The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 was important for many reasons, even though it has been regarded as something of a side-show by many military historians. It was the first conflict in northern Europe since the Napoleonic era, and the French belief that they still had the elan and verve of the Old Guard was shattered by German needle rifles and long range guns. Aerial warfare had its genesis in the balloons of Paris, yet the belief in Vauban and the system of wall defences prevailed: it was a war of the old versus the new. Forbes, as special correspondent for the ‘Daily News’ of London saw a great deal of the war. He travelled freely from Cologne in the earliest days of the war, to Paris for the end of it. His observations, although written in a tone seemingly reserved for war correspondents of the nineteenth Century, are culled from his dispatches and have an urgency and currency that is fascinating to read. In view of his position he was privy to the deliberations of both sides, and yet had time to notice the uniform of a Zouave and to include a Prussian military music concert programme. Altogether a first class introduction to a war which deserves more interest than it has so far received. If nothing else, it shows that the standard of war reporting now is not up to that of 1870!
MY EXPERIENCES OF THE WAR BETWEEN FRANCE AND GERMANY
A contemporary description of the Franco-Prussian war by a war correspondent who was there.