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Thread: Independent Alsace-Lorraine?

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    Warmonger Extraordinaire Kordo's Avatar
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    Independent Alsace-Lorraine?

    A what-if question for you all, one that requires a little suspension of your skepticism. Say for whatever reason, by (points to a random year) 1919 WWI has continued but without American involvement. German forces still control Belgium and a good chunk of northern France. American mediators are asked to mediate a peace settlement since after this time both France and Germany have to deal with significant civil unrest. And just because someone might ask, the Eastern front went as in RL. Now to the real question I have for you all.

    What if the Americans suggested creating an independent nation in Alsace-Lorraine to ease the tensions between France and Germany over that region. Obviously this would not be a welcome suggestion to either France or Germany but civil unrest might force them to this compromise and since Germany controls a part of northern France, the French (with a weaker bargaining position) might rather see an independent A-L rather than one administered solely by German. If this would happen, who would be likely to lead such a nation? Is there a particular Royal Family that could lay claims to such a nation? I'm guess if so, France would try to see it was one with little connections to the Germany Royalty so the Germans couldn't lay claim to it that way in the future.

    There was actually a briefly independent nation of Alsace-Lorraine but it was communist so I'm guessing its leaders are out.
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    Ordnung muß sein Supermoderator Veldmaarschalk's Avatar
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    It would have been unlikely of course that the Americans would have allowed a kingdom to be created of Alsace-Lorraine, it would most likely have been a republic.

    But the legitimate heirs to a possible 'kingdom' would be Louis-Philippe Robert, duke d'Orleans and heir to the Bourbon titles


    Though the Habsburg might also have claimed it through house of Vaudemont

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    Did Alsace/Lorraine have a strong enough national identity at that time, and one that wouldn't conflict with greater German or French identities? Would it be as easy as was creating Belgium in the 1830s?

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    I think the Habsburgs have a claim on this region (on half of Europe), and the official name of the remaning Habsburgs contain 'Habsburgs-Lorraines' or something.

    But if a such thing as you described would have happened, the region would have certainly became a republic or an international territory.
    What if WWI had never happened?
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    Father of the Nation Woody Man's Avatar
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    Creating Buffer states (Think Siam) was fairly common in the Colonies, and used a bit in the Napoleonic period and earlier. Not that I'm sure on the national identity of Elsass-Lothringen but the locals probably would've gone for it, and it would have seemed a good idea to the top brass creating another country to stop Germany crashing into France. But then again, that never stopped them.
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    Warmonger Extraordinaire Kordo's Avatar
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    Like I said in the first post, there was a briefly independent nation named the Republic of Alsace-Lorraine, but it only lasted a few days, so its hard to tell whether or not it there was that strong of a national identity.

    Are there any real, major politicians either in France or Germany during that time from that region that could have lead a democratic A-L?
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    With the Eastern Front goining as in RL. Then the problems of Germany would have been smaller don't you think?
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    Renegade of funk Seten's Avatar
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    First i don't think germany would have won even without the usa but thats npot the point of the discussion.

    Then alsace itself never got a true indepandant moovement.
    Its true that alsace culture is close to german one but there's no indepandant spirit neither there is revendication in it.
    Artist were in favor of france , student same , uper class mostly neutral , rural area mostly in favor of france too.
    At the first referendum alsace would have ask to be part of france again , moto at this period were german by tongue , french by heart.
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    Colonel Divi's Avatar
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    That's the national myth, mind you; without a certain correspondence between Kaiser Wilhelm I and Empress Eugenia (acknowledged, IIRC, by Clemenceau), following Wilson's five points and the nationalities' principle, France wouldn't have had a moral leg to stand on.

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    Eh, I doubt an independent Alsace-Lorraine would have emerged unless the social unrest in France and Germany was absolutely unbearable. If that were the case, I don't think Alsace-Lorraine would be the only region to become independent or quasi-independent.

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    Warmonger Extraordinaire Kordo's Avatar
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    I realize that A-L becoming independent is not very realistic, my question is who are some likely leaders for this nation? Are their any famous politicians in France or Germany at this time from the region that could head it? Perhaps outside royalty could be put in place that would satisfy both France and Germany (though obviously against the USA's wishes)?
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    First Lieutenant HobbesDJ's Avatar
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    How would Germany still be around in 1919?

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    Ordnung muß sein Supermoderator Veldmaarschalk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesDJ
    How would Germany still be around in 1919?



    It is in the first post


    Say for whatever reason, by (points to a random year) 1919 WWI has continued but without American involvement. German forces still control Belgium and a good chunk of northern France.

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    There is Luxemburg that is effectively a border state between German and France. Now it is French dominated, but it was a part of the German customs union at one point.
    If Luxemburg is the model then Veldmaarschalk's suggestion could work.
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Kordo
    What if the Americans suggested creating an independent nation in Alsace-Lorraine to ease the tensions between France and Germany over that region. Obviously this would not be a welcome suggestion to either France or Germany but civil unrest might force them to this compromise and since Germany controls a part of northern France, the French (with a weaker bargaining position) might rather see an independent A-L rather than one administered solely by German. If this would happen, who would be likely to lead such a nation? Is there a particular Royal Family that could lay claims to such a nation? I'm guess if so, France would try to see it was one with little connections to the Germany Royalty so the Germans couldn't lay claim to it that way in the future.
    Even if Germany managed to survive into 1919, why would France abandon its primary goal of the war rather than continuing the war until Germany collapsed? Germany would have barely been able to survive the winter of 1918-1919, Austria-Hungary would undoubtedly have collapsed during the winter, and, even without the ability to carry out major offensives, France would have been able to fill the void caused by the disintegration of Germany's armies during this year.

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    Father of the Nation Woody Man's Avatar
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    Also another point, claims at this point were no longer made by Royal families, rather the idealism of nationhood and race. Elsass Lothringen was taken by the Prussians in 1871, because there were Germans there, and it was quite rich in Steel IIRC, you can see this done to a rather extreme effect by the National socialists in WWII who were bent on building a Greater Germany encompassing Germans all over Europe and redrawing Europe in much the same way.

    A bit off topic, but thought I should point it out
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    Colonel Divi's Avatar
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    For those interested, the excerpt of the letter which definitely cost Germany all hopes of keeping Alsace in 1919; I wonder if the german emperor was aware of the kind of attack he was preparing for his empire by declining a chance to outline Elsaß' german nationhood in a time when proving a link of nationality, however flimsy (see the conflicting balkans census for Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania and Greece) was about as important as fortune of arms:

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    General Basileios I's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seten
    At the first referendum alsace would have ask to be part of france again , moto at this period were german by tongue , french by heart.
    That was maybe the case before 1910, when Alsace-Lorraine was a Reichsland under direct control of the Imperial government. In 1910* though Alsace-Lorraine was promoted to a status similar to other German states and thus enjoyed some autonomy, much more than under French or Imperial rule before.

    In 1919 it is doubtful whether they would've decided to return to France in a referendum. The most likely outcome would've been independence (which they briefly enjoyed). After 1919 repressions against native culture and language started in the area which further increased the dislike of the French central government.


    *not exactly sure about the date, but I recall reading 1910.
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    (Quick note: even without American involvement, the allies would probably have won WWI. One reason the Germans launched their desperate spring offensive in 1918 was that the French had started to produce a sh*tload of tanks for a big offensive in 1919. Just nitpicking, sorry.)

    Back to topic, an independent Alsac-Lorraine would of course have been greedily eyed by both neighbours, I doubt it wouldn'T have stayed independent for long. In your scenario, Germany isn't ouztright defeated, no Versailles, so once internal turmoils are (ruthlessly) surpressed, the Germans would most certainly start all over again, having recovered from the by 1918 devastating naval blockade. It's like suspending WWI, but giving Germany the benefits of a free riegn in eastern Europe and taking away the allied advantage of the long-term blockade.
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Acheron
    In your scenario, Germany isn't ouztright defeated, no Versailles, so once internal turmoils are (ruthlessly) surpressed, the Germans would most certainly start all over again, having recovered from the by 1918 devastating naval blockade. It's like suspending WWI, but giving Germany the benefits of a free riegn in eastern Europe and taking away the allied advantage of the long-term blockade.
    And this situation, incidentally, would be very similar to what Ludendorff sought in the last month of the war. He wanted an armistice that would enable Germany and its allies to regroup over the winter and that would leave Germany its conquests in the east (and some in the west). Ludendorff thought this would have enabled Germany, once it had somewhat recovered, to resume the war and push for a final victory in France.
    Last edited by Dark Knight; 23-05-2007 at 08:49.

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