The Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871: A European Turning-Point?

Conference, 16-17 April 2021, online

The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 is widely acknowledged to have been a cause of intense political, social and cultural conflict, a shaping element in modern French and German nationalism, and a significant factor in international tensions prior to 1914. The 150th anniversary in 2020-21 provides an opportunity to re-evaluate the impact of the Franco-Prussian War as a turning-point for Europe.


Provisional programme:

Please note, all panels will be held on Zoom. Further information and links will be provided prior to the conference. All times are UK times (BST).

Day 1: Friday 16 April 2021

Conference welcome: 9.30.45
Panel 1: 9.45-11.45 - Military Dimensions
1. Mark Bennett (Royal Armouries)- ‘Neue Waffen, alte Taktik’: Tactics, learning and the civil-military interface in Europe, 1866 – 1875
2. Bastian Matteo Scianna (Potsdam) - Who’s afraid of the francs-tireurs? The Debate on Irregular Warfare in German Military Journals, 1870–1914
3. Jean-Philippe Miller-Tremblay (EHESS/Ecole Polytechnique)- Reforming an army? Parade and the French troops after the armistice of 1871
4. Mario Draper (University of Kent) – A Military Thoroughfare?: The Legacy of the Franco-Prussian War on Belgian Neutrality’

Break: 11.45-12.00
Panel 2: 12.00-13.30 - Humanitarianism and International Law
1. Lia Brazil (European University Institute)- The Franco-Prussian War’s influence on the development of international laws of war
2. Richard Bates (University of Nottingham) - Florence Nightingale, the Franco-Prussian War and the Red Cross
3. James Crossland (Liverpool John Moores University) - Confusions, Deceptions and Banditry: The Abuses of the Red Cross Emblem during the Franco-Prussian War

Lunch break: 13.00-14.00
Panel 3: 14.00-15.30 – Literary Representations
1. Marion Glaumaud-Carbonnier (University of Cambridge) - Frapper au coeur : tourner la page de 1870 dans la littérature française (1870-1914)
2. Nicholas White (University of Cambridge) - Émile Zola’s La Débâcle: A Transnational Media Event?
3. Kate Ashley (Acadia University) - Missing in Action; or, Why Les Soirées de Médan Has Never Been Translated into English

Break: 15.30-15.45
Panel 4: 15.45-17.15 - Ideas of Nationalism and Race
1. Corentin Marion (University of Paris/University of Bielefeld) - Us and Them. The Impact of The Franco-Prussian War on The Definition of Nation in France and Germany
2. Maciej Górny (Polish Academy of Sciences/German Historical Institute Warsaw) - La race Prussienne and her source: Racist responses to the national calamity
3. Guillaume Lancereau (EHESS) - History Defeated: Historiographical Nationalism as a Legacy of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1914)

Day 2: Saturday 17 April 2021

Panel 5: 9.30-11.30 - Diplomatic and International Dimensions
1. Alma Hannig (University of Bonn)- ‘The Prussians are incredibly lucky’: Austria-Hungary and the Franco-Prussian War
2. Uygar Aydemir (Üsküdar University, Istanbul)- Discourses of Peace and War in Istanbul following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71
3. Andrea Ungari (Guglielmo Marconi University) – The Franco-Prussian War and its aftermath in Italian political scenario
4. Giorgio Ennas (European University Institute)- New Diplomacy for a new World: The Ottoman adoption of Realpolitik

Break 11.30-11.45
Panel 6: 11.45-13.15 – Maps and Battlefield Tourism
1. Nina Kreibig (Humboldt-Universität, Berlin) - Of ‘locusts’, ‘crusaders’ and ‘battlefield tourists’. The fascination of (uninvolved) observation in the context of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871)
2. Christian Bunnenberg (Ruhr Universität Bochum) - From ‘grenade collectors’ and national pilgrimage sites - perspectives on the history of tourism after the war of 1870/71
3. Carolin Hestler (University of Education Ludwigsburg) - The commemoration of the Franco-Prussian war in school book maps

Lunch break: 13.15-14.15
Panel 7: 14.15-15.45 – Representations and Perceptions
1. José Manuel López Torán (University of Castilla-La Mancha) - Photography in Franco-Prussian war: a turning-point in the representation of the European heritage destruction
2. Tobias Arand (University of Education Ludwigsburg) - Ludwig Pietsch's ‘Frühstücksplaudereien mit dem Kronprinzen’ – Artists and writers in modern war
3. Oliver Benjamin Hemmerle (Grenoble Alpes University) - The War of 1870/71 and the Birth of the Modern Spy and Saboteur? Realities, Myths and Perceptions

Break: 15.45-16.00
Panel 8: 16.00-17.30 - Legacies
1. Nicholas Martin (University of Birmingham) - The Kaiser’s New Clothes: Culture Wars in Germany after 1871
2. William Kidd (University of Stirling) - L’Algérie française, une nouvelle Alsace-Lorraine?
3. Cathérine Pfauth (University of Education Ludwigsburg) – ‘Heute vor 150 Jahren’ – A Twitter project on the anniversary of the Franco-Prussian War

17.30-17.45 - Conference close