Saturday 7 June 2014

The Franco-Prussian War (1870 - 1871) - a pivotal conflict?

In the UK we were not taught about the Franco-Prussian War which was surely a pivotal conflict that contributed to the prelude to WW1. This means that we would never fully understand why the First and therefore the Second World Wars took place.

In his book "The Battle of the Frontiers Ardennes 1914", Terence Zuber tells us that, prior to 1914 both France and Germany had spent 40 years arming and training their armies.   The reason for that must surely be the failure of the Franco-Prussian War to provide an outcome to keep both sides happy.

So we need to brush up on our history in order to understand what happened and especially if we are to properly debate the causes of The First World War. If truth be known this is surely the only way to heal the wounds and make sure it does not happen again.   Who was it who said "if we do not learn from the lessons of history, we are condemned to relive them"?

Winston Churchill certainly said it but the expression is apparently credited to Spanish-born philosopher George Santayana.