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News Link • WAR: About that War

The Bridge That Began the Great War

•, By Eric Margolis

Completed in 1892, the bridge is a monument to Frances Bel Epoque and represents the high-water mark of European civilization at the end of the 19th century. Its also an odd monument to Czarist absolutism here in the birthplace of the French Revolution.

For me, the Pont Alexandre III recalls tragedy and immense sorrow, for this bridge symbolically lit the fuse leading to World War I, whose 100th anniversary we observe this fall.

The deft diplomacy of Prince Otto von Bismarck had led in 1871 to the creation of modern, unified Germany. Key to Bismarcks statecraft, or "Realpolitik," was keeping Germanys rivals divided and preventing an anti-German alliance between France and Russia, Europes principal land powers.

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