A duel of nations: Germany, France, and the diplomacy of the war of 1870–1871

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by David Wetzel, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 2012, xvi + 310pp., £17.50 (paperback), ISBN 978 0299174941
A Duel of Nations is the second part of David Wetzel’s study of the Franco-Prussian War, examining the diplomatic tensions that shaped the outbreak and conduct of war, the international responses and the peace terms of May 1871. The first volume, A Duel of Giants (Wetzel, 2001), focuses on the lead-up to war, while this volume deals with the war itself and the negotiations to end the fighting. Arguing that the Franco-Prussian War was one of the most significant turning-points in nineteenth century European history, Wetzel’s aim is to provide an updated English-language study that brings together a range of archival and printed primary sources with developments in the secondary literature. The result is an impressive study which is more international in scope than the title suggests.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
JournalNational Identities
Early online date11 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2021


  • diplomacy
  • Franco-Prussian War


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