The world’s first airmail service was begun out of pure necessity and carried out by the brave acts and audacity of some of France’s greatest scientists, inventors and artists. From the first announcement of the impending arrival of Prussian uhlans at the city gates, Parisians refused to capitulate. Instead, the city rallied around the formation of a new Republic and began to work out valiant replies to the question of keeping advancing armies at bay. Even after the last trains had left their stations, carefully hidden telegraph cables and foot messengers were used to pass vital information through enemy lines. However, as an invincible iron circle closed in around the city, cleverly buried lines were cut and messengers captured, shot or turned back. At last, only the skies above the city remained open.