The summer of 2020 marks one hundred and fifty years since the beginning of the Franco-German war of 1870-71. Will the anniversary open a new stage in its study? In the meantime, the authors attempt to characterize the most important works on the topic published in France and Germany over the past half century, as well as to highlight several historiographical trends. In general, understanding the war of 1870-71 by French and German historians have been fully affected by the influence of new trends in historical science: the focus shifted to the problems of social history, the history of everyday life, and the "new cultural history". The distinctive features of modern German and French historiography of the Franco-German war are particularly noticeable when compared with English-language historiography. Within the latter, major studies on "classical" military history and the history of diplomacy have continued to be published in recent decades. Comparing the achievements of the historiography of the two countries allows us to demonstrate both common patterns and deviations in the development of the researcher’s interest. In addition, the comparative approach also allows us to point out a number of major gaps with regard to certain aspects of the war. Among them: the economic history of the war, the diplomacy of war in a broad international context, the fate of the civilian population in the war zone. The interest of French and German historians to the events of 1870-71 remains moderate. Within the both national historiographies, there has long been a need for a major generalizing study of the Franco-German war.