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Word Count: 1,700
What problems did the third republic face and how close did it come to being overthrown The Third republic was destined to difficulties from its very conception any new system of government born out of the collapse of another especially coupled with Frances extra problems at this time meant the new ministers had some very major issues to resolve on top of simply trying to find their feet as the new republic came into being After twenty-two years in power and 18 years as autocratic emperor of France Napoleon III had left a nasty legacy coming to power on the crest of bonapartism with promises to restore the great French empire his uncle had founded Napoleon III was constantly looking to expand the empire although a dictator he was still very much a populist and saw gaining new territory as an assured vote-winner with the French public This plan catastrophically back-fired after the Hohenzolleren affair Prince Leopold Hohenzolleren a distant relation of the king of Prussia was offered the Spanish throne Various nations around Europe were understandably concerned at such a close link between Prussia and Spain In a classic case of French indecision under Napoleon III they first applied pressure to the king of Prussia to refuse the claim instead of approaching the French then after other efforts came back with a more moderate approach They then blew this all out of the water by demanded Prussian assurances that the claim would never be taken after the king had already said the position would not be filled Suddenly France found herself on the brink of war which the French and Napoleon thought they would undoubtedly win Prussia was a lot better organised and equipped than the French thought and they duly lost An enduring image of this war was the capture of Napoleon left to sit with Bismarck watching over the battlefields Once Napoleon was captured it was still theoretically possible for the
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