The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871
Publisher: Cambridge University Press | ISBN: 052161743X | edition 2005 | PDF | 342 pages | 7,34 mb
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performance in weaponry, logistics and organization, based on an illuminating comparison between the undisciplined and outdated French army and the supremely professional and meticulous Prussians, whose innovations in tactics, planning, staff work and mass mobilization revolutionized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.