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The Culture of WarLiterature of the Siege of Paris 1870-1871$
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Colin Foss

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621921

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621921.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

The Dubious Battle of Reichshoffen

The Dubious Battle of Reichshoffen

Chapter:
(p.97) Chapter 4 The Dubious Battle of Reichshoffen
Source:
The Culture of War
Author(s):

Colin Foss

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789621921.003.0005

Newspapers’ disregard for fact created fertile ground for the growth of national myth. A perhaps fictitious Parisian news report on the Battle of Reichshoffen, which took place just before the siege on the Franco-Prussian border, became one such myth. A few conflicting accounts of this early battle in the war turned into a play, a poem, and a panorama, and perhaps later led to the successful campaign of Patrice de Mac Mahon for President of the French Republic. But it is impossible to verify whether the Battle was a French victory or a defeat. This ambiguity was inherent to newspaper poetics during the siege, and while frustrating for any reader looking for truth, it shows how profitable and how ideologically productive ambiguity could be. Much like the Battle of Waterloo, the Battle of Reischshoffen grew to become a national-historical allegory due to the particularities of literature production in times of war.

Keywords:   Defeat, Panorama, Memory, National myth, Siege

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