This photograph attests to the tremendous military pomp that
accompanied the unveiling of this famous symbol of Germany’s triumph
over France two years earlier. The Victory Column, some 200 feet high,
had actually been designed in 1865 by the architect Heinrich Strack
(1805–1880) as a memorial to the Prussian victory over Denmark in 1864.
But work on the monument stopped when the Austro-Prussian War broke out
in June 1866 and then again (after work had restarted in 1869) when war
with France was declared in 1870. The 1873 inauguration of the Victory
Column was held on Sedan Day, the de
facto national holiday celebrating Germany’s victory at the Battle
of Sedan on September 1–2, 1870.