Siege of Paris (1870–71)  

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The Siege of Paris, lasting from September 19, 1870 – January 28, 1871, and the consequent capture of the city by Prussian forces led to French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire as well as the Paris Commune.


The Prussians had secured their victory in the Franco-Prussian War. On January 18, 1871 at Versailles Wilhelm I was proclaimed German Emperor. The kingdoms of Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, the states of Baden and Hesse, and the free cities of Hamburg and Bremen were unified with the North German Confederation to create the German Empire. The preliminary peace treaty was signed at Versailles and the final peace treaty was signed with the Treaty of Frankfurt on May 10, 1871. Otto von Bismarck was able to secure Alsace-Lorraine from France as part of the German Empire under the Treaty of Frankfurt.

Another stipulation of the treaties was a German garrison to be left in Paris. This angered bitter Paris residents at the continued presence of German troops in the wake of defeat. Further resentment arose against the current French government and from April-May 1871 Paris workers and National Guards rebelled and established the Paris Commune.

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