The dominant note within Germany when the Second Empire was proclaimed at Versailles on 18 January 1871 was positive [2: 1–13; 17: 34–7]. There were critical voices of various kinds (see chapter 1) but the general sense was that this was a glorious and progressive achievement for Germany, as well as a major step towards the fashioning of a Europe made up of constitutional and national states in place of the reactionary forms of tiny states and multinational dynasties.
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