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July 9, 1870


Alsace History: Prussia, the former German Empire, declared war against France’s Napoleon III on July 9, 1870. During the French occupation by Prussians, the northeastern French region of Alsace, Strasbourg, Wissembourg, and Frschwiller were all seized. The entire French armed forces were decimated within no time. During the war, Metz’s Maréchal Bazaine was surrounded by a protective circle. Unaware of their error, McMahon and Bazaine found themselves trapped in Sedan for the remainder of their journey. On September 2, 1870, the Second Empire came to an end when it was defeated in the Battle of Sedan. Several forts were captured by Germans, such as NeufBrisach, Thionville, Belfort, Bitche, and Phalsbourg.

Even though the French Republic had just been established on January 28, 1871, the German Empire was proclaimed on February 26, 1871, at Versailles, by Napoleon III. Based on a new contract, Frankfurt, Germany was awarded Alsace, except Belfort (Schirmeck–Saale), on May 10, 1871. The Moselle minus Briey but Sarrebourg and Château-Salins were also included in the contract agreements. Under France’s constitution, the National Assembly in Bordeaux had to approve the annexation of Alsace and Moselle. In June 1871, the French departments of Bas-Rhine, Haut-Rhine, and Moselle became the Reichland Elsab Lothringen. Later on, 160,000 French citizens remained in France during World War II, while another 50,000 fled to Germany to fight with their fellow compatriots. After the required emigration period, which had been in place since 1872, ended, a considerable number of young Germans sought methods to evade military service. Alsace-Moselle benefited from the German government and military support during the French Revolution. Bismarckian hegemony and Wilhelm II’s Empire significantly impacted Alsace and the Moselle. The Moselle contains the towns of Gravelotte, Mars la Tour, and Saint-Privat (all in Gravelotte).

Alsace History, Alsace History

[1] On September 1, 1939, Germany attacked Poland at the start of World War II. Immediately, France mobilized its soldiers, and a thorough evaluation of the Alsace-Moselle border region over a radius of 10 kilometers was ordered by the French government. Consequently, more than 600,000 Alsatians and Mosellans were compelled to evacuate, taking with them the absolute minimum for subsistence –  leaving behind their homes and goods. They were meant to host departments like the Charente, the Vienne, and the Dordogne. They were finally tracked down in July 1940 after a long and challenging journey. Later on, when it came to Alsace and the Moselle, the Armistice Agreement did not mention either region. It was quickly re-established in July 1940, when German forces captured the Haut-Rhin, Basse Rhin, and Moselle regions. Baden-Baden and the Moselle are located in the Alsatian region of the Gau de Saar-Palatinate. The power of the Gauleiters Wagner (Alsace) and Bürckel (Bavaria) knew no bounds (Moselle). Those who had been evacuated could return with relative ease after only a brief period. However, sadly, not everyone could return safely to their respective homes. Furthermore, many individuals were turned away at the border because their status as non-citizens of France was deemed inadmissible. According to official statistics, more than 100,000 people from Alsace and the Moselle regions had to flee their homes by 1940. Some joined the maquis (or the resistance), while others stayed in the southwest and remained apolitical. During this period, a large number of local Prisoners of War (POWs) were also liberated.

Under the term “de-Francization,” a ban on speaking French, currency, and stamps was imposed. It was declared that place names, surnames, and business titles would all be changed to the German language. It was approved to consolidate the dioceses of Strasbourg & Metz, disband organizations, and remove all French-language books from public libraries. There could be no ties to France whatsoever. Moreover, Jewish people, North Africans, and Asians were among those forced out, as were French nationals and other people who identified as Francophiles or Francophones during this Germanization process.

More than 35,000 Alsatian and 100,000 Moselle residents had been displaced. The Gauleiter of Nazi Germany had loftier aspirations than merely administrative and economic union with the provinces. On the other hand, they were in favor of Germany gaining control of the Moselle and Alsace. Consequently, the Nazi party’s power structure dominated the political and social scene. In the newly conquered regions of the country, a repressive police force was also installed. The Nazis ensnared the entire populace of the region. Mass organizations sorted people based on their sex, gender, and line of work. Moreover, cultural and religious institutions were also under Nazi control. The population was subjected to a wide range of restrictions. Scrap metal and textiles are collected and rationed for winter relief and on the war front lines during the cold season. Furthermore, numerous rules and regulations had been imposed on the population. Nazi reform camps in Schirmeck and Natzwiller were established on August 2, 1940 – as part of the establishment of the oppressive regime. All kinds of people were imprisoned in three different departments. Germany’s law and criminal process remained in place in various prisons like Halle and Torgau, where some criminals were executed by guillotine.

The Fort of Queuleu in Moselle was inaugurated in October 1943. It is estimated that roughly 1600 to 1800 people were tortured for weeks or months before being transferred to Struthof & Schirmeck concentration camps (for women). Those who opposed the Nazis politically in the Alsatians-Moselle council were expelled. All of the Nazi concentration camps had similar stories. Deportees from the Alsatian Moselle from Struthof, Ravensbrück, and Buchenwald (including those previously deported to Clermont-Ferrand) and those from the Fort of Queuleu were among the 42 Alsatian officers deported to Neuengamme for refusing to swear an oath to Adolf Hitler and 22 of whom had later perished. Apart from people’s expulsion from the Alsace & Moselle regions, lesbians and homosexuals had to leave too. People who identified as homosexual had to comply with German law when Germany took control of this region. Most of the Jews in Alsace-Moselle were driven from their homeland by France. These individuals included both native Alsatian Jews and Jews from Germany and Austria who had sought shelter in Alsace-Moselle since 1933. Later on, all Jews were expelled from France’s eastern regions of Alsace and the Moselle since 1940. Those Jews who had been evacuated in 1940 were either not allowed to return or violently expelled the following year. Along with the rest of France’s Jewish community, they were wiped out by inflicting humanitarian crimes against them, which included rape, transit camps, and deportation. An estimated 1,500 Jews were killed in the extermination camps in the Moselle & Alsace region during World War II. After the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD, the labor service of the Reich – for young girls & boys) was put in place in April 1941, military recruitment became mandatory. However, to encourage youngsters from Alsace & Lorraine regions to join the Nazi Wehrmacht and SS, most of the large-scale Nazi propaganda programs were futile. Nonetheless, conscriptions of young men from the Moselle & Alsace took place between August 19th and 25th, 1942. Shockingly, conscripts had refused to attend any review boards or sing the “Marseille” when they showed there – resulting in an outcry from officials. Due to the persecution of conscription evaders and their families, many youngsters ended themselves in the Third Reich, approximately 10,000 from Moselle and 3,500 from Alsace.

Alsace History

Michelin Brothers & Restaurant Rating System

As a marketing ploy, Michelin started distributing free French maps that included information, such as hotels, gas stations, and restaurants to consumers in 1900 – to improve its tire sales by promoting travel. However, as the tire company’s popularity grew, so did the guides’ prosperity. It was not until 1920 that Michelin began charging for its recommendations, which eventually spread throughout Europe. Chefs who had been awarded a Michelin Star were considered the best in the business. For instance, an eatery earning two stars was regarded as fantastic, and a restaurant earning three stars was well worth the trip.

The Michelin brothers—Andre and Edouard—developed the Michelin Guide in 1900, as they wanted to help people plan their travels. The French business people, who had launched a tire

Alsace History

company 11 years previously, devised a rating system for hotels and restaurants to encourage a limited number of vehicles to wear up their tires and buy them more. As their tire company grew, its guiding principle also flourished. Due to the overwhelming success of brothers in distributing country-specific editions throughout Europe, they were forced to begin charging for the booklets in 1920. After establishing itself in the fine dining market, it was decided to broaden the scope of the new direction in 1926. Subsequently, it took another five years to create the three-star system.

A big part of the Michelin Guide’s reputation was built upon the opinions of its inspectors, who would travel to 24 countries on four different continents and make their inspection debut in Brazil within a year. In 1926, the corporation issued its first fine-dining guide, and in 1931 it introduced its three-star rating system. As a result, the Michelin stars were regarded as one of the most coveted accolades for any restaurant. In the United States, there were just four rated restaurants: Chicago, New York; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C. Moreover, restaurants were concentrated throughout the European and Asian continents.

Categories: Wine History In-Depth, Wine RegionsTags: , By Published On: March 26, 2022

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