By David Wetzel
Read or Download A Duel of Nations: Germany, France, and the Diplomacy of the War of 1870-1871 PDF
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Extra info for A Duel of Nations: Germany, France, and the Diplomacy of the War of 1870-1871
The historian can only emphasize the violence of this aversion. A powerful emotional nerve had been in some way touched and offended—so painfully offended that it would never cease to hurt. From that time on, hatred of France would become, for this otherwise astute military strategist, an unreasoning and uncontrollable emotional ﬁxation. This disposition on Moltke’s part was, especially as the war dragged on, a matter of common knowledge in all well-informed circles. Although Bismarck could not remain long unaware of this disposition, it seems to have taken him some time to understand the full depth of Moltke’s hatred.
He had acquitted himself with distinction in the handling of the essential assignments in the world of a workaday diplomat—representation, reporting, and negotiation—as only a professional can understand them, and this was of the utmost signiﬁcance, for, aside from precision and the sharpness of mind that it lent to his statecraft, it also gave him a vision of what he could expect from diplomatic agencies. 15 politics and personalities Bismarck often made mistakes—and these will be treated as the narrative of our drama unfolds.
But suppose Napoleon suddenly had had a change of heart and decided to make peace? Sick, weak, vacillating, he could have used Belgium as a bargaining card to get out of the war after a ﬁrst 37 the position of the powers French victory as he had done in the Italian war in 1859. Publication of the Benedetti treaty was an announcement to the world that Prussia considered Napoleon an aggressor whose appetite for conquests knew no bounds. ”32 In any case, on 9 August 1870, there took place in London the signing of a convention between Prussia and Great Britain guaranteeing the independence of Belgium not only during the period of hostilities but down to the conclusion of peace.