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FRANCE RECOVERY FROM THE MILITARY DEFEAT OF 1870 AND THE INTERNAL STRIFE OF THE PARIS COMMUNE - Essay Example

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It is evident from the discussion that the recovery of France from the military defeat of 1870 and the internal strife of the Paris Commune was to a remarkable extent, this is despite many challenges encountered. In fact, the recovery was slow, gradual, and sometimes unforeseen…
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FRANCE RECOVERY FROM THE MILITARY DEFEAT OF 1870 AND THE INTERNAL STRIFE OF THE PARIS COMMUNE
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"FRANCE RECOVERY FROM THE MILITARY DEFEAT OF 1870 AND THE INTERNAL STRIFE OF THE PARIS COMMUNE"

Download file to see previous pages The Franco – Prussian war of 1870-71 and the humiliating defeat at Sedan marked an end of French dominance on the continent, a position that the country had enjoyed since the mid seventeenth century. The republic that was born out of defeat and of the internal strife of the Paris Commune was one of the longest of all the republics, living in peace with its neighbors until the outbreak of war in 1914 and lasting until Nazi occupation and the fall of France in 1940. This period saw the buildup of the greatest empire France had ever possessed, conquering territories such as Indo-China, Madagascar and much of West and North Africa. By the year 1914, France was the second largest colonial power in the World and the most dominant in Africa. The Third Republic saw the development of the arts movement, which was unrivalled in any other era of French history, a period known as the Belle Époque. There were wide ranging educational and political reforms, centralization of the state, the emergence of a mass media culture and success in engineering, electrical and chemical industries.
Despite the endurance of the Republic, it is regarded as a period of great instability and from its very beginnings was plagued with problems. Governments ‘appeared to fall and be replaced with monotonous regularity’ and as various scandals consumed it, the Republic was threatened by deep- rooted political divisions between the left and right that seemed to control events for many years.The Paris Commune although eventually crushed by Thiers (a man who, along with his government exhibited a clear mistrust of the social and political unrest that Paris symbolized) defined working class culture for years to come. and created a new fervour for socialist ideals in France, posing a threat to the traditional Monarchist ideals. By addressing the various scandals, issues and concerns that followed the defeat of France and the Paris Commune, we will examine how effectively France recovered from these events. How well did the new Republic deal with the threats it faced after the defeat, and how did the explosion of growth in working-class political activity during the commune affect the country in the subsequent years? Are the criticisms of the Republic truly justified, or did France manage to recover from these events remarkably well considering the multitude of political struggles that she faced? The military decline of France in the Franco- Prussian war was indeed disappointing and devastating to France and its citizens. The war had resulted to loss of material resources and caused many deaths and injuries in addition to bruising France’s pride and ending the continent’s dominance that France had enjoyed since the mid- Seventeenth century. Therefore, from the outset of the defeat, the emphasis in France was on recovering from the defeat. The Paris Commune was without doubt a landmark in modern European History. It was seen by Karl Marx as the first determined attempt by the proletariat to overthrow the forces of capitalism. The extent to which the commune was socialist has however been a matter of much controversy (Fortescue, 2000, p 16) and seen by many at the time as much of a move of patriotism as it was a revolutionary act (Gluckstein, 2011, p. 55). The Commune represented patriotism, republicanism, anti-clericalism and a commitment to the working class along with their fervor for direct democracy. Majority of the French people embraced Paris Commune since most of them were working class compared to the anarchists who were opposed to it. However, the conditions under which it formed, its decrees that were mostly controversial, and the violent end that it had, made its ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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