Bristol Fighter by J M Bruce

By J M Bruce

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No trace of the former animosity against the military which used to be noticeable among the lower classes. ’4 Hohenlohe’s remarks attest to the popularity and prestige of the Prussian army after the Austro-Prussian War, an army which had been reformed and expanded in the 1860s in the face of bitter opposition from the Prussian parliament. Its role in forging the North German Confederation already suggested its new status. But in May 1870 Hohenlohe could scarcely have anticipated how those same troops on parade in Berlin would soon help to turn his dream of a united Germany into a reality.

Its role in forging the North German Confederation already suggested its new status. But in May 1870 Hohenlohe could scarcely have anticipated how those same troops on parade in Berlin would soon help to turn his dream of a united Germany into a reality. In July 1870 the Franco-Prussian War broke out as a consequence of Prussian provocation and French diplomatic blunders. On 1–2 September the Prussian army, together with its south German allies, smashed the forces of the French Second Empire at Sedan.

Imperial Germany has often been described as Janus-faced. The idea that Germany faced both forward and backward is suggestive of the tensions permeating imperial society, but recently it has tended to lead historians into the trap of blinkered, binary thinking. One symptom of this problem is that students and scholars are often asked to choose whether the German Empire was authoritarian or modern. Another symptom is the persistent notion of a sharp dividing line around 1890, where everything ‘before’ is seen as unmodern and everything ‘after’ hypermodern.

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Bristol Fighter by J M Bruce
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