I downloaded a free Amazon Kindle book which was a memoir of a Brit reporter stuck inside Paris under siege by Prussia. 1870 was an interesting period where the unified architectural redo beloved by the world today was being started, and then fired upon, for the oddest of reasons. Napoleon3 was trying to suppress urban revolutionists on one hand by making wide blvds that couldn't be barricaded against gov't military response, and on the other hand by baiting the Prussians into a war which could bolster French patriotic unity.
Well, like another free Kindle memoir from the Confederate war department in US civil war, it was an interesting time covered by a rambling lousy memoirist. It worked better when I mixed in readings of a quality history book of FrancoPrussian war, which was one of the bloodiest yet most needless of the 1800's. Bismark also wanted to bait France into war in order to rally and unify Germany; southern parts of modern Germany had been losing interest in joining up with Prussia, just as Parisians were increasing hostile to their agrarianist national gov't.
Well, I haven't read that far and am already forgetting stuff, but I have the nerve to make a few observations. Napoleon3 is thought to be the dunce because he was tricked into declaring war first over a ridiculous nicety about how a wedding was called off. Bismark got the appearance of not initiating war and was able to win it with better organization and cannons (although worse small arms). I do give points to Napoleon3 for trying sort of a "suicide by cop" approach of wandering a field under fire when things first looked hopeless (his companions were hit), then surrendering to stop bloodshed well before ammo ran low. Bismark wanted to shell Paris vs his superiors trying a standoff first.
My most bold observation is that there seem tremendous echos of 1870 tactics in WW2. It almost seems like WW2 wasn't an attempt to redo the freakish case of WW1 more effectively, but to address or relive the more conventional issues of 1870 war. In the case of 1940 France, it was still hobbled by terrible communications and disunity which made it hard to benefit from some superior technology like tanks and fortresses.
In the case of Germany, so many of the oddball concerns of Hitler which were in his generals memoirs seem to be avoiding pitfalls from the 1870 war. Hitler was obsessed by the exact performance of every small arm, maybe recalling the much superior 1870 French rifle and crude machine gun. Many 1870 units squandered ammo to a disastrous extent, and Hitler insisted certain wasteful units not be resupplied with ammo as a punishment that could mean wipe out. Speed of deployment problems of 1870 would be ruthlessly corrected, etc... I may not be explaining this well, but there seem echos galore.