Sedan


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Sedan

(sədäN`), town (1990 pop. 22,407), Ardennes dept., NE France, on the Meuse River. A noted textile center since the 16th cent., Sedan also has metal and brewing industries. The town became part of French crown lands in 1642. It was a Protestant stronghold in the 16th and 17th cent., and a noted Calvinist academy was located there. Sedan was the site of the decisive French defeat (1870) in the Franco-Prussian WarFranco-Prussian War
or Franco-German War,
1870–71, conflict between France and Prussia that signaled the rise of German military power and imperialism. It was provoked by Otto von Bismarck (the Prussian chancellor) as part of his plan to create a unified German
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 and the surrender of Napoleon III. The town saw heavy fighting in World War I and was the point of the first German breakthrough (1940) in the invasion of France in World War II.

Sedan

 

a city in northeastern France, situated in the Ardennes Department, on the Meuse (Maas) River. Population, 25,000 (1968). Sedan’s industries include metallurgy and tube rolling, as well as the manufacture of wool fabrics and rugs. Sedan was a fortress until the late 19th century. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, the French Châlons Army of Marshal M. E. de MacMahon was routed near Sedan on September 1–2.

On August 23 the Chalons Army (about 105,000 infantry, 15,000 cavalry, 393 guns, and 76 machine guns) left Reims in order to relieve Marshal A. Bazaine’s Army of the Rhine, which was besieged by the Germans in Metz. MacMahon hoped to envelop from the north the German Third and Fourth armies (188,000 infantry, 36,000 cavalry, and 813 guns), which were advancing on Châlons and Paris under the command of General H. von Moltke, and to avoid a confrontation with them. On learning of the movement of the Châlons Army, Moltke turned the German armies from the Verdun-Bar-le-Duc line toward Sedan in order to prevent the union of the French armies, as well as to press the Chalons Army toward the Belgian frontier and rout it.

MacMahon, unaware of the enemy’s plans and strength, crossed the Meuse River at Mouzon on August 29–30 and approached Sedan on August 31, intending to give the army a two-day rest and then move back by way of Mézières. By that time, however, the German troops had enveloped the Chalons Army from the flanks and completed its encirclement on the night of August 31. On September 1, during a fierce 12-hour battle, the French troops made an indecisive attempt to break through westward to Mézières but failed and, after losing up to 17,000 men in killed and wounded, surrendered on September 2. More than 100,000 Frenchmen were captured, including Emperor Napoleon III. The Germans lost about 9,000 men. The capitulation of the Chalons Army accelerated the fall of the Second Empire. On September 4 a revolution broke out in Paris, and a republic was proclaimed in France.


Sedan

 

a type of passenger-car body, characterized by four doors and at least two rows of seats with no dividing partition. A sedan body can be designed as a strong, load-carrying structure. Most of the automobiles produced in the USSR have a sedan body, for example, the VAZ-2101, the Moskvich-412, and the GAZ-24 Volga.

Sedan

decisive battle of the Franco-German War (1870). [Fr. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 225]
See: Battle

Sedan

decisive German defeat of French (1870). [Fr. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 225]
See: Defeat

sedan

1. US, Canadian, and NZ a closed two-door or four-door car with four to six seats
2. short for sedan chair

Sedan

a town in NE France, on the River Meuse: passed to France in 1642; a Protestant stronghold (16th--17th centuries); scene of a French defeat (1870) during the Franco-Prussian War and of a battle (1940) in World War II, which began the German invasion of France. Pop.: 20 548 (1999)
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