The Franco-German trade puzzle: an analysis of the economic consequences of the Franco-Prussian war



When the Franco-German trade relationship is viewed from a long-term perspective, the conventional view that trade ties were rather good before 1914 becomes doubtful. In fact, trade statistics point to the absolute and relative decline in trade flows between the two countries after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870–1. This postwar episode of Franco-German trade history is far from incidental. On the basis of a comprehensive study of Franco-German trade by product, this article reveals a complete restructuring of French trade with Germany after the conflict and invites a new analysis of its economic consequences.