Monday 8th July 2024

South Lawn Hotel, Lymington Road, Milford on Sea, SO41 0RF

Monthly meeting

Our Speaker today is Lt Colonel James Porter and his talk is about one of the most pivotal episodes in European History "The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and The Battle of Sedan"

Now retired from the Army after 41 years service James divides his time between working as a freelance yacht skipper/instructor, membership of village committees and chairing his local Branch of the British Legion.  Coming from a military family James has always had an interest in military history and gives talks on a wide variety of military subjects.

The war in 1870 between German forces led by the Kingdom of Prussia and Emperor Napoleon III of France was the successful culmination of years of preparation by Bismark. It resulted in the unification of Germany and the creation of an Empire led by the King of Prussia, who was acclaimed Kaiser.  In only five months the Balance of Power in Europe had changed.  

The capture of Napoleon III and the humiliation of France festered to such an extent it led to the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I that in turn contributed to the rise of Nazi Germany.

This talk examines the background to and the causes of the war of 1870 and the nature of the opposing armies. It follows the campaign, describing in detail the French disaster at Sedan where Napoleon III was taken prisoner, and the aftermath.