The Rhineland War, also known as the Franco-Prussian War was a conflict fought between the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Prussia. The war gained its name by France's claim to the Rhineland, the former Kingdom of Westphalia. It was the first conflict between France and Prussia since the Napoleonic Wars 30 years earlier. The war ended in a white peace after three years of conflict.
Causes For Conflict
In 1840, tensions between France and Prussia escalated over the disputed frontiers that was the Rhineland. Adolphe Thiers, the Prime Minister of France had talked about Frances true borders included the Left Bank of the Rhine River into the Rhineland. The region, which consisted of areas that were formerly a part of the Rhine Confederation during the Napoleonic Wars was a source of Prussia's industrial might, making the Kingdom a leading power in technological and industrial capacity. Although the comments were subdued and Thiers was sacked, the French people were bought in by the thoughts of nationalist sentiment. There were some in the cabinet who believed that France could hold its own and defeat the Prussians. These people, usually in the minority parties (the Legitimists, who were harshly reactionary and the more moderate Conservative Party) continuously criticized the Orleanist Party for refusing the call to war. This would continue up until the elections in 1842 when the Liberal Orleanists were defeated in the Parliamentary elections, putting the Legitimists in power for the first time since the July Revolution.
In Prussia however, the Prussians were trying to subvert influence in the smaller German states by its neighbors. Both the Orleanists in France, the Hapsburgs in Austria and the Romanovs in Russia all had their influence spread on areas that Prussia was interested in. For France, which competed with Austria and Prussia over the Southern German lands of Baden, Wurtemburg and Bavaria (the latter more often than not attempted to play a side angle in German nationalism). This was a major issue as France had predominantly German speaking lands in Alsace and much of the former Duchy of Lorraine, which was annexed into France in 1766. For the German Nationalist movement, the French holdings on Alsace-Lorraine would be a sore point in their movement.
Both France and Prussia would engage in provocative maneuvers along their borders and despite pressure from Great Britain to back down, no such attempts were made.