In 1870 Bismarck ordered the Prussian Army to invade France,
inciting one of the most dramatic conflicts in European history.
It transformed not only the states-system of the Continent but
the whole climate of European moral and political thought. The
overwhelming triumph of German military might, evoking general
admiration and imitation, introduced an era of power politics,
which was to reach its disastrous climax in 1914.