Ems Telegram

(July 13, 1870) Telegram sent from Ems, Ger.

, to Otto von Bismarck and subsequently published by him in an edited version designed to offend the French government. The telegram reported an encounter between King William I of Prussia and the French ambassador, in which William politely refused to promise that no member of his family would seek the Spanish throne, which would constitute a threat to France. The version published by Bismarck, which made it seem that the two men had insulted each other, precipitated the Franco-Prussian War.

* * *

▪ European history
      report of an encounter between King William I of Prussia and the French ambassador; the telegram was sent from Ems (Bad Ems) in the Prussian Rhineland on July 13, 1870, to the Prussian chancellor, Otto von Bismarck (Bismarck, Otto von). Its publication in a version edited by Bismarck so as to purposely offend the French government precipitated the Franco-German War.

      Early in July, the candidacy of Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, a relative of the Prussian king, for the Spanish throne had alarmed the French, who feared that the extension of Prussian influence into Spain would threaten France. Leopold's candidacy was withdrawn on July 12; the following day, the French ambassador to Prussia, Count Vincent Benedetti (Benedetti, Vincent, Comte), approached King William (William I) at Ems to request an assurance that no member of his family would again be a candidate for the Spanish throne. The king politely refused Benedetti's demand, and their discussion ended.

      A telegram describing the incident was sent to Bismarck. Bismarck's edited version, which he published the next day, omitted the courtesies in the two men's exchange and instead made it seem that each man had insulted the other. This touched off an intensified demand for war in Paris and Berlin, and France declared war on July 19. The incident provided the excuse for a trial of strength that was sought by both France and Prussia, but because of Bismarck's dishonest editing of the Ems telegram, it was France that was the first to declare war. This circumstance helped enlist the southern German states to Prussia's side in the ensuing war, which resulted in the unification of all the German states (except Austria) into modern Germany.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ems Telegram — (1870)    Document that instigated the Franco Prussian War. The Ems Telegram was a message from the Prussian King, Wilhelm I, to Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck. On July 13, 1870, the telegram was sent from Bad Ems where Wilhelm spent his… …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • Ems Dispatch — The Ems Dispatch ( de. Emser Depesche), sometimes called the Ems Telegram, is the document that was used by France as a pretext to declare the Franco Prussian War in 1870. It refers to a report about an incident in the town of Bad Ems which is a… …   Wikipedia

  • Ems — /ɛmz/ (say emz) noun 1. a town in western Germany (formerly in West Germany); famous for the Ems telegram (1870), Bismarck s dispatch which was a factor leading to the Franco Prussian War. 2. a river in western Germany flowing north from the… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Bismarck, Otto von — ▪ German chancellor and prime minister Introduction in full  Otto Eduard Leopold, Fürst (prince) von Bismarck, Graf (count) von Bismarck Schönhausen, Herzog (duke) von Lauenburg  born April 1, 1815, Schönhausen, Altmark, Prussia [Germany] died… …   Universalium

  • Agenor, duc de Gramont — Antoine Alfred Agénor, Duc de Gramont (14 August 1819 17 January 1880) was a French diplomat and statesman.He was born at Paris of one of the most illustrious families of the old noblesse, a cadet branch of the viscounts of Aure, which took its… …   Wikipedia

  • Franco-Prussian War — (1870–1871)    The final and most significant of the wars of German unification, the Franco Prussian War lasted from July 19, 1870, to May 10, 1871. It pitted France against Prussia and its allies, which included the states of the North German… …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • Germany — /jerr meuh nee/, n. a republic in central Europe: after World War II divided into four zones, British, French, U.S., and Soviet, and in 1949 into East Germany and West Germany; East and West Germany were reunited in 1990. 84,068,216; 137,852 sq.… …   Universalium

  • Gramont, Antoine-Agénor-Alfred, duc de — ▪ French statesman (duke of) born Aug. 14, 1819, Saint Germain en Laye, Fr. died June 18, 1880, Paris       French diplomat and statesman whose belligerent attitudes as foreign minister in 1870 helped push France, then diplomatically isolated and …   Universalium

  • Chronology for the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914 —  Cross references to entries in the main entry section are in boldface.  1. Napoleonic Wars, 1800 1815  1799–1804: The Consulate ends the France’s revolutionary period. A dictatorship by Napoleon  Bonaparte with the formal trappings of a republic …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • Hoax — A hoax is a deliberate attempt to dupe, deceive or trick an audience into believing, or accepting, that something is real, when in fact it is not; or that something is true, when in fact it is false. In an instance of a hoax, an object, or event …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.