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10 May 2021

Conference draws an audience of 100s to reflect on the Franco Prussian War

Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War

On the 150th anniversary, this two-day conference researches the conflict ushered in transformative changes this war brought to the European geopolitical system

Franco-Prussian War Promo

On 6 - 7 May 2021, the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War, in conjunction with the Embassy of France in the UK welcomed a diverse collection of academic and historical experts to reflect on the ongoing significance of the Franco-Prussian War.

Marking the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Frankfurt, this two-day conference looked at how the conflict ushered in transformative changes to the European geopolitical system, and had a profound impact on the development of the modern state.

This conference marking the 150th anniversary of the Franco-Prussian war’s end in 1871 is a unique opportunity to emphasize how much the European enterprise has helped us rebuild our continent following three successive conflicts between France and Germany, the most recent being the Second World War. I’m delighted to see such a wide range of speakers contributing to thinking on this subject, and I wish this event every success. It should also lead to a publication.

HE Mrs Catherine Colonna, Ambassador of France

The conference, run by Dr Mark Condos and Dr Joe Maiolo from the Sir Michael Howard Centre and King's Alumnus Col Armel Dirou, Military Attaché in the UK began with an introduction by Dr Michael Rowe, remembering Sir Michael Howard and acknowledging his extensive publication on the conflict.

The four panels throughout the day highlighted how French and German nationalism were both significantly shaped by this conflict, as well as how it brought about the wider political and social changes in education, health policy and the theories and practices of the conduct of war. With a focus on debunking myths, the speakers interrogated the significance and legacies of some the key political, social, cultural, and military transformations from this war.

The event concluded on Friday with a roundtable of experts, reflecting on the panel discussions and confirming the continuing significance of this crucial turning point in both European and world history.

For a full list of speakers and topics, please see the full programme

Watch the panel recordings here: 

In this story

Joe  Maiolo

Professor of International History

Mark Condos

Senior Lecturer in Imperial and Global History