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A History of Military Occupation from 1792 to 1914$
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Peter M. R. Stirk

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748675999

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748675999.001.0001

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The Franco-German War and Occupation of France

The Franco-German War and Occupation of France

(p.188) Chapter 4. The Franco-German War and Occupation of France
A History of Military Occupation from 1792 to 1914

Peter M. R. Stirk

Edinburgh University Press

Although this occupation was to have decisive influence upon the subsequent period of codification of the international law of occupation, it is one of the most neglected instances of the occupation of the territory of a major power. The reputation of the war as a short war belies the experience of the participants as the parties struggled to find a resolution to the conflict that would put an end to the occupation, an occupation that endured under the terms of the treaty of peace. It was a war in which the occupation itself became a weapon, through requisitions and contributions, for enforcing terms of peace acceptable to the newly unified Germany. It was a war in which the figure, and myth, of the franc-tireurs and the hostages seized by the Germans, played a major role. The war and occupation also imposed strains on the new French regime that had emerged from the ashes of the defeated French Empire, and yet whose legitimacy in the eyes of the French was also a precondition of a sustainable peace. This chapter emphasises in addition the post-war efforts of French courts to uphold the battered principles of French sovereignty and solidarity amidst the divisions of occupation.

Keywords:   Franco-German war, franc-tireurs, hostages, requisitions, contributions

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