The University of Wisconsin Press
A Duel of Nations
Germany, France, and the Diplomacy
of the War of 1870–1871
“Wetzel’s praiseworthy and nuanced work reminds us that individuals and their personalities matter a great deal in the making of diplomacy and wars.”
—Herbert F. Ziegler, University of Hawaii at Manoa
On July 19, 1870, Emperor Napoleon III of France declared war against the Prussia of King William I and Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck. A Duel of Nations dramatically depicts the world in which that war took place. In this, the first book in English to study in totality the diplomatic history of the Franco-Prussian War, David Wetzel draws extensively on private and official records, journalistic accounts, cabinet minutes, and public statements by key players to produce a book that is unmatched in the range and clarity of its analysis, its forceful characterizations, and its vivid language.
“The history of Europe after Sedan was the struggle for stability in the face of rising German power, and 1870–71 was the cockpit of that struggle. In A Duel of Nations, David Wetzel puts us there in gripping detail: a preemptive war, a rapid battlefield defeat, regime change, an insurgency, atrocities, sweating statesmen, an indignant international community, and all of the auguries of 1914—German pride, French revenge, Russian fear, and British tentativeness.”—Geoffrey Wawro, Military History Center, University of North Texas
David Wetzel is lecturer in history at University of California, Berkeley. He is author of A Duel of Giants: Bismarck, Napoleon III, and the Origins of the Franco-Prussian War, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press, and of The Crimean War: A Diplomatic History.
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Of related interest:
A Duel of Giants
Bismarck, Napoleon III, and the Origins of the Franco-Prussian War
LC: 2012010178 DC
326 pp. 6 x 9 25 b/w illus.
Paper $26.95 s
eBook $16.95 s
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“Wetzel’s presentation is so riveting as to make the work a page-turner even for specialists who know what comes next.”
—Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado College
“David Wetzel has written a great book about one of the most important, yet oddly neglected, events in European history. The Franco-Prussian War comes alive in Wetzel’s hands thanks to his deft portaits of key figures like Otto von Bismarck, acute analysis, and deep research in multiple languages.”
—Eric D. Weitz, City College, City University of New York
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Updated May 30, 2012© 2012, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System