Siege of Metz
The Siege of Metz lasting from 19 August – 27 October 1870 was fought during the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 and ended in a decisive Prussian victory.


After being defeated at the Battle of Gravelotte
Battle of Gravelotte
The Battle of Gravelotte was a battle of the Franco-Prussian War named after Gravelotte, a village in Lorraine between Metz and the former French–German frontier.-Terrain and armies:...

, Marshal Bazaine
François Achille Bazaine
François Achille Bazaine was a French General and from 1864, a Marshal of France, who surrendered the last organized French army to the Prussians during the Franco-Prussian war. He was the first Marshal who had started as a legionnaire and like the great Marshals of the First Empire, he had risen...

, retreated into the defenses of Metz
Fortifications of Metz
The Fortifications of Metz, a city in northeastern France, are extensive, due to the city's strategic position near the border of France and Germany. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the area was annexed by the newly created German Empire in 1871 by the Treaty of Frankfurt and became a...

. There he was besieged by the Prussian Second Army led by Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia on 19 August. The French attempted to break the siege first at Noiseville
Battle of Noiseville
The Battle of Noisseville on August 31, 1870 was fought during the Franco-Prussian War and ended in a Prussian victory.Traveling from Metz, the French forces under Marshal François Achille Bazaine attempted to break through the investing line of the Prussian forces under Prince Frederick Charles...

 and again at Bellevue
Battle of Bellevue
The Battle of Bellevue on October 18, 1870 was fought during the Franco-Prussian War and ended in a Prussian victory.The French forces under Marshal François Achille Bazaine attempted to break through the lines of the Prussians investing Metz. They were unsuccessful and were driven back into the...

 but were repulsed each time. Although no call for help was made, the French Army of Châlons
Army of Châlons
The Army of Châlons was a French army which took part in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. It was formed in August 1870 from parts of the Army of the Rhine not blockaded at Metz...

 under the command of Marshal Mac-Mahon was nevertheless ordered to reinforce Bazaine. Marching to Metz, the Army of Châlons was trapped and destroyed at the Battle of Sedan
Battle of Sedan
The Battle of Sedan was fought during the Franco-Prussian War on 1 September 1870. It resulted in the capture of Emperor Napoleon III and large numbers of his troops and for all intents and purposes decided the war in favour of Prussia and its allies, though fighting continued under a new French...

. Bazaine was forced to surrender his entire army on 27 October 1870. Prince Friedrich Karl and the Prussian Second Army were now free to move against the French force in the Loire River area. The siege is commemorated by the "Siegesmarsch von Metz" which uses parts of the "Die Wacht am Rhein
Die Wacht am Rhein
"Die Wacht am Rhein" is a German patriotic anthem. The song's origins are rooted in historical conflicts with France, and it was particularly popular in Germany during the Franco-Prussian War and the First World War....


One notable figure present on the Prussian side was the prominent philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

, who served as a medical attendant. Nietzsche contracted both diphtheria
Diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, a facultative anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium. It is characterized by sore throat, low fever, and an adherent membrane on the tonsils, pharynx, and/or nasal cavity...

 and dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

during the siege, worsening his already poor state of health.
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