What they teach us in school

The other night at a dinner for graduate students at Balliol, I had a German on my left and a Frenchman on my right. The question came up, what happened around 1870 involving Germany and France?

The German student was unaware of any events from this period.

The French student was aware of one event from 1870: the founding of the French Third Republic. He did not know of any connection of this with Germany.

(In fact, in 1870-71 Germany conquered France.  Napoleon III surrendered in September, and Paris fell in January.)

[1 February 2017]

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