July 19, 1870


Well-known member
911car said:
Yes! All started from a mischievous telegram, the famous "Ems dispatch", sent July 13th.

Yes, and it all could have been avoided since Prince Leopold had already refused the candidacy for the Spanish throne on 11 July 1870. France demanded pointless guarantees that no Prince from the house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen ever be considered for the Spanish throne. Bismarck's edited version of Heinrich Abeken's message became the ems dispatch, which would later be considered the cause of the war. This could easily be chalked up as an early example of "fake news".
Oddly, when one asks incidental history buffs; "Who started the Franco-Prussian War", about 80% will say that it was Germany (Prussia).
France declared war on Prussia on 19 July 1870, starting the Franco-Prussian War.

John :)


Well-known member
Indeed, although both Prussians and the French had good reasons to be offended by the Ems telegram. For the French it was made even worse by a translation mistake. The German text said that the message from Wilhelm the First to the French ambassador was conveyed by an "Adjutant", which means "aide-de-camp". In the French version Adjutant was wrongly translated as "adjudant", which is a NCO rank just above a sergeant in the French army... the French felt insulted by what they felt to be a lack of consideration from the "Roi de Prusse".


Well-known member
I see the blame for the war not only in Bismarck. The Prussian king Wilhelm had already agreed that Prince Leopold would decline the candidacy. The demand that it should be ruled out forever that a Hohenzollern ascended the Spanish throne was just as great an imposition for Prussia as the Emser despatch for France. The French did not count on the unity of the Germans and therefore assumed a quick victory. From there it could well be that French falcons also wanted to provoke war.