German conflict, the First World War, which on this occasion dragged in the rest of the world. Tragically, the millions of lives lost between 1914 and 1918 resolved nothing – and it was only after countless more died in the Second World War that the architects of Franco-German reconciliation built an edifice that still dominates Europe’s political landscape.

Chief among these architects were West Germany’s chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French president Charles de Gaulle. Both had fathers who fought in the Franco-Prussian War. Both originated from regions that bordered each other’s nations, and which had been contested throughout the centuries. There may or may not have been a sentimental dimension to their thinking.

The two statesmen also calculated that partnership within a European framework would enhance their ability to influence world events now largely shaped by the two new superpowers, America and the Soviet Union. This is what Adenauer meant when he told one of his French interlocutors that “Europe will be your revenge” shortly after the Suez debacle of 1956, when the US forced France and Britain to back down.

Both de Gaulle and Adenauer recognised the futility of the cycle of Franco-German wars initiated a century previously, and on 22 January 1963 concluded the Élysée Treaty, ushering in a new period of Franco-German friendship. Within this treaty’s framework other initiatives have flowed, designed to extend the relationship from the level of the state to society more broadly, through ideas such as youth exchanges, town twinning and joint history textbooks for schoolchildren. Within these textbooks, the Franco-Prussian War is not forgotten, but rather treated as a shared historical experience.

For Europe more broadly, including Britain, the Franco-German partnership as it now stands raises its own questions. Other European countries fear marginalisation when key decisions are essentially agreed beforehand by Paris and Berlin. Deeper integration is proposed as the best way of empowering these other states, and at the same time resolving the issue first created in 1870: how to run a continent with such a hard core. However, this integration process has spawned its own set of problems. Seen in these terms, it is clear that the legacy of the 1870 war still helps determine our continent’s everyday politics and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Michael Rowe is reader in European history at King’s College London


The Wars of Prussia (1792-1871): From the French Revolution to the Franco-Prussian War

Prussia is a country that no longer exists. The last hundred years or so of it’s existence Prussia was one of the most powerful of the several dozen independent German states. Originally founded by the Teutonic Knights, Prussia evolved over several centuries of war with neighboring Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Sweden, Austria, other German states, as well as the old foe in France, to become a very efficient, militarized nation that was able to successfully unite the various pieces of Germany into a single, united German Empire. The following list of Prussian wars shows the progression of wars and conflicts that enabled Prussia to grow. While part of the coalition against the radical French Revolution in the 1790s, and as one of the conservative forces that put down the revolutions of 1830 and 1848, Prussia evolved from an absolute monarchy to one of the more democratic parliamentary monarchies in Europe by the 1870s. With a population that was (compared to most of Europe at the time), fairly well-educated, and possessing a growing industrial economy, Prussia was well-placed to assume leadership of a united Germany. Unfortunately for Germany and the rest of Europe, the hard feelings left over from the Franco-Prussian War would fester and be one of the leading causes of World War One.

Wars of the French Revolution/Napoleonic Wars-The French overthrew their king and created the First Republic. European nations ruled by kings and emperors were shocked and frightened by the overthrow of King Louis, and attempted to end the Revolution.

War of the First Coalition (1792-1795)-Prussia, along with other royal powers who feared the threat represented by the bloody French Revolution against royalty and monarchy, invaded Revolutionary France in an attempt to crush the Revolution and restore the French monarchy to power. France raised huge citizen armies to battle the relatively small, professional armies of the invading powers. The French armies defeated the allied forces and preserved the Revolution.

Perang Koalisi Keempat (1806-1807)-Prussia and Austria were defeated by France. Prussia was forced to accept a French army of occupation and had to become an ally of France, contributing troops to his ongoing wars.

Polish Uprising Against Prussia (1806)-The Poles were successful in part because of aid from the French against Prussia.

French Invasion of Russia (1812-1813)-Prussia was a forced ally of France. Some 20,000 Prussian troops accompanied Napoleon’s huge, multi-national army into Russia, the subsequent defeat of Napoleon led to Prussia breaking free of French control and renewing their fight against the French Emperor.

Perang Koalisi Keenam (1813-1814)-Prussia joined Russia, Austria, Sweden, and other allied nations in the final push to defeat Napoleon. The Battle of Leipzig in Germany was the turning point, forcing Napoleon to retreat back to France. Allied forces followed, invading France and marching into Paris. Napoleon surrendered and was sent into exile on the island of Elba.

War of the Seventh Coalition (1815)-This was the shortest of the Napoleonic Wars. With Napoleon’s return from exile on the island of Elba, the Coalition powers scrambled to put their armies in the field against Napoleon. Only the British and the Prussians had forces available, and both of these allies marched forward to engage Napoleon and his resurgent French Empire. The British under Wellington, and the Prussians under Blucher met Napoleon on the battlefields of Belgium, near a town called Waterloo. There, in one of the most dramatic battles in history, the British and Prussians put an end to the threat represented by Napoleon.

Polish Uprising of 1830-Though the main focus of the Polish uprising was in the Russian-ruled portion of Poland, a smaller and shorter rebellion took place in Prussian-ruled Poznan.

The First Schleswig War (1848-1851)-The German Confederation, backed by Prussia, attempted to “liberate” the area of Schleswig from Denmark. The German effort failed.

Wars of German Unification

The Second Schleswig War (1864) -Prussia and Austria joined together to fight against Denmark for the Danish territories of Schleswig and Holstein. The two powerful German powers defeated Denmark fairly easily.

The Austro-Prussian War/Seven Weeks War (1866)-The long political, economic, and diplomatic debate over who would dominate the future of Germany was settled in this Seven Weeks’ War as superior Prussian military might defeated the Austrians. One result of this short war was the expulsion of Austria from Germany. Until the forced annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Austria was not considered to be a part of the “German Nation.”

The Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871)-This final war of German Unification pitted a united Germany, led by the Kingdom of Prussia, against the Second French Empire, led by Emperor Napoleon III. The united German forces defeated the French and occupied much of France. As a result of this war, all of the German states united into a new German Empire, led by the Prussian king. From this point on, Prussian history is melded into the history of a united Germany. Another result of this war was the harsh terms of peace dictated by the Germans on the French. France had to pay a large financial cost (enforced by German military occupation until it the war debt was paid off), as well as losing two border territories to Germany. The loss of Alsace and Lorraine galled the French and was a major point of hatred toward Germany. The French assumed that a new war with Germany would occur at some point, and they prepared for that day by increasing their military readiness and by entering into a series of alliances with other nations to help them in the future war with Germany. The Germans too, knew that a future war would occur with France, and also planned accordingly. That future war would begin in 1914, and would be known as the First World War. See also: Wars of Germany


Modern Tactics vs. Old World Pomp

One of the reasons that the French folded so quickly was due to the fact that Prussia had quietly been modernizing it’s military but not just in terms of technology. They had been taking notes from the recent military conflicts, including the Crimean War and the American Civil War, and were rapidly incorporating the best of what they were finding into their military strategy.

The new tactics being incorporated were revolutionary and rapidly outmatched the Old World thinking of the French forces. The Prussians used a heavy emphasis on attack, using small squads moving to achieve individual missions rather than being part of one large body of troops. The military doctrine at the time, while changing slowly, was still the old way of large infantry lines, supported by cannon batteries and flanking cavalry charges. In contrast, the Prussians broke down their armies into smaller groups, which were given broad objectives but no specific orders on how to achieve them.

The Prussians also used modern artillery in an offensive capacity to support the advance of the infantry, something that was also relatively new to warfare at the time. Combined with the Germans’ use of rail to move people and supplies around rapidly, this new way of fighting quickly outstripped the old way of fighting in spectacular and bloody fashion.

While Napoleon III was famous (or infamous depending on your perspective) for trying to rebuild and relive the glory days of his uncle Napoleon I, he was not caught completely still. Napoleon III had introduced a precursor to the machine gun to try and stop the fast moving German infantry, and he had a grand plan to mobilize millions of people to the front. The problem was neither of these things was fully realized at the time and were introduced alongside dated flamboyant officer uniforms and heavy use of ill-trained militia to bolster official troop numbers. The German innovations had been better studied and prepared for ahead of time and thus were more effective in this conflict.

The French would refine their advances that were just being brought about in 1870 in World War One with greater use of machine gun nests, artillery, and mass mobilization of the nation. At the time, the rapid and fluid movement of the German armies, combined with their modern and effective artillery, defeated the French army that was very much in a transition period at the time.


Causes for the War

The North German Union counted 24 million Prussians and 6 million other Germans in it’s population. Another 6 million Germans from the South German states were connected with the union by contractual obligations. France received nothing as compensation from the creation of a powerful German state, in terms of the number of inhabitants comparable to the population of France (36 million French). This was imposed on the internal political difficulties of the Emperor Napoleon III and the interest of Prussia in joining the South German kingdoms. Both powers sought to resolve their internal problems by victorious war with each other.

By the summer of 1870 Napoleon III felt the instability of his situation inside France. His influential wife, Empress Eugene, said, pointing to her son: “War is necessary for this child to reign.” Attempts to reach an agreement with Bismarck on the annexation of Luxembourg and even more so Belgium ended in nothing, the expansion of the French Empire in Europe could only take place militarily.

The cause for the conflict arose on July 1, 1870, when the Spaniards invited Prince Leopold from the side branch of the ruling Prussian dynasty Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen to the royal throne. The French, not without reason, saw a threat in the reign of the Hohenzollern dynasty simultaneously in Germany and Spain. On July 6, French Foreign Minister Duke Gramont declared in parliament that the French empire would not hesitate to start a war against Prussia if she “dared resurrect the empire of Charles V”.

Bismarck viewed the pressure of France as a convenient excuse for a war in which Prussia would have been the victim of an aggressive neighbor, but Prussian King William I forced his relative Leopold to officially abandon the Spanish throne. Nevertheless, Napoleon III, under the influence of his closest entourage and a false impression of the state of the French army, decided to accelerate the events. July 13, Paris demanded a written statement from Wilhelm with a commitment not to harm the interests of France in the future. The demand contained deliberate insolence, and the Prussian king refused to give such guarantees, promising to continue negotiations. Bismarck, after consulting with the chief of staff and the minister of war, arbitrarily changed the text on the negotiations for publication in the press in such a way that William refused to discuss the matter with the French ambassador at all. The French perceived it exactly as Bismarck had hoped.

The dynastic dispute turned into a cause for war, the cause of which was in the struggle for political domination in Western Europe. On July 15, the deputies of the French Parliament voted in favor of declaring war by 245 votes to 10. July 19, 1870 at a meeting of the North German Reichstag Bismarck announced the beginning of the war of France against Prussia.


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Success in the latter endeavor would change European power relationships in ways France could hardly be expected to ignore. Contemporary opinion in fact laid primary responsibility for the events of 1870 at the door of Napoleon III, who allegedly forced a conflict to shore up his unstable regime. Beginning in the 1890s, responsibility was increasingly shifted to a Bismarck described as provoking war in the interests of German hegemony: "blood and iron" in a European setting. Late-twentieth-century scholarship emphasizes Bismarck's desire to keep as many options as possible open for as long as possible. He prided himself on being able to step into a situation and stir things up, confident that he could respond to confusion exponentially better than his associates and opponents. In the spring of 1870 he had his chance.

Bismarck's primary objective was resolving the German question in Prussia's favor. The argument that Bismarck's initial approval of Spain's offer of its vacant crown to Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (a branch of the ruling house of Prussia) was intended to provoke a war overstates Bismarck's belligerence while underrating his self-confidence. The Hohenzollern candidacy was designed to provoke a crisis with France. But it was so managed that at each stage the final initiative, the final choice, remained with Paris. Bismarck recognized that war was an extremely likely outcome of the situation. At the same time he was testing the intentions of the emperor and of France itself.

An international incident is what one of the parties involved wishes to define as an international incident. Negotiating room remained in the first days of July, particularly after Leopold withdrew his candidacy in the face of French hostility. But a French government enjoying its triumph overplayed its hand by demanding that Prussia guarantee the candidacy would not be renewed. Bismarck's negative reply was interpreted in Paris as a justification for a war Bismarck by now also believed inevitable. On 15 July the North German Confederation issued its mobilization orders.


The Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War

Through the first half of 1870 a confrontational fever with Germany spread throughout France. On July 15 Emperor Napoleon III led his nation "into one of the most disastrous wars in her history." (1) The Franco-Prussian conflict did not officially commence until July 19, 1870. In the course of its first weeks it produced a series of demoralizing defeats for the French. The army of Napoleon III "went to war ill-equipped, badly led, trained and organized, and with inferior numbers." (2) On August 19, one French army was trapped in the fortress of Metz and on September 1, the Empire of Napoleon III came crushing down when a second army was captured at Sedan with the Emperor himself. Three days later the news reached Paris and the fall of the Empire was proclaimed. The Empress left for England and a provisional government took power. (3) For the next five months, the "city of lights," as Parisians had proudly proclaimed "the center of the universe," was transformed. It became an army camp--French soldiers, National Guardsmen, volunteers-within, Prussian forces without. Luxuries, and then basic necessities slowly disappeared. Food became scarce, and the inhabitants resorted to edibles normally associated with other species. The government under General Trochu and leaders like Victor Hugo, Jules Favre, and Adolphe Thiers, tried to govern internal as well as external pressures. Finally, on January 27, an armistice was signed. It brought temporary calm to the capital, before the storm of the Paris commune and the second siege arrived.

The new government in Paris, after the defeat at Sedan, was composed in part by publicists, politicians, lawyers, and teachers who had opposed Louis Napoleon's coup d'etat in 1851. "The Government of National Defense" was the official title, and nearly all kinds of political opinions were included, with the exception of the Bonapartists. The actual power rested with the Legitimists, Orleanists, and other conservatives. General Trochu, military governor of Paris and an Orleanist, held the presidency. Others included Leon Gambetta-minister of the Interior, General Le Flo- Minister for War, Jules Favre-Minister of Foreign Affairs and vice-president, Victor Hugo, Count Henri Rochefort-journalist and political enemy of Napoleon III who spent many years in prison, and Adolphe Thiers-the old minister of Louis Phillipe who went on diplomatic missions for the new republic. (4) Besides the day-to-day operation of the government, the three main objectives of the Government of National Defense were the procurement of a favorable peace treaty, enlistment of the aid of foreign powers, and the military preparation of Paris. The first objective got off to a bad start on September 6 when Jules Favre announced, "France would not give up an inch of her territory nor a stone of her fortresses." (5) This attitude went counter to that of Otto Von Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany, who saw the cession of territory as being as indispensable to the Prussians as it was inadmissible to the French. Bismarck demanded the immediate turnover of Alsace-Lorraine as well as Metz, Strasbourg, and Mont-Valerien (the fortress commanding Paris). Bismarck's proposals were rejected and the government was forced to defend the city and continue the war. Negotiations continued however, nothing concrete came out of them until the end of January when Jules Favre was sent to Versailles to discuss the terms of armistice. By this time Paris had been bombarded, food and other essential stores were nearly exhausted, and Prussian victories throughout the rest of France were a daily occurrence.

The armistice was to set up the preliminary conditions for a peace treaty to be signed. Its terms included the surrender of all French fortifications, except those serving as prisons laying down their weapons with the exception of the Army which was to act independently for the maintenance of order, the immediate exchange of prisoners, and Paris was to pay 200,000,000 francs for war reparations within a fortnight. Also, anyone leaving the city needed a French military pass. (6) Back in September, the French government began pursuing the second objective, acquiring foreign aid, when Thiers was sent to England, Austria, and Russia to enlist help. He was sympathetically welcomed, but was unable to shore up any support. Only America showed enthusiasm for the new French Republic, however they were not yet ready to intervene on their behalf. Thiers tried again in October with the same results. From that point on he was used solely as the representative of the French government in the ongoing negotiations with Bismarck. Prior to the investment of Paris, the provisional government made efforts to prepare the military forces of the city. These efforts included: manpower allocations, defensive fortification and supplies. Troops were brought back from the surrounding provinces. General Vinoy's forces, which escaped capture at Sedan, were later consolidated with those of the provinces. Together they became the Provincial Mobile Guard. Meanwhile the National Guard furnished sufficient manpower to increase its size from 90,000 to more than 300,000 men. (7) Another aspect of the military preparation was the establishment of strong defensive fortifications. The forts in the vicinity of Paris were abandoned because it would have required too much work and time to get them ready, and the decision was made to move the defensive lines closer to the city's environs. All forests and wooded areas deemed favorable to enemy advantage were cut. Thus were the forests of Montmorency, Bundy, Boulogne, and Vincennes treated. The allocation of supplies was vital to the defense of Paris. Barracks, hospitals and factories for the manufacture of military hardware were established all over the city. Railway shops became cannon foundries, while tobacco factories became arsenals. The Louvre was transformed into an armament shop after the art gallery was moved for safekeeping. Balloons were constructed at the Orleans railway stations. (8) Hotels, department stores, theaters, and public buildings served as hospitals. The Tuileries and the Napoleon and Empress Circuses became barracks. (9) When in action, all the forces were under the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and subject to military law. Most of these actions centered on small sorties, unassumingly called "reconnaissances." In late September 1870, the objects of the sorties were to test the tenacity of the troops and probe the Prussian circle to determine its vulnerability. As for the Prussians, once the city was surrounded and more troops made available for the siege, the question was whether to bombard the capital or starve it into surrender. In his diary entry for October 8, Crown Prince Frederick states, "we shall certainly have to make up our minds to a bombardment of Paris. but to postpone as long as possible their actual accomplishment, for I count definitely on starving out the city." (10) The bombardment did not begin until January 4. The arrival of the shelling did not panic the Parisians. They had been expecting it since October.

Precautions were taken to protect all works of art. Sandbags were placed in the windows of the Louvre, the School of Fine Arts and other important buildings, while outside monuments were taken underground. The bombardment lasted twenty-three days, usually from two to five hours each night. In the end, the Parisians refused to be intimidated and the psychological advantage of this tactic was lost. The siege of Paris slowly made its impact in an area critical to survival: the economy. According to a correspondent for The Times of London, "Business for France is everywhere broken up, and one-third of the country is devastated and ruined." (11) The first segment to directly feel the enclosure was the import and export activity. In order to survive, Paris needed a self-supporting economy, while also channeling most of its resources for the defense. Factories were now employed in making military necessities, instead of consumer goods. When the siege dragged on, the prospects for a speedy recovery evaporated and finally gave out completely when the bombardment began as some of those factories, in conjunction with other businesses, were damaged. The Prussians might not have been purposely inclined to destroy the French economy, except in one particular area: food consumption. The government's failure to establish a census system early during the siege caused it to miscalculate on its supply of comestibles, playing into the hands of the invaders. The census did not take place until December 30 and it was discovered that Paris contained a population of 2,005,709 residents excluding the armed forces. (12) The government however, did ask foreigners to leave, but the number who did was offset by the arrival of refugees from the provinces. This number of inhabitants and the Prussian encirclement had disastrous consequences. Early in 1870, the price of food had increased and by the start of the Franco-Prussian conflict it was 25 percent higher. (13) Prices did not go much higher because the government announced the number of cattle, sheep, and hogs within Paris to be adequate. However, everyone, even the government, believed the siege would last a very short time, perhaps a maximum of two months. The situation did not change until the early days of October. A few days before October 15, butchers suddenly refused to sell more than a day's ration. On October 15, the official rationing of meat began and continued throughout the entire siege, each portion becoming smaller and smaller. Eventually, nothing was left and Parisians resorted to other types of meat. The first substitute for the regular meat diet was horse. Parisians disdained it, at first, and it took the Horse-Eating Society to inform the public of the advantages to eating horse. When it finally came down to eating them, all breeds were included, from thoroughbred to mules. With time even this type of nourishment became rare, so other meats were introduced into the diet. Dogs, cats, and rats (14) were frequently eaten. The animals of the zoo were added to this diet, including Castor and Pollux, the two elephants that were the pride of Paris. Only the lions, tigers, and monkeys were spared the big cats for the difficulty of approaching them, the monkeys because of "some vague Darwinian notion that they were the relatives of the people of Paris and eating them would be tantamount to cannibalism." (15)

During the middle of January, the government placed bread on the ration list, setting the daily quota at 300 grams for adults and half that amount for children. Parisians then realized that they were on the verge of starvation. As for the Prussians, this meant a quick solution to the conflict as Frederick III writes on his diary entry for January 7, "There is news from Bordeaux that provisions in Paris would be exhausted about the end of January, and at best could only last until early in February. I trust this may be true." (16) The terrible ordeal suffered by Paris between 1870-1871 was not their first, according to a German newspaper story reprinted in The Times. In 1590, Henry IV stood before Paris much like Bismarck was doing, and the city knew nothing worse. According to the story, the people of Paris forgot what meat was and they had to subsist on leaves or roots dug up from under stones. Terrible diseases broke out and in three months 12,000 people died. Bread no longer existed while all the dogs were captured and eaten. (17) The maledictions associated with siege warfare were no strangers to Parisians however, the peace treaty with Germany brought needed relief before the arrival of the Paris Commune with its own set of trials and tribulations.

1. "The French Army and Politics 1870-1970"- pg. 7

3. "The War Against Paris"- pg. 1

4. "The Siege of Paris 1870-1871"- pg. 6

6. "The War Diary of the Emperor Frederick III"- pg. 283

7. "The Siege of Paris 1870-1871"- pg. 22

8. Balloons served to carry the mail and diplomats outside the city safely from Prussian attack. Pigeons were used to carry messages. For more on this aspect of the siege read "Airlift 1870" by John Fisher.

9. "The Siege of Paris 1870-1871"- pg. 24

10. "The War Diary of the Emperor Frederick III"- pg. 150

11. The Times of London, 1870 edition

12. "The Siege of Paris 1870-1871"- pg. 43

14. The price of rats became so high that not everyone could afford this delicacy, which was considered of the highest quality since rats fed on cheese and grains.

15. "The Siege of Paris 1870-1871"- pg. 63

16. "The War Diary of Emperor Frederick III"- pg. 253

17. The Times of London, 1870 edition Bibliography Kranzberg, Melvin. The Siege of Paris, 1870-1871. A Political and Social History. Greenwood Press Publishers. Connecticut. 1950 Tombs, Robert. The War Against Paris- 1871. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. 1981 Allinson, A. R. (translator and editor)- The War Diary of the Emperor Frederick III- 1870-1871. Greenwood Press Publishers. Connecticut. 1926 Horne, Alistair. The French Army and Politics- 1870 to 1970. Peter Bedrick Books. New York. 1984


What were the Consequences of the Franco-Prussian War?

The consequences of the Franco-Prussian war proved very significant in the history of Germany, France and Italy. They were disastrous for Napoleon III and the Second Napoleonic Empire, but on the other hand, they proved highly encouraging to Italy and Germany.

1. The southern states of Germany had taken part in the war in support of Prussia. After the defeat of France at Sedan, these states were freed from the dominance of France. These states were included in the confederation of Germany.

The unification of Germany was completed. A federal constitution was framed. William I, the King of Prussia, was made the Emperor of the German Empire. His coronation was celebrated in the royal palace of Versailles on January 18, 1871.

2. The Franco-Prussian war also completed the unification of Italy. By 1866 all states of Italy had been united into one nation except Rome. This state was under the dominance of Pope. The French army had been staying there since 1849 for the assistance of Pope.

When the war broke out in 1870, Napoleon III called his army back to fight against Prussia. Victor Emmanuel, the king of Piedmont-Sardinia took the advantage of the opportunity and attacked Rome.

The army of Pope was defeated and Rome was captured by Victor Emmanuel. With this victory, the great work of the unification of Italy was completed. Rome became the capital of Italy.

3. The war proved to be the most disastrous in the history of France. The news of the downfall of Napoleon III at Sedan resounded throughout the world. On September 3, 1870 Napoleon III sent the message to Paris:

The army has been defeated and is captive, I myself am a prisoner.”

It meant that Napoleon III was no longer the head of the government of France. People began to shout: “Down with the Empire”, “Long Live the Republic”. The Second Napoleonic Empire was abolished and the Republican leaders proclaimed the Republic in France from the Hotel de Ville. It was called the Third Republic.

4. The treaty of Frankfort sowed the seeds of hostility and enmity between France and Germany. The provisions of the treaty were considerably humiliating to France.

It produced a feeling for avenging the insult in the hearts of the French. This treaty became the base of the foreign policy of Bismarck after 1871. No doubt, this hostility led to the First World War.

In this way, Bismarck completed the great work of the unification of Germany with his farsightedness, ability, and diplomacy. He proved that the problems of the country could be solved only by blood and iron.


The History Guy

This page shows conflicts between France and the "modern" state of Germany, a nation which developed partially as a result of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. Though France and various German states and political entities fought wars from the time of Charlegmane, those conflicts are not part of this category.

Click on the blue links to access specific pages.

Franco-Prussian War (July 19, 1870 – May 10, 1871)--Major war between the Prussian-led German forces and the Second French Empire. This war helped cause the unification of Germany and paved the way for the ongoing hostility which was a leading cause of World War One.

perang dunia I (1914-1918)

French and Belgian Occupation of the Ruhr Valley (Jan. 11, 1923-August, 1925)--Germany fell behind in war payments to the Allies due to the collapse of the German economy. France and Belgium invade and occupy the industrial Ruhr Valley region of western Germany until the re-payments are complete.

perang dunia II (1939-1945)


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