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10   DAYS OF PREPARATION

To those who knew the real conditions obtaining in the France and Germany of that day, the issue of the encounter was beyond the possibility of doubt. In little more than six months the work was done. Napoleon surrendered at Sedan in September, 1870, and in the following spring the brave resistance of Paris, under the new Republic, was terminated by internal dissensions and gaunt famine. The King of Prussia was crowned German Emperor in Versailles, Alsace and Lorraine were shorn from France, and a huge money indemnity exacted. In some respects the results of the Franco-Prussian War did not turn out according to Bismarck's calculations. He thought he had bled France white, beyond all possibility of energetic recovery, but he misunderstood the nation with which he was dealing. His successors have made the same mistake, and paid, at the Marne and Verdun, in costly fashion for their ill reckoning. Four years after the pompous triumph at Versailles, Bismarck would have gone back to the half-done task and made a proper end of it, but the attitude of Great Britain and Russia induced him to abandon the project, and wounded France was spared the second stab. The situation at this time, as viewed by the Prussian, may be thus represented: The Junker had secured the domination of his party within the home State; Prussia had become lord of the vassal German States; the new Germany was virtual military master of Europe; from a little State, "with barely a window even to the Baltic," an Empire had developed. Within seven years the three great tasks had been done, and the actual fighting on the field against Denmark, Austria, and France, had occupied the German armies less than forty weeks. The stealthy preparation, the watchful waiting for the foe's weak moment, the tigerish leap at the throat, had proved profitable work.

Little wonder that the success-intoxicated Junker began to see visions and dream dreams of still wider lordship. From the day on which Bismarck realized


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