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Aesma
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Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:02 am

On this Armistice Day, I wonder how much is known about the role this small part of my country had in the first World War. When talking about WW1 nationalism is always discussed, as well as the alliances of the time, but I wonder if Alsace is given enough thought.

I'm not much of a nationalist, I don't fear the idea of a federal Europe to give you an idea, but if I was a young man in 1914, even an educated and well off one, I think I would have happily gone to war, only to get back part of my country.

Discuss.
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:13 am

Don't know much about the make up of the country then even though in school we visited the battlefields of the first world war for 5 days... Went to the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Sanctuary wood, the graves for both the allies and the central powers. It is said that war is hell and the first world war being the real first mechanical war was truly this... RIP
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:15 am

I've been to Strassbourg and the surrounding areas, it feels more German than French, the people speak German, the buildings, food and culture appear to be more German than French, too me it appears like one of those parts of Europe like South Tyrol which are part of one country when they really look and feel like they should be in another.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:32 am

Kiwirob wrote:
too me it appears like one of those parts of Europe like South Tyrol which are part of one country when they really look and feel like they should be in another.

Agreed and stuff like this is why I LOVE Europe. Those of us who've spent much of our lives living on an island nation lose the appreciation of how 'fluid' national borders have historically been over time.
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:58 am

Kiwirob wrote:
I've been to Strassbourg and the surrounding areas, it feels more German than French, the people speak German, the buildings, food and culture appear to be more German than French, too me it appears like one of those parts of Europe like South Tyrol which are part of one country when they really look and feel like they should be in another.


Maybe you mistook German tourists or German/Austrian EU workers for locals?

Use of German (well, Alsatian) in Strassbourg is rather low though smaller villages surrounding the place are still heavily Alsatian-speaking.

But sure, the place looks out of touch with French shops and signs over unmistakeable Germanic architecture.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:30 pm

It is certainly MUCH less German today than Eupen or Sankt Vith in Belgium, which are forming the so called German-speaking community of Belgium.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:43 pm

Kiwirob, it's true many Alsatians speak German, but that's not as a first language. First language is French. Alsatian is its own (Germanic) language and probably less known than German, simply because German is a useful language to learn when you live near Germany. Still, more Germans speak French on the other side of the frontier than the reverse.
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salttee
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:25 pm

It's surprising that a 21st century French person would identify with the mindset that brought about WW1.

A history of the region's affiliation goes like this (if you have any disagreement here let me know):
Originally Alsace - Lorraine was a region with a peaceful but mixed population. It did have a significant percentage of German speaking residents. So when German unification came about, it was not untoward of the Germans to include the region in their new state, even though it had been loosely under French rule as a result of Napoleon's conquests (which of course were not held in high regard in 19th century Europe).

In 1870, France declared war on the new German state over the Alsace - Lorraine issue, and promptly lost that war. So in 1914, 43 years after the region became an official part of Germany, you're saying that you would have wanted to start another war to get back a piece of land that you never had clear title to (it always had a lot of German speaking citizens), and which was living in peace?

Well that's about what happened. How did that work out?

I have always seen the direct link between the Franco - Prussian war and world wars 1 & 2. Without the French declaration of war on Germany in 1870 there would have been no WW1, hence no WW2.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:39 pm

Aesma wrote:
Kiwirob, it's true many Alsatians speak German, but that's not as a first language. First language is French. Alsatian is its own (Germanic) language and probably less known than German, simply because German is a useful language to learn when you live near Germany. Still, more Germans speak French on the other side of the frontier than the reverse.


That's not necessarily true.

While many Alsatians speak French at home and among themselves, Alsatian is still first language for many families, especially in the countryside.

They speak Alsatian in family and social situations even though they will speak French at school or with outsiders.

But of course in places like Strasbourg or Metz most people are 100% French speakers, and if they know German is because it's a useful 2nd language, not because of their heritage.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:43 pm

salttee, thanks for your answer. I don't know history that well myself, that's also why I'm interested in discussing this, I have no ties to Alsace, my family being either from Brittany on the other side of the country, or from Italy.

Alsace has always had special status within France, but from what I'm reading Napoleon didn't conquer it, it was clearly French in the 17th century already.

What happened with the Revolution and the following French governments, pretty much to this day, is a policy of integration of all parts of France, starting with the imposition of the French language. My paternal grandmother spoke Breton as a first language until it was simply banned, for example.

Your theory about the 1870 war is interesting, I had never heard of it. Clearly France didn't like the creation of a new German superstate/Empire, I don't know if Alsace was really a factor though, it wouldn't have been that easy to take, WW1 could have happened then if the agression had come from the East.
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:47 pm

JJJ wrote:
Aesma wrote:
Kiwirob, it's true many Alsatians speak German, but that's not as a first language. First language is French. Alsatian is its own (Germanic) language and probably less known than German, simply because German is a useful language to learn when you live near Germany. Still, more Germans speak French on the other side of the frontier than the reverse.


That's not necessarily true.

While many Alsatians speak French at home and among themselves, Alsatian is still first language for many families, especially in the countryside.

They speak Alsatian in family and social situations even though they will speak French at school or with outsiders.

But of course in places like Strasbourg or Metz most people are 100% French speakers, and if they know German is because it's a useful 2nd language, not because of their heritage.


I don't disagree with you, my main point was that German is not a first language anyway. Alsatian is not German.

With the "language politics" of France it's very difficult to have reliable statistics on the usage of regional languages.
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JJJ
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:56 pm

Aesma wrote:
JJJ wrote:
Aesma wrote:
Kiwirob, it's true many Alsatians speak German, but that's not as a first language. First language is French. Alsatian is its own (Germanic) language and probably less known than German, simply because German is a useful language to learn when you live near Germany. Still, more Germans speak French on the other side of the frontier than the reverse.


That's not necessarily true.

While many Alsatians speak French at home and among themselves, Alsatian is still first language for many families, especially in the countryside.

They speak Alsatian in family and social situations even though they will speak French at school or with outsiders.

But of course in places like Strasbourg or Metz most people are 100% French speakers, and if they know German is because it's a useful 2nd language, not because of their heritage.


I don't disagree with you, my main point was that German is not a first language anyway. Alsatian is not German.


It may not be standard Hochdeutsch but it is very much German in the same way the different Swiss-German dialects are German or speakers in the Vallée d'Aoste speak French.

First language depends on each speaker. If you move to Hong-Kong your first language it will still be French (presumably), and there are still (rural) areas within Alsace-Lorraine where a majority of people have Alsatian as first language.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 2:54 pm

Aesma wrote:
Kiwirob, it's true many Alsatians speak German, but that's not as a first language. First language is French. Alsatian is its own (Germanic) language and probably less known than German, simply because German is a useful language to learn when you live near Germany. Still, more Germans speak French on the other side of the frontier than the reverse.


Many Alsatians also bark and go woof woof.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:01 pm

Aesma wrote:
salttee, thanks for your answer. I don't know history that well myself, that's also why I'm interested in discussing this, I have no ties to Alsace, my family being either from Brittany on the other side of the country, or from Italy.

Alsace has always had special status within France, but from what I'm reading Napoleon didn't conquer it, it was clearly French in the 17th century already.

What happened with the Revolution and the following French governments, pretty much to this day, is a policy of integration of all parts of France, starting with the imposition of the French language. My paternal grandmother spoke Breton as a first language until it was simply banned, for example.

Your theory about the 1870 war is interesting, I had never heard of it. Clearly France didn't like the creation of a new German superstate/Empire, I don't know if Alsace was really a factor though, it wouldn't have been that easy to take, WW1 could have happened then if the agression had come from the East.


Alsace was part of the Holy Roman Empire (essentially German) until 1618 when Louis XIII annexes portions of Alsace during the Thirty Years' War, in 1674 Louis XIV annexes the rest of Alsace during the Franco-Dutch War, establishing full French sovereignty over the region, the Germans kick the stuffing out of France in 1871 and keep it German until 1918.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:48 pm

And, in WWII:

[url]After the defeat of France in the spring of 1940, Alsace and Moselle were not formally annexed by Nazi Germany, although Adolf Hitler, the German leader, drafted an annexation law in 1940 that he kept secret, expecting to announce it in the event of a German victory.[14] Through a series of laws which individually seemed minor, Berlin took full control of Alsace-Lorraine, and Alsatians could be drafted into the German Army. During the occupation, Alsace-Moselle was integrated into a Reichsgau named Westmark and Alsace was amalgamated with Baden. From 1942, people from Alsace and Moselle were made German citizens by decree of the Nazi government.[15]

Beginning in October 1942, young Alsatian men were inducted into the German armed forces. Sometimes they were known as the malgré-nous, which could be translated in English as "against our will".[note 6][16][17] Some, however, volunteered, notably the author of The Forgotten Soldier, known by the pseudonym Guy Sajer. Ultimately, 100,000 Alsatians and 30,000 Mosellans were enrolled, many of them to fight on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Red Army. Most of those who survived the war were interned in Tambov in Russia in 1945. Many others fought in Normandy against the Allies as the malgré-nous of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich.[/url]

I thought I'd read that one motivation of the Nazis to invade France in 1940 was to get back Alsace-Loraine.
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:03 pm

Tangentially related to this topic, I figured I'd post this here: https://youtu.be/6iSSVkeorMY

I watch this every November 11th. Excellent BBC show on the final day of the War to End All War.

My favorite part is:

"At 11 o'clock, a German machine gunner opposite the South African brigade north of Mons, having fired off his land, stood up, took off his helmet, bowed, and walked off to the rear."
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:37 am

Aesma wrote:
Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Some. I know I have some ancestors that came from there. I assume they were more German than French, though I think they arrived in America well before WWI.
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:43 am

salttee wrote:
A history of the region's affiliation goes like this (if you have any disagreement here let me know):
Originally Alsace - Lorraine was a region with a peaceful but mixed population. It did have a significant percentage of German speaking residents. So when German unification came about, it was not untoward of the Germans to include the region in their new state, even though it had been loosely under French rule as a result of Napoleon's conquests (which of course were not held in high regard in 19th century Europe).
.

Sorry but your grasp of history is not very strong :
1/- Asace - Lorraine have been part of France since the end of the 30 years' war in 1648 ( which, btw France won )
The French kings had no intention of imposing anything on their provinces ( they went as far as calling German-speaking immigration - which were the closest populations - to re-populate the region which has been badly hurt by the war ( + famines and plagues )... That's the reason whyFrench and German languages co-existed for more than two centuries : as u_sual, French was spoken by the best-off and the administration.
2/- You should read about thge origins of the 1870 Franco-Prussian war... It is like a spy thriller and, very basically, the French had been maneuvered by that wily old Bismarck into declaring a war they were certainly not prepared for.
3/- As you see, Napoleon had nothing to do with the Alsace-Lorraine, which was - even if you don't like it - very mucvh a French region.
4/- The importance of the region - for France was that it established a " natural" frontier between France and the German empire ( the rivers Rhine and Meuse )
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:07 am

salttee wrote:
(1)- So in 1914, 43 years after the region became an official part of Germany, you're saying that you would have wanted to start another war to get back a piece of land that you never had clear title to (it always had a lot of German speaking citizens), and which was living in peace?

(2)- I have always seen the direct link between the Franco - Prussian war and world wars 1 & 2. Without the French declaration of war on Germany in 1870 there would have been no WW1, hence no WW2.



1/- I would say that region had been part of France for 222 years and was living in peace. Contrarily to what you think, the French patriotism was very strong in the region :They never accepted the assimilation and knew that someday, they would return to France....

2/- .... but it wasn't one of the reasons for WW1.There were a lot of politically / strategically more involving events in Europe in 1914 : The end of the Ottoman empire and who would take its place, the Balkans, the place of Russia...the hegemonist policy of Prussia;.. etc... etc...
To see a direcr link between the 1870 conflict and the two world ( stress : W.O.R.L.D.) wars is ludicrously comical... worthy of a Mickey mouse university ( does that exist ? )

...but the subject is too vast. I would not mind having a discussion on the origins of WW1, WW2, the regional languages in France or elsewhere, the French policy on their teaching and their importance... etc...
By the way, the unification of all the German-speaking areas in Europe was o,ne of the main Nazi policies... It started with the Anschluss, not the acquisition of Alsace...strange that you would condone it, some 80 years later...
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:29 pm

Revelation wrote:
And, in WWII: and Alsatians could be drafted into the German Army. During the occupation,

Beginning in October 1942, young Alsatian men were inducted into the German armed forces. Sometimes they were known as the malgré-nous, which could be translated in English as "against our will".[note 6][16][17] Some, however, volunteered, notably the author of The Forgotten Soldier, known by the pseudonym Guy Sajer. Ultimately, 100,000 Alsatians and 30,000 Mosellans were enrolled, many of them to fight on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Red Army. Most of those who survived the war were interned in Tambov in Russia in 1945. Many others fought in Normandy against the Allies as the malgré-nous of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich.[/url]

I thought I'd read that one motivation of the Nazis to invade France in 1940 was to get back Alsace-Loraine.

I presume the above is from some wiki-type of report, which, as usual, is too short to give an accurate account of the related events :
1/- It's true that the nazis tried to enroll Alsatians and Lorrans starting in October 1940... with very little success : 32 volunteers in October 1940, a total of 2100 until November 1942 ( TWO years later !)

2/- The forcible enrollment, under martial law, started in November 1942 : those trying to escape were executed, their property taken and their families deported.

3/- Of course there were quite a number of volunteers, but they were mainly incorporated in the LVF - legion of french volunteers - and some mainly French units ( elements of the sinister SS "Charlemagne Division" were amongst the last defenders of Berlin, especially Hitler's bunker, in 1945 )... The "Malgré nous " were not trusted at all by the German command, that's why most of them ended on the Russian front.I'm not really into monuments but there is one in Mulhouse dedicated to the "Malgré nous"... One of the most moving monuments I know.

4/- The treaty of Versailles had never been accepted by Germany as it was humiliating and the French demands were really stringent and were the cause of serious differences between France and Britain, the US....which did not arrange things. But the Alsace - Moselle situation has never been prominent in Hitler's policy. Just a by the way annexation : the Sudetes and the "Dantzig corridor" were a lot more important to the nazis looking for their Lebensraum.
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:39 pm

Pihero wrote:
I presume the above is from some wiki-type of report, which, as usual, is too short to give an accurate account of the related events :


You are correct.

Thank you for the informative post.
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:14 pm

Pihero wrote:
1/- I would say that region had been part of France for 222 years and was living in peace. Contrarily to what you think, the French patriotism was very strong in the region :They never accepted the assimilation and knew that someday, they would return to France....
That "French patriotism was very strong in the region" is a subjective assumption which ignores the reasoning of why the Germans wanted to include Alsace - Lorraine into their nation in 1870. The unification of German states was a unification of German states, not a land grab. It seems obvious that there was more than one point of view within the region at the time. It's revealing that you eschew acknowledgement of that fact.
Pihero wrote:
2/- .... but it wasn't one of the reasons for WW1.There were a lot of politically / strategically more involving events in Europe in 1914 : The end of the Ottoman empire and who would take its place, the Balkans, the place of Russia...the hegemonist policy of Prussia;.. etc... etc... To see a direcr link between the 1870 conflict and the two world ( stress : W.O.R.L.D.) wars is ludicrously comical... worthy of a Mickey mouse university ( does that exist ? )
In spite of your rude hyperbole, a major reason for WW1 accepted by historians is hostility between France and Germany.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of ... ds_Germany This is not my invention.

In absence of the fact that France was eager to right perceived injustices and recover Alsace - Lorraine by force of arms, the assassination in Sarajevo would have just been a local event. This is supported by the above statement from the OP, "if I was a young man in 1914, even an educated and well off one, I think I would have happily gone to war, only to get back part of my country".

Pihero wrote:
By the way, the unification of all the German-speaking areas in Europe was o,ne of the main Nazi policies... It started with the Anschluss, not the acquisition of Alsace...strange that you would condone it, some 80 years later...
Here you remove yourself from any objective discussion of the subject. Your insinuation that the actions of Bismark were guided by a Nazi policy that was 80 years in the future (or that I am a Nazi shill) does nothing to help the thoroughly nationalistic case you're trying to make.

As for your discounting the prevailing anti French attitude in the German Empire at the time, I will point out that the memory of Napoleon's brutal excesses were just as alive in 1870 (55 years after his defeat) as your memory of Nazi excesses are now (71 years after the war); and it seems only fair to mention that the French leader at the time of the Franco - Prussian war was named Napoleon.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sun Nov 13, 2016 1:02 pm

Kiwirob wrote:
Aesma wrote:
Kiwirob, it's true many Alsatians speak German, but that's not as a first language. First language is French. Alsatian is its own (Germanic) language and probably less known than German, simply because German is a useful language to learn when you live near Germany. Still, more Germans speak French on the other side of the frontier than the reverse.


Many Alsatians also bark and go woof woof.


You get a leckerli for that answer, Kiwirob. :)

what is most important is, that these borders are freee flow These days without having to ask or Show ID's or worry about language.
There's a Restaurant at "Goldene Bremm", the main border crossing from Germany to France in Saarbruecken where the waitresses cross over from French to Germany and vv and i am sure such places are plenty.

Germans moving to Alsase are expected to speak French but French selling on the many Farmers markets in Freiburg or places nearby speak German. It's up to the individuals to make their choice and that's how it should be.
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sun Nov 13, 2016 3:28 pm

Kiwirob wrote:
I've been to Strassbourg and the surrounding areas, it feels more German than French, the people speak German, the buildings, food and culture appear to be more German than French, too me it appears like one of those parts of Europe like South Tyrol which are part of one country when they really look and feel like they should be in another.



No no no, it's exagerated.
People don't speak German. Some people, especially in the villages and especially the older, speak French as well as Alsatian, which is a German dialect. I'm always surprised however, when some people switch between French and Alsatian. Some people are hard-core regionalists, but they are mostly ridiculous with their stupid accent.
The typical food is German ok, but you don't eat Sauerkraut everyday.
Some parts of the architecture is German in Strasbourg because those buildings were built by the Germans after 1870.
The typical look of the houses is not especially German as far as I know, you don't find the same style in Kehl just on the other side of the border.
It's more a regional and medevial style. If you visit the center of Rennes in Brittany, you'll find also very old houses which look like Alsatian houses.

The worst in Alsace is really the accent ! But in Strasbourg you have a good mix, and you don't feel that you're in a foreign country. In some villages, it's true that you could wonder ... :-)
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sun Nov 13, 2016 6:52 pm

salttee wrote:
That "French patriotism was very strong in the region" is a subjective assumption which ignores the reasoning of why the Germans wanted to include Alsace - Lorraine into their nation in 1870. The unification of German states was a unification of German states, not a land grab. It seems obvious that there was more than one point of view within the region at the time. It's revealing that you eschew acknowledgement of that fact.

If one studies a subject like history, assuimptions are very dangerous : they are just the expression of your biases / xenophobia... etc...
Patriotism could be seen in one of my posts above : asking for volunteers, the nazis got 32 in one month, out of a total of some 500 000 young men... and that included those who thought that joining the Wehrmacht was fighting communism, the perceived enemy of western civilisation.
There also is a report from one site you could not ever-ever accuse of French leaning : the Institute for Research on Expelled Germans.
Here are some excerpts :at the end of the Thirty Years war ...
"The Alsatians enjoyed incredible cultural, academic, and social autonomy from the rest of France despite that nation's frequent political crises. The German language was not actively suppressed, nor was the Lutheran religion that was followed by many Alsatian Germans at the same time as French anti-Huguenot (Protestant) edicts were causing rampant persecution, civil war, and bloodshed in the rest of France. The partially independent social, linguistic, and political evolution of the Alsatians during French rule laid the foundations for a distinct Alsatian sub-national affiliation that endured even after annexation by the Second Reich of Bismarck in 1871. The passive behaviour of French rule also meant that the Alsatians remained distinctly Germanic and seldom assimilated into mainstream French or Latin cultural mores"...
2/- that compared to what happened after the 1870 war :
"This ethnic characteristic was exploited by the nationalistic reunified Germany to justify their claims on the region. So too, the fact that the French had allowed the Alsatians to administer their own affairs contrasted with the very militaristic and dominant rule of Prussian Germany, leading to a very precarious loyalty among the Alsatians between France and Germany that has endured ever since. Whilst Frenchmen emphasize that Alsace has, indeed, been a part of France for many centuries and thus deserves to be part of France, German nationalists emphasize that almost no Frenchmen even live in Alsace and thus it belongs with Germany or Switzerland, or should be independent."...
"...The experience of Alsatian Germans under Germany's authority was one of heavy-handed militaristic authority. The Alsatians were deemed by Prussian/German officers to be potentially unreliable, politically or nationally vaccilatory, and even ethnically 'diluted' due to their interlude under foreign French rule. Alsatians were perceived as being only superficially German by many nationalists to the point that both Joseph Goebbels (Goebbels 1948, 198) and Adolf Hitler (Speer 1970, 44) would later consider Alsace-Lorraine an 'insignificant strip of land' that had lost its Germanic character due to its support of France. Ironically, the French would soon approach the Alsatians with a far-reaching campaign of expulsion and discrimination that portrayed the Alsatians as uniformly pro-German and anti-French.;;;"
The whole article can be found here
So...who has a "'subjective" appreciation of that history ?
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sun Nov 13, 2016 7:28 pm

Fwiw a view from the perspective of somebody living not too far away from the border in souther Germany:

Many people here nowadays really appreciate the French character of the region without having to be fluent in French to get along, on public holidays in Germany most transborder roads tend to be congested.

The local population speak French most of the time, however in the small towns Alsacian is much more prominent and it sounds a lot like the German dialect spoken in Palatinate right across the border so for locals there aren't really issues getting along. In most restaurants the waiters speak French with their French guests but fluent German (albeit mostly with a dialect) with the Germans.
Strasbourg however is pretty much 100% French and therefore a really popular destination for schools.

That being said the Germans mostly enjoy having "actual" France so close which means that luckily nobody seriously wants Alsace-Lorraine to be German again (exception being extreme-right splinter groups and stupid jokes floating around...)
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:14 pm

sebolino wrote:
Kiwirob wrote:
I've been to Strassbourg and the surrounding areas, it feels more German than French, the people speak German, the buildings, food and culture appear to be more German than French, too me it appears like one of those parts of Europe like South Tyrol which are part of one country when they really look and feel like they should be in another.



No no no, it's exagerated.
People don't speak German. Some people, especially in the villages and especially the older, speak French as well as Alsatian, which is a German dialect. I'm always surprised however, when some people switch between French and Alsatian. Some people are hard-core regionalists, but they are mostly ridiculous with their stupid accent.


It's OK, they probably think your accent is ridiculous, too.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:03 pm

salttee wrote:
Pihero wrote:
2/- .... but it wasn't one of the reasons for WW1.There were a lot of politically / strategically more involving events in Europe in 1914 : The end of the Ottoman empire and who would take its place, the Balkans, the place of Russia...the hegemonist policy of Prussia;.. etc... etc... To see a direcr link between the 1870 conflict and the two world ( stress : W.O.R.L.D.) wars is ludicrously comical... worthy of a Mickey mouse university ( does that exist ? )
In spite of your rude hyperbole, a major reason for WW1 accepted by historians is hostility between France and Germany.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of ... ds_Germany This is not my invention. .

Oh yes, the page for which even Wiki is asking for sources, citations...etc... Looks to me it's Mickey University, Goofy college.now.
See this
"French revanchist foreign policy towards Germany
This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
"

salttee wrote:
As for your discounting the prevailing anti French attitude in the German Empire at the time, I will point out that the memory of Napoleon's brutal excesses were just as alive in 1870 (55 years after his defeat) as your memory of Nazi excesses are now (71 years after the war); and it seems only fair to mention that the French leader at the time of the Franco - Prussian war was named Napoleon.

Like someone with a very light grasp of a subject, you are very lightly manipulating quite a few concepts :
1/- Germany / Germans

Historically, Charlemagne aka Karl der grosse is a Frank kingwho extended his empire to the east, basically to the nowadays Slovaquia, to the south to Lombardy... etc... so we could say that most of Western Europe was populated by - politically - Franks
That territory became more or less the area of the Holy Roman - German Empire after quite a few vicissitudes like heritage (s) divisions...etc...
That empire got fragmented throughout the ages to the point that Germany did not exist any more as a single unit but remained just as an assembly of "German - speaking " multitude of minuscule independent princedoms.
In 1870, we are at the apogea of a "German" re - unification under the king of Prussia ( so the 1870 war was in fact "the Franco-Prussian war" and it's only after the official "Second Reich" that we could again talk about Germany and Germans).

2/- Napoleonic brutal excesses
As a matter of curiosity, I typed in research that exact sentence and the very first hit was a book from a Victorian historian, a George Moir Bussey ( 1807 - 1864 ) who wrote :
"... The inhabitants of the ( French ) provinces were becoming desperate from the brutal excesses everywhere committed by the allies : murder, violations, fire and pillage formed the sport of the enemy.... desolation tracked every movement of the Germans, Russians and Swedes and was so widely and generally spread that herds of wolves and wild boars had reapeared in what has recently been the populous haunts of civilisation.... The horror and fear of the country people at seeing their cottages occupied by savages, all ties of domestic affection wantonly outraged and their roads streaming with the blood of their friends and kindred..."
That was in 1812-13
Excerpts of the book here as History of Napoleon
You really have to get away from the clichés about Napoléon and the angelism of his enemies.
As a matter of fact his "great Army" was probably the best disciplined soldiers of the era and generally left the populations alone ( burning of crops was a military tactic, though, used by about everybody).
The exception was in Spain were the French troops did commit atrocities against the population : the reason of that sort of behaviour was that it was the very first instance of a guerilla war ( the term dates from that period in Spanish ) and every Spaniard was an enemy, to be treated as such. Wellington's army did commit a few, too - and they were supposed to be the protectors !.

I am afraid you are suffering from the holier-than-thou attitude towards Napoleon that is prevailing in the UK, and without any hint of an explanation on what History was.

In fact there is a very valid question : Who created Napoleon ?
One answer is that, had the monarchies of Europe let the French Revolution run its own course without any interference - especially military - France might very well have retained its king... and we wouldn't have seen the Terror, the Vendée Chouans... nor Napoléon... He would have remained an artillery officer named Buonaparte , basically unknown amongst a crowd of brilliant officers. (But that, I'm afraid is just an opinion / assumption I share, hence with not a lot of validity)...

( By the way, did anybody declare war on England's Cromwell ? After all, they executed a king, too... )
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:53 pm

Pihero wrote:
Sorry but your grasp of history is not very strong :
You begin a response to me with an ad hominem and then you continue with what looks like a stream of consciousness rant mixed with further ad hominems, which makes it difficult to have a conversation with you, but I'll respond to what I think are your actual arguments for the sake of other readers.

Pihero objects to my description of conditions in Alsace Lorraine on the eve of the 1870 war: "Alsace - Lorraine was a region with a peaceful but mixed population. It did have a significant percentage of German speaking residents. So when German unification came about, it was not untoward of the Germans to include the region in their new state, even though it had been loosely under French rule as a result of Napoleon's conquests (which of course were not held in high regard in 19th century Europe)"

The only possible thing I can see for him to object to here is my statement: "it had been loosely under French rule as a result of Napoleon's conquests (which of course were not held in high regard in 19th century Europe)"

To rebut me he brings in a quote from a source I've never encountered which says:
Post #25 wrote:
Institute for Research on Expelled Germans.
"The Alsatians enjoyed incredible cultural, academic, and social autonomy from the rest of France despite that nation's frequent political crises."
Which supports my contention that at that time Alsace Lorraine "had been loosely under French rule".

And while he noted that France had had "political crises", (Napoleon Bonaparte had brought more than just "political crises") he presumably takes issue with my brief summation "under French rule as a result of Napoleon's conquests".

I did not want to delve into French history in detail when I wrote my post, I was focused on the war of 1870 and its effect on future events; but now that we are there we can take Pihero's slice of history and add to it information from a post that Kiwirob had previously made:
Kiwirob wrote:
Alsace was part of the Holy Roman Empire (essentially German) until 1618 when Louis XIII annexes portions of Alsace during the Thirty Years' War, in 1674 Louis XIV annexes the rest of Alsace during the Franco-Dutch War, establishing full French sovereignty over the region........
Between Kiwirob and Pihero we are left with a still not detailed picture of the two populations of the region in 1870 which support my original contention that Alsace was a region with a "peaceful but mixed population with a significant percentage of German speaking residents."

In his next post he rudely objects to my statement that I see a direct link between the Franco - Prussian war and world wars 1 & 2. So I'll defend that premise here.

I think it's a given that WW2 is a direct result of conditions created by the way WW1 ended, so there should be no need to go into the Third Reich stuff Pihero brought into the conversation. So I'll make my case for the linkage between the wars of 1871 and 1914.

In late 1914 when the events in Sarajevo came to a head, the Tzar wanted a war with the German states, but he knew that Russia could not take Germany on alone; his declaration of war was predicated on the understanding that France would join in a war with Russia, yet France was not a party to events in the east, it really was no skin off France's nose what happened in Austria-Hungary or the Balkans. France had a defense pact with Russia but in this case Russia was the aggressor and Germany was issuing no threat to France.

If we look at the roots of this defense pact, the opening sentence from Wikipedia's history is: "The history of the alliance dates to the beginning of the 1870s, to the contradictions engendered by the Franco-Prussian War and the Treaty of Frankfurt of 1871. "

I can go into more detail on why I think the wars of 1870 and 1914 are linked, if Pihero wishes to engage in polite discussion, but I am not going to respond to Pihero if he wants a flame war type of dialogue.
 
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t the treaty of Westphalia

Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:00 am

salttee wrote:
Pihero objects to my description of conditions in Alsace Lorraine on the eve of the 1870 war: "Alsace - Lorraine was a region with a peaceful but mixed population. It did have a significant percentage of German speaking residents. So when German unification came about, it was not untoward of the Germans to include the region in their new state, even though it had been loosely under French rule as a result of Napoleon's conquests (which of course were not held in high regard in 19th century Europe)"
The only possible thing I can see for him to object to here is my statement: "it had been loosely under French rule as a result of Napoleon's conquests (which of course were not held in high regard in 19th century Europe)"


Bull ! Twisting the facts to suit your own agenda - because you have one - is not exactly doing objective historical work.
Could I just mention a few facts :
1/- France is with Austria the only country German-speaking folks refer to as "Empires" ( Reich as in Frankreich : the empire of the Franks - and Österreich.That dates to the beginnings of the Charlemagnbe 's empire, and I remind you that he was crowned as Kaiser of the Franks by the pope and not emperor of the Germans.That Karl der Grosse's empire included what are today known as Alsace / Lorraine.
2/- At the treaty of Westphalia, these territories went - I would say "back" - to the French crown.
3/- The French annexation was very soft on the German-speaking population and the French kings did not want to be to harsh on them, considering they had suffered enough during the 30Years War. The first French administrator went in fact as far as to learn both German and the local dialects to be closer to his adminbistrees.
One of the fery few rules which were implemented was re-establishing catholicism as the main religion and to this day one could find churches which were originally Lutheran places of worship.
4/- Contrarily to your assertion, the Prussian take over was very much a land grab, very much akin to the Nazis grabbing Austria ( the Anschluss ) and the Sudeten lands.

Those were, in 1870, French territories whether your idea of history acknowledges it or not ( I have a feeling you won't but I don't care ).

salttee wrote:
To rebut me he brings in a quote from a source I've never encountered which says:
Post #25 wrote:
Institute for Research on Expelled Germans.
"The Alsatians enjoyed incredible cultural, academic, and social autonomy from the rest of France despite that nation's frequent political crises."
Which supports my contention that at that time Alsace Lorraine "had been loosely under French rule".
And while he noted that France had had "political crises", (Napoleon Bonaparte had brought more than just "political crises") he presumably takes issue with my brief summation "under French rule as a result of Napoleon's conquests".


You are bringing a very valid point : anyone interested in history and in a particular subject would research as much as possible . The fact that you've never heard of the Institute for Research on Expelled Germans means that somehow your study, and hence your understanding of that subject is incomplete.

salttee wrote:
I did not want to delve into French history in detail when I wrote my post, I was focused on the war of 1870 and its effect on future events; but now that we are there we can take Pihero's slice of history and add to it information from a post that Kiwirob had previously made:
Kiwirob wrote:
Alsace was part of the Holy Roman Empire (essentially German) until 1618 when Louis XIII annexes portions of Alsace during the Thirty Years' War, in 1674 Louis XIV annexes the rest of Alsace during the Franco-Dutch War, establishing full French sovereignty over the region....... Between Kiwirob and Pihero we are left with a still not detailed picture of the two populations of the region in 1870 which support my original contention that Alsace was a region with a "peaceful but mixed population with a significant percentage of German speaking residents."


The excerpt from the IREG, had you bothered to read it was quite complete enough.

salttee wrote:
In his next post he rudely objects to my statement that I see a direct link between the Franco - Prussian war and world wars 1 & 2. So I'll defend that premise here.

I think it's a given that WW2 is a direct result of conditions created by the way WW1 ended, so there should be no need to go into the Third Reich stuff Pihero brought into the conversation. So I'll make my case for the linkage between the wars of 1871 and 1914.


There is no "given" : there are "Facts, and Documents, and Honesty "... and avoiding the searingly burning subject of nazi invasions - mainly without bothering to declare war - and forcible land grabbing + deporting the local populations, replacing them with "pure Aryans" smacks of total intellectual dishonesty.
Have you read "Mein Kampf" ?
You should and basically had our politicians bothered to, everything Hitle'r was about to do was there... The Lebensraum, the Jewish question, the war with the Soviets...etc... Everything... but ...
Funny enough, Elsass-Lothringen did not figure among his plans !

salttee wrote:
In late 1914 when the events in Sarajevo came to a head, the Tzar wanted a war with the German states, but he knew that Russia could not take Germany on alone; his declaration of war was predicated on the understanding that France would join in a war with Russia, yet France was not a party to events in the east, it really was no skin off France's nose what happened in Austria-Hungary or the Balkans. France had a defense pact with Russia but in this case Russia was the aggressor and Germany was issuing no threat to France.

If we look at the roots of this defense pact, the opening sentence from Wikipedia's history is: "The history of the alliance dates to the beginning of the 1870s, to the contradictions engendered by the Franco-Prussian War and the Treaty of Frankfurt of 1871. "


In fact, your argument is as Alsace-Lorraine was a contentious subject between France and Germany, France's "revanchism" was the cause of three wars, the poor Prussians and the poor nazis were just the victims of France's imperialism in Europe !
Your ideas about the events of July 1914 are, to say the least, very curious
Unfortunately for you,there were quite a few other European countries involved in July- August 1914 :
- Austria send a very unreasonable demand to Serbia... or else... leading to an Austrian declaration of war.
- Russia backed Serbia - as their treaties implied and mobilised against the Austrian empire... not as you sweetly say the German States ( or are yoiu just ahead of the time and assume that Ausqtria ihas been ansclussed and is now part og Germany ? )
- Germany tried to get the UK's neutrality, failed and declared war on Russia and France and invaded Belgium ( which was, may I remind you a neutral country ).
- Then, and only then did the British government deckare war on Germany.
So, if we 'd simplify a very complex situation and only regard the declarations of war :
1/- The Austro-Hungarian empire declares war on the tiny Serbia.
2/- Due to a defence pact of "slavic" countries, Russia mobilises against Austria
3/- Germany, because of her ties to Austria declares war on Serbia, then Russia, then France
4/- Germany invades Belgium ...the very first bellicist action of what is to be called WW1.
5/- Great Britain respects its alliances and declares war on Germany.
So the countries which declared war were
1/- Austria, against Serbia,
2/- Germany against Russia and France
3/- The UK against Germany
Do I see France in there ?

As for your wiki quote, any body can interpret it as one wishes. Total verbose rubbish... Something you seem to like in Wiki

salttee wrote:
I can go into more detail on why I think the wars of 1870 and 1914 are linked, if Pihero wishes to engage in polite discussion, but I am not going to respond to Pihero if he wants a flame war type of dialogue.

That's fine by me. I like discussions where one could learn something.
On the other hand, I abhor agendas and biases and the use of distorted history to suit a person's generally hateful designs and agendas.

For those interested, a bunch of historians and video teams have started two years ago on youtube and the social media a series as how the events happened exactly one century ago.
There now have been some 200 videos made, enough for super interesting / accurate information ( one doesn't need to see them all... they could be only 10 minutes long, they will take 35 hours of your time).
I'd like to submit to those interestd the second video of the series, called The Great War :
This is the program that pertains to our subject., very well worth 9 minutes of attention
.Europe prior to WW1
The anchor, Indy Neidell is a Texan, associated with some European youngsters from (funny, ain't it ?) Sweden and Germany. He's a historian by training.
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salttee
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:46 am

If I boil all that down to the part that is relevant to the discussion at hand, I am left with:
Pihero wrote:
3/- Germany, because of her ties to Austria declares war on Serbia, then Russia, then France ....
Do I see France in there ?

Well no, you don't see France in there, because you didn't include French actions in your summation. You see, France had joined with Russia in the Franco - Russian alliance in 1892 which obviously had been drawn up with Germany in mind.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-Russian_Alliance

And when in late July 1914, Russia took the position of supporting Serbia by mobalizing its army against the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany, France voiced support for the Russian position.

When on August 1, 1914 Germany declared war on Russia, and asked France its intentions; Paris responded by declaring that France would respond according to its own interests, and began mobilization - which of course was an act of war. Two days later Germany declared war on France.

I'm not saying that France started WW1, I'm merely pointing out that France's actions were voluntary, they didn't have to join in the war in the east in 1914 anymore than they had to sign the Franco - Russian alliance pact in 1892. But they did.

Now why did they the engage in actions that brought them to war with Germany?
A part of it had to be bitterness from having lost the war of 1871 and having lost Alsace Lorraine to Germany.

As a Frenchman said a hundred years later in this very forum:
Aesma wrote:
if I was a young man in 1914, even an educated and well off one, I think I would have happily gone to war, only to get back part of my country.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:59 am

Wiki, again and again and again !
There were at least two alliances : the "Entente" with Britain, France and Russia and the "Alliance" between Austria-Hungary, Germany and Italy..
So, again for some very dicy argument, you fail ( ????? ) to mention the Austrian-Hungarian empire, in all instances the main culprit for the war. As I understand your line, they were entitled to send a totally unacceptable to Serbia ( the setting up of an Austrian court of enquiry / judgement on the Sarajevo murder ) before declaring war... very courageous and probably right up to your idea that " it's not land grabbing, just a return of national land".

You write : "I'm not saying that France started WW1, I'm merely pointing out that France's actions were voluntary, they didn't have to join in the war in the east in 1914 anymore than they had to sign the Franco - Russian alliance pact in 1892. But they did."

You could ask the same question to the German position.
... but of course, according to your twisted argument, poor Germany was forced by the dastardly French iunto a war they did not want.... Utter rubbish...
Another pearl : " Now why did they the engage in actions that brought them to war with Germany?
A part of it had to be bitterness from having lost the war of 1871 and having lost Alsace Lorraine to Germany.
"

1/- A country respects its treaties ( that is, in my opinion ), so Germany declaring war on Russia would have meant French involvement in the aid of its ally... same thing with Britain.
2/- The nationalism in 1914 certainly wasn't a French trait, and the desire for war was quite present in the whole continent.
The country which was the best prepared, I'm afraid for your argument, was Germany : The Schlieffen plan, which laid their strategy in case of a war against both Russia and France was finalised in 1904, ten full years before the real conflict !

As for Aesma's quote, I would have said exactly the same thing, exactly the same way thousand of young Frenchmen were demonstrating to chants of "To Berlin !"
At the same time, in Berlin they were doing the same thing to the chants of " Nach Paris !"...
They were not ready, really, to tone down bellicose postures on either side of the border.
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salttee
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:01 pm

Pihero you seem to be all wrapped up in who to blame.
All I ever said was that without the war of 1870, there would have been no WW1 hence no WW2.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:44 pm

That doesn't seem to be your problem as you have loaded Fance with all the reponsibilities.
And no ! That wasn't the only thing you said :

1/-"It did have a significant percentage of German speaking residents. So when German unification came about, it was not untoward of the Germans to include the region in their new state, even though it had been loosely under French rule as a result of Napoleon's conquests (which of course were not held in high regard in 19th century Europe)."

In these two lines, you manage to validate the Nazi Germany annexation of German-speaking territories and make a huge mistake about Napoleonic wars : they'd been over since 1815 and had Alsace and Lorraine been "grabbed" by Napoleon, I really doubt the status quo would have been kept after Waterloo and the Vienna conference which basically re-drew European borders.

2/- "
I have always seen the direct link between the Franco - Prussian war and world wars 1 & 2. Without the French declaration of war on Germany in 1870 there would have been no WW1, hence no WW2.


Again, two blatant mistakes :
a)- France didn't declare war on Germany ; Germany declared war on Russia, France and Serbia... Does that make a big difference ? In reality, not a lot. For you, it just destroys your main idea of France the baddy.

b)- The backgrounds of Europe in 1870 and in 1914 are vastly different.: In 1870, the main point is about the creation under Prussia of a German nation.
In 1914, one could say that the European character is about nationalism (s) trying to assert themselves on the decaying corpses of two empires : Turkey and Austria-Hungary..
In the rest of Western Europe, the mood was really about pacifism, which quickly disappeared, giving way to bellicose attitudes ( and revanchism on the French side - the Jean Jaurès assassination in effect killed any chance of trying to find a peaceful solution to the Easter Europe conflicts )..
As for the origins of the second world war, there are some facts that should be told :
A/- It came through France's intransigence about payment of war damages
those damages were estimated, in Paris and Versailles conferences at 148 billion marks, for both France and Belgium., the countries most affected by the germans ( have you heard of German atrocities onto civilians ? have you heard about the "rape of Louvain" where they executed by firing squads civilians, adults and children ?...
Do you know that, even considering that sum was inferior to the destruction brought to these countries, the nazi re-arming between 1933 and 1938 is estimated - very conservatively - at more than one trillion marks, seven times the damage reparation sum ?

B/- The great depression which saw the avent oif nazism

C/- The avent of autoritarian regimes, both fascist and communist : Spain, Italy and Germany on one hand, the USSR on the other under Joseph Stalin.

.........etc...........

3/- "
The unification of German states was a unification of German states, not a land grab.
"

That reads exactly like an extract from Jo Goebbels propaganda, post 1933.
Actually, these provinces had been Frankish - hence French since the year 511 under the reign of Clovis.

4/- "In absence of the fact that France was eager to right perceived injustices and recover Alsace - Lorraine by force of arms, the assassination in Sarajevo would have just been a local event."

...( sarcastic)... the treatment by the Austrians of Serbia, plus the Russian declaration of war to Austria.... etc... are just local events ? Sheesh !!!

So, in actual fact you said a lot more than you'd claim now.
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salttee
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:18 am

Pihero wrote:
In these two lines, you manage to validate the Nazi Germany annexation of German-speaking territories.....................
That reads exactly like an extract from Jo Goebbels propaganda, post 1933...................

If you want to talk about Nazis please start a new thread. Nazism didn't exist in 1870 or 1914. I'm sorry to deprive you of what is obviously a favorite topic of yours, but discussions of Nazis are out of place in this thread.

Pihero wrote:
France didn't declare war on Germany
Yes it did in 1870 and that's where in the discussion you took the quote of my words from - and tried to place them in the 1914 part of the conversation.

Pihero wrote:
The backgrounds of Europe in 1870 and in 1914 are vastly different.: In 1870, the main point is about the creation under Prussia of a German nation.
In 1914, one could say that the European character is about nationalism (s) trying to assert themselves on the decaying corpses of two empires : Turkey and Austria-Hungary. In the rest of Western Europe, the mood was really about pacifism, which quickly disappeared, giving way to bellicose attitudes ( and revanchism on the French side - the Jean Jaurès assassination in effect killed any chance of trying to find a peaceful solution to the Easter Europe conflicts )..
I never tried to imply that the backgrounds for 1870 and 1914 were the same.

Pihero wrote:
As for the origins of the second world war, there are some facts that should be told.........................
There's nothing to discuss here. If you don't or can't understand that WW2 was a direct result of the way the affairs of European nations were cast by the WW1 peace agreements, then you are too blinded by some ideology to participate in a discussion of the causes of the wars of 1870, WW1 or WW2.

Pihero I feel like I'm having an argument with a drunken Latin who thinks I called his mother a whore because I mentioned Miley Cyrus or some such thing.
I don't think that you are up to political discussions with foreigners that have anything to do with your home country.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sat Nov 19, 2016 2:12 pm

NO. I'm not talking about nazis as important - or even existing - in 1870 or 1914, I'm just referring to a mindset that you share with them to jhustify, a posteriori the Prussian annexcation of Alsace-Lorraine :
"It's not a land grab,but a return of nationals to the bossom of their nation ( or to the same extent)

For a discussion, one needs , again, facts and documents : Your idea is that you are right, therefore nhot needing anytrhing backing your assertions.
And, as far as ideologies go, the one you seem to be backing is despicable. Has been since 1927.
I also note that the only correction you brought to my posts is the declaration of war by France in 1870, for which I acknowledge a mistake - in the last post only - for writing too fast.

" I feel like I'm having an argument with a drunken Latin who thinks I called his mother a whore because I mentioned Miley Cyrus or some such thing.
I don't think that you are up to political discussions with foreigners that have anything to do with your home country.
"

With people like you, yes, definitely. It's like trying to talk to acreationist, a bloody waste of time.
I love discussing with open and cultured people.
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Sat Nov 19, 2016 2:37 pm

It is not so so simple. From around 970 to the 17th / 18th century the area was part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Louis XIV and Louis XV annexed the area to add it to what they called that natural boundries of the French nation. The Pyrenees to the southwest, the Alps to the southeast, and the Rhine River to the northeast. One sho9uld also not forget that there was no German state when Napoleon was defeated. Prussia was much further East and the smaller countries in the West were not important nor powerful enough to demand anything at the time.

One can not look at it with the knowledge of history that had not happened at the time. It is even quite funny that the Napoleonic wars and the occupation of large parts of Germany were the reasons for the birth of German nationalism in the 19th century.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:35 pm

On top of losing 20% of its coal and steel capacity and 1,5 millions inhabitants, France had to pay the new German state 5 billion Francs-or (in gold), equivalent to more than 20% of its GDP, in five years. This was paid in full and in time.

The sum Germany had to pay after WW1 was similar, except Germany didn't pay more than a few percents of it. But somehow that is blamed for WW2.
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Pihero
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:51 pm

Ah ! It's because the arrogant French are responsible for most of the ills of the world.... Didn't you know that ?
They caused the 1870 war ( errr... yes, but they really were outmaneuvered by that wiley old fox called Bismarck..... They caused the first world war for sheer revengism... and they caused the second world war by forcing the poor Germans to pay for the damages they caused ( not even taking into account the first atrocities on civilians by occupying troops : on that account, Belgium is totally forgotten :sarcastic:
What is not really understood is how they caused the Japanese to invade China, bomb Hawai and kick the living shit out of the white round eyes in Singapore, Indochina and the Philippines. I'm sure someone will find a way to do that in this forum.

seahawk wrote : "One should also not forget that there was no German state when Napoleon was defeated. Prussia was much further East and the smaller countries in the West were not important nor powerful enough to demand anything at the time".

Maybe not a German state but Prussia, its nucleus was very much present : After all, Marshall Blücher is the real victor of the battle of Waterloo, isn't he ?
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salttee
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:14 pm

Aesma wrote:
But somehow that is blamed for WW2.
Wow such hyperbole! Yet if you want to understand the roots of WW2 beyond Bad Germans! Bad Germans! it seems taking into account the effects of the worldwide economic depression Germany experienced along with everyone else in the 30s. Then if one were to have a bit of empathy (not to be confused with sympathy) for the German people of the period who were living in a country that still hadn't recovered from WW1 and which was paying reparations while people were starving (or close to it, I don't want to engage in hyperbole myself), it is easy to see how a Donald trump like figure could come along and blame it on a country on their southwestern border.

So yes, the reparations did have something to do with the causes of WW2, and I suppose they have been harped on a bit too much, but their effect was real and it is very possible that they were the issue that gave the populist of the day his opportunity to sell his bigoted agenda: the straw that broke the camel's back, so to say.

Aesma wrote:
On top of losing 20% of its coal and steel capacity and 1,5 millions inhabitants, France had to pay the new German state 5 billion Francs-or (in gold), equivalent to more than 20% of its GDP, in five years. This was paid in full and in time.
I don't really disbelieve you, but I would like to see a source for the details above.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:08 am

salttee wrote:
Aesma wrote:
On top of losing 20% of its coal and steel capacity and 1,5 millions inhabitants, France had to pay the new German state 5 billion Francs-or (in gold), equivalent to more than 20% of its GDP, in five years. This was paid in full and in time.
I don't really disbelieve you, but I would like to see a source for the details above.

Aesma quoted 100% correctly from the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt, signed by Bismarck himself.
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:12 am

Yes, the French had to pay 5 billion Francs in Gold to Germany and lost the Alsace-Lorraine.

Compare to Versailles

- Germany had to pay the allied 20 billion Gold marks until 1921, where the final sum of reparations was to be decided
- In the London Schedule of Payments, the combined sum the central powers had to pay was set at 132 billion, a sum that even the allies know was totally impossible to be paid. So the formed different levels of bonds with Germany being expected to bay 50 billions. That meant that between 1919 and 1921 Germany had to pay 41 billions.
- one could also mention that the desired level of coal the Germans had to sent the allies did not consider the transfer of the Upper Silesian cola mines to Poland, which reduced German production by 11% - this failure to meet the deliveries let to the occupation of the Ruhr (a part of Germany that was not lost during WWI) The occupation of the Ruhr also led to a new formation of right wing ideas and a right wing party, that later was replaced by the Nazis
- the Young plan reduced the amount due to 112 billions to be paid until 1988
- the Lausanne conference ended the reparations with one final 3 billion payment

How much Germany actually paid is wide open to discussion and the reparations are not the cause for the economic collapse, but they were a valuable scapegoat for German politcians and enraged the German population, especially as the occupation of the Ruhr was not free of civilian death and a long period of hunger. In the end the French view was that the treaty was too lenient and did not weaken Germany enough, so that it become a threat again. The UK and US view was more leaning towards the treaty being too harsh, as it would undermine German development and plant the seeds for future conflict. In the end both sides were right in the worst possible way.

And to answer the Napoleonic war, I personally care little about the real victor at Waterloo, I learned that a European coalition defeated the French. The English led by Wellington, the Prussians by Blücher. So, no I do not see a real victor in there.

But that was not my point. Prussia had no common border with France, to be honest they had not even much interest in French territory. The Holy German Empire was quite weak and conflict with France was limited, well until revolutionary France started a conflict. And even ion the first round Prussia showed little interest in the West. The Peace of Basel saw control of areas west of the Rhine go to France, in exchange for Polish territory. After the Battle of Austerlitz (France vs. Austria + Russia not the Prussians) and the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt France formed the Confederation of the Rhine. A confederation of German states under "protection" of France, or to be more exact a French puppet. For the first time in history, there was now a direct border between Prussia and French controlled areas. This defeat also allowed Prussia the needed reforms that later made them a modern state and dangerous enemy to the French. Napoleon then forced Germans to help him on his attack on Russia in 1812.
With the war of the 6th coalition, most fighting in the German wars was done in what is today the Eastern part of Germany or even Poland. During the following retreat, it was the first time that the other German states united with Prussian forces against a common enemy.

I am always surprised how sometimes French people fail to see the influence Napoleon´s wars had on the development of Europe. Napoleon formed Germany as an enemy and he set up the stage for a German state under Prussian leadership. I am also always a bit surprised, that you say the French were tricked into the 1871 war, while Germany is given clear responsibility for WWI, when one could argue that Germany also did nothing more than honouring the alliance with Austria-Hungaria.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:26 am

salttee wrote:
Aesma wrote:
But somehow that is blamed for WW2.

Wow such hyperbole! Yet if you want to understand the roots of WW2 beyond Bad Germans! Bad Germans! it seems taking into account the effects of the worldwide economic depression Germany experienced along with everyone else in the 30s. Then if one were to have a bit of empathy (not to be confused with sympathy) for the German people of the period who were living in a country that still hadn't recovered from WW1 and which was paying reparations while people were starving (or close to it, I don't want to engage in hyperbole myself), it is easy to see how a Donald trump like figure could come along and blame it on a country on their southwestern border.
So yes, the reparations did have something to do with the causes of WW2, and I suppose they have been harped on a bit too much, but their effect was real and it is very possible that they were the issue that gave the populist of the day his opportunity to sell his bigoted agenda: the straw that broke the camel's back, so to say.

See Aesma's post above.
The problem in your demonstration is that :
1/- Germany was been bailed out of the reparation payments by US bankers / government
2/- It has never been paid in full, contrary to France after 1871
3/- Empathy for the German population, yes. But remember that the war happened on French and Belgian soil. Germany had basically no war damage at all and you can't really compare the - again, French and Belgian civilian deaths through what is now characterised as war crimes, atrocities...etc...
4/- the post 1929 financial crisis happened to every country in the industrial world... Only Germany found it necessary to go through a fascist experience.
5/- Once again, I challenge you to find, prior to 1939, any mention of the Alsace-Lorraine situation in nazi circles or publications... It certainly is not in "Mein Kampf" which is supposed to be the nazis' bible.
btw, I found a very similar reasoning to yours in some neo-nazi sites.
Sheesh !
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Aesma
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:39 pm

salttee wrote:
Aesma wrote:
But somehow that is blamed for WW2.
Wow such hyperbole! Yet if you want to understand the roots of WW2 beyond Bad Germans! Bad Germans! it seems taking into account the effects of the worldwide economic depression Germany experienced along with everyone else in the 30s.


I didn't say that. I'd argue the US had a much bigger role, by letting its banks run amok and crash the world economy as a result. Of course that lesson wasn't learned, and still hasn't been learned after having done it again and again.
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Dec 09, 2016 1:12 pm

Aesma wrote:
salttee wrote:
Aesma wrote:
But somehow that is blamed for WW2.
Wow such hyperbole! Yet if you want to understand the roots of WW2 beyond Bad Germans! Bad Germans! it seems taking into account the effects of the worldwide economic depression Germany experienced along with everyone else in the 30s.


I didn't say that. I'd argue the US had a much bigger role, by letting its banks run amok and crash the world economy as a result. Of course that lesson wasn't learned, and still hasn't been learned after having done it again and again.


There is no point in putting the blame for WW2 on anybody but Germany. However it was a political mistake to put the blame for WW1 solely on Germany. It was even worse to strangle all German governments until 1932 and give in to German demands or ignore violations when the Nazis rose to power.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Dec 09, 2016 1:33 pm

Pihero wrote:
Empathy for the German population, yes. But remember..............

I knew that someone would confuse the word empathy with the word sympathy. You win first prize!
Pihero wrote:
btw, I found a very similar reasoning to yours in some neo-nazi sites.Sheesh !

Oh, go ahead and say it: call me a Nazi because I mentioned that the war of 1871 (which France started) was the catalyst for WW1 & WW2.
And you might as well just make a blanket statement that anyone who thinks Napoleon ever created any problems in Europe is another bloodsucking Nazi.

Go ahead, get it off your chest, you'll feel better I'm sure.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Dec 09, 2016 1:49 pm

seahawk wrote : " I am also always a bit surprised, that you say the French were tricked into the 1871 war, while Germany is given clear responsibility for WWI, when one could argue that Germany also did nothing more than honouring the alliance with Austria-Hungaria."

Most serious, objective historians have written at length aboiut how cleverly Bismarck maneuvered in 1870 : He had to get into war with France, for which he was far better prepared, and at the same time look completely innocent of any bellicose intent / imperialism towards the German states. He needed to be a victim.
That he achieved with the famed "Ems dispatch"

See this among dozens of researches : The Franco-Prussian war.... from which I take this excerpt :
" The Prussian statesman realized that this move would in all probability precipitate war, but he knew that Prussia was prepared, and he counted on the psychological effect of a French declaration of war to rally the south German states to Prussia's cause, thus accomplishing the final phase in the unification of Germany. "

Here is a short intro to the Ems Dispatch
An excerpt ; " Bismarck, intent on provoking war with France, made the king's report of the conversation public (July 13) in his celebrated Ems dispatch, which he edited in a manner certain to provoke the French. France declared war on July 19, and the Franco-Prussian War began."

sehawk wrote ;"Prussia had no common border with France, to be honest they had not even much interest in French territory."
Very true, but that wasn't the case of quite a few of the German princedoms, those which Bismarck wanted to amalgamate into Prussia... something he brilliantly achieved.

seahawk wrote' :"I am always surprised how sometimes French people fail to see the influence Napoleon´s wars had on the development of Europe".
If that's what you think, you haven't really talked to French people; If there's a period of their history that they've had to study the most, the 1789 - 1815 one is it.
To this day that influence is present : Most of the European countries have based their laws on the Napoleonic code.
As far as his responsibility goes, as usual, non-french forgot that the revolutionary wars and by extension the avent of Napoleon is a direct result of these European monarchs trying to suppress revolutionary ideas and keep the French kings in power... these treacherous, disloyal idiots brought Bonaparte unto themselves.

and finally , sehawk wrote :" I personally care little about the real victor at Waterloo, I learned that a European coalition defeated the French"
I asked once in a meeting of scouters in western Europe how many knew Blücher : Not one of the 60 Brit leaders did, contrary to most Germans, French, Belgians and even Swedes !
So, you're probably one in a very small minority... for which, of course I salute you !
I've always found the english humour of using that name for the TGV terminal from France rather cute.
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:01 pm

Imho one can not separate the wars from 1866 and 1871 from the Napelonic wars when looking at Germany, because Napoleon and let the groundwork for a United Germany with his wars. The Holy Roman Empire was divided, it was weak and Prussia´s influence was limited. When its existence ended, and Napoleon created la Confédération du Rhin / Rheinbund French infleunce extend to most parts of Germany today., only Prussia and Austria were not under French control. And while the French did modernize the states and brought reforms with them, which were as important for the future of Germany as what was happening in Prussia, the support for the French dropped, when the economic situation worsened and when the population had to raise armies for Napoleon, with few soldiers returning home. (Bavaria did sent 30.000 men for the war in Russia and 300 came home) Nevertheless the liberal ideas of Napoleon were the seeds for the German unification.
 
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:09 pm

Thank you for that post, with which I agree.

Regards
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Re: Do you know about Alsace-Lorraine ?

Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:04 pm

Imho the 1871 and WWI were similar in the fact that both sides wanted the war. However in 1871 German diplomacy was better than the French and for WWI it was the other way around. Imho Napoleon III. was not good as a leader of France. There was no need to piss of Prussia by going behind their back when it came to the agreement about Venetia and the French position in case of a conflict between Prussia and Austria. Offering to accept a German unification under Prussian leadership in exchange for Prussia agreeing to France taking control of Belgium and Luxembourg was very stupid considering the French promise made in the treaty of London from 1839. Sending a written official suggestion was even more idiotic.
Sure the Ems Dispatch was a well aimed provocation, but the French were all too willing to accept it. Imho just like WWI any side could have avoided the war, neither wanted to.

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