This stunning old French medal of the Veterans of 1870-1871 (Médaille des Veterans de 1870-1871) a silvered medal in the form of a trophy of arms with loop for ribbon suspension decorated with laurel and oak leaves; the face with a trophy of military and naval arms imposed on standards above the motto ‘OUBLIER…JAMAIS!’ (Never forget); the reverse plain.
A national society of retirees who were veterans of the 1870-1871 war against Prussia (Germany) was founded on 1 January 1893 by Commandant Charet. It met with great success, attaining a membership of more than 300,000 within ten years. The conflict between France and Prussia that signaled the rise of German military power and imperialism was provoked by the Prussian (later German) Chancellor Otto von Bismarck as part of his plan to create a unified German Empire.The French armies were overcome at Sedan by the efficient Prussian forces, battle-hardened from their conflicts with Denmark and Austria. In Paris, a bloodless revolution led to the overthrow of Napoleon III. The city was besieged by the Prussians from 19 September and held out, suffering severe privation, until 28 January. France was forced to cede Alsace and Lorraine to the Germany which had been proclaimed an empire under Wilhelm I on 18 January 1871 in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, sowing the seeds of future 20th Century conflicts.