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France and Prussia go to war, 1870


As France went down to defeat in 1870, in the Franco-Prussian war, Punch was there to record its pain and humiliation — and also to poke fun at its vainglorious emperor, Louis Napoleon. In the history of the world, has a famous name ever promised so much and delivered so little? Never again would France be an empire — or a monarchy, for that matter. The caption to the fifth picture quotes from the Marseillaise: "Aux armes, citoyens; formez vos bataillons!" evoking the spirit of the French Revolution of 1789, which led to the first French republic. But this time, the red flag of the Paris Commune, rather than the Tricolor, would later fly above the city's walls.