Ems Telegram

Ems Telegram

(July 13, 1870) Telegram sent from Ems, Ger., to Otto von Bismarck and subsequently published by him in an edited version designed to offend the French government. The telegram reported an encounter between King William I of Prussia and the French ambassador, in which William politely refused to promise that no member of his family would seek the Spanish throne, which would constitute a threat to France. The version published by Bismarck, which made it seem that the two men had insulted each other, precipitated the Franco-Prussian War.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Ems Telegram, visit Britannica.com.

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