The Formation of a New Republic: Steel Industry and Society 1871-1914

Sångsalen Session 3: Structured by the State – infrastructure and communication in the era of industrialization organized by Björn Hasselgren and Jan Ottosson


Stylianos Panagiotidis


Economic nationalism has been a crucial aspect of the European economy during late 19th- mid 20th century, especially after the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian war in 1871, and the formation of the French Third Republic and the German Empire, since across the European continent, states are reinforcing their respective economies in order to bolster defense via tariffs, against the world market. The raison d’etre of this paper is to show light into the industrial components and social fabric of France after the Franco-Prussian War, and the subsequent Belle Epoque. The industrial factors being discussed are locomotives of the economy, such as steelworks, mines, and commercial (fleet) sectors. Regarding the socioeconomic fabric of the nation, broad factors, such as GDP growth, governmental spending, and infrastructure will be discussed. Secondly, social oriented factors, such as population growth, education access, disease mortality rates, and employment sectors will be presented, in order to identify the shifts and trends that formed in-between the Second Industrial Revolution and the Great War. Apart from the national developments, European and global data and indexes of the time are available, allowing for multi-leveled comparisons. On the European scale, the abrupt end of a prosperous era will be discussed, whilst on the global scale, the emerging balance between the New and the Old World could be presented.

Finally, the proposed paper is part of my PhD thesis (1st chapter). The first chapter focuses on the steel industry and social developments in France and Germany during the aforementioned period. The first half of the chapter (regarding Germany) will be presented as a paper in ESSHC 2023, Gothenburg, Sweden.


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