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Dada - 1911

(and other documents) google: "foch" "a ceasfire" QUOTE & similar... note: German spelling "foche" - might be a declinsion/conjugation term. On this page: {Nathanel's notes on Alsace}

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Nathanel's notes on Alsace

Well done!! (tips towel three times to frood Nate :) http://rhineriver.blogspot.com/2004/09/unloved-autonomy-part-i.html An unloved autonomy part I This is an outline of the development of Alsatian political culture leading up to the return to France in 1918-1919. While part of Germany (1871-1911), the territories of Alsace and Lorraine were administered by representatives of Berlin as if they were a subject people. Indeed, the appellation Alsace-Lorraine was a short-hand for the more descriptive name: Reichsland—the territories that were jointly administered by all the other German states for their mutual benefit, but not for the Alsatians and Lorrains. During this period Alsatians focused on two concepts, ‘republic’ and ‘federation’, in order to argue for the creation of a province that would be an expression of popular sovereignty and that would have parity with other German states. In 1911 the Reich gave autonomy to Alsace, something which it did not want. The republic was an alternative to arbitrary regimes. At the time of annexation, criticism of Napoleon III and Bonapartism was gaining strength—republicanism was becoming more prominent. Under the Second Reich, Alsace-Lorraine was subjected to an appointed official who acted as the Statthalter (representative of the kingdom in the territory). The German imperial house, the Hohenzollerns, wanted to make Alsace-Lorraine part of the family possessions—a territory given to a son who would not become the Kaiser. Alsatians looked to the republic in order to reject the creation of a ruling house for the territory. Politicians like Emile Wetterle (a Catholic cleric, newspaper publisher, and deputy to the Reichstag (imperial legislature)) kept tabs on the changes in French republicanism and translated them into Alsatian political activism. Pushing for rights for the territories, Alsatian politicians demanded a unicameral legislature elected by popular vote and a ministerial government that was drawn from the legislature. Indeed, Wetterle and other politicians pointed out that republicanism was not incompatible with the politics of the Reich: Hamburg was a republic. Federalism was also an issue under the French Second Empire. Of course, it is common everywhere for the party that is not in power to argue that the central government has too much authority, and this was certainly the case in France: anti-Bonapartists argued that Paris was too powerful. Federalism was also part of the German constitution. It was the basis for the aggregation of German principalities in the First Reich (Holy Roman Empire). Technically, federalism was also the basis for the Second Reich as well: the empire was made up of kingdoms and duchies that had their own governments and domestic policies. However, Prussia easily dominated: the constitution gave it more votes in the federal council (Bundesrat), and it had more population (more legislators in lower house), a larger economy, a larger army, etc. Simply, Prussia undermined federalism with its power and influence. Furthermore, Prussia controlled all of the federal votes for the Reichsland. Alsatian politicians hoped both to gain control of their federal votes and to restore the balance between states at minimum by limiting votes on the federal council by weighting states by population. Furthermore, they raised questions about the integrity of Prussia itself as it was not supposed to encompass all the territory that the Hohenzollerns held. By 1904 Berlin had been convinced that the Alsatian constitution must be reformed, and that the status of the Reichsland must be changed. Alsatian politicians took this as an opportunity to see reforms of the greater German constitution. However, Berlin had other desires: the voice of Alsatians had become to problematic, and calls for reform had infected other areas of the Reich (especially Catholic minorities). Wanting to limit the influence of Alsatian political culture in German politics, the Reich pushed for autonomy for the Reichsland.

An Unloved Anatomy, Part I

An Unloved Anatomy, Part II

rhineriver.blogspot.com]- (recovered from ARCHIVE - almost lost to link rot :(

Part 2

The 1911 constitution was a disappointment. It provided autonomy for the province (except in military matters and foreign affairs, to which it deferred to the Hohenzollerns). Even though autonomy might have been an improvement for a people who were subjects of the empire, it did not satisfy their desire to influence the affairs of the empire. Alsace-Lorraine had limited representation in the Reichstag. It had not control over its votes in the federal council (in fact, their three votes would not be counted if they were needed to produce a majority—they could only be used to approve of non-controversial measures). The Reichsland failed to achieve parity with the other German states. Their drive for federalism was frustrated. Worse than that, the 1911 constitution failed to make progress toward the republic. During talks over the reforms, some Alsatian representatives raised the question of whether the relationship with the imperial crown should be retained: should Berlin continue to appoint the head of government? It was argued that keeping close to the Hohenzollerns (while remaining independent of Prussia) might provide financial advantages. The public disapproved. However, reforms stalled. A group of Alsatian politicians negotiated with Berlin in secret, compromising in a number of areas. The Statthalter was retained. Furthermore, a bicameral legislature was created, to which half of the legislators of the lower house (the senate in this case) were appointed by Berlin. The revelation of the compromise cause a scandal that humiliated the politicians (of course, they were appointed to the lower house), but it gave the Reich the votes it needed to push through the new constitution. For the next seven years Alsatian politicians pushed for new reforms. Even though Alsatians had more freedom from the empire, autonomy was despised. During World War One, the prerogatives of Reichsland were limited by war powers acts—Germans stopped trusting Alsatians. The constitution reform was seen as an area in which Alsatians could get some leeway. Ricklin, the president of the upper house, and other legislators promised that they would pledge complete loyalty to the Reich and reject any French claims to Alsace and Lorraine if federal reforms were put in place and peace negotiations began. Berlin did not listen until it was too late: in Summer 1918, the same politicians turned their backs on reforms proposed by Statthalter Schwander, saying that the fate of Alsace and Lorraine would be decided by the allies. Coming out of the war Alsace had an established political culture. Republic and federation were the continuing drive. And despite the constitution issue, Alsatians had made progress by knitting together what rights they did win from the Reich: an assembly that had legislative powers independent from appointed prefects; budget authority; provincial ministries; the ability to adjust taxes for the needs of either enterprise or welfare. If the influence of French republicanism had made its way into Alsatian politics, some of the worst aspects had not: secularization and centralization. Indeed, there was a strong tendency to de-concentrate (not just decentralize) authority down to the lowest levels of government. Alsatian political culture was put under strain as the territories were de-annexed to France. Foche had promised that Alsace-Lorraine would not be re-conquered. Alsatians had made progress of their own realizing the republic, and Foche realized that they had something to contribute to France. He called for fusion, a concept that intrigued Alsatians. However, French republican culture could not tolerate federalism. France was one and indivisible. They insisted that reforms to the French system could not occur until Alsace-Lorraine had fully accepted the French constitution and law. Relations were at an impasse. Instead of reforms or reintegration, France took over the administration set up by Germany. The Berlin-appointed Statthalter was replaced by a Paris-appointed Commissaire-general. The legislature was reduced to an advisor body. The German system prevailed. posted by Nathanael @ 5:30 PM 0 comments links to this post | Trackback Wednesday, September 15, 2004