More Info About Alsace-Lorraine in WW1 I OUT OF THE ETHER (2023)


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Videos: British Pathé
Pictures: Mostly Picture Alliance
Literature (excerpt):
Gilbert, Martin. The First World War. A Complete History, Holt Paperbacks, 2004.
Hart, Peter. The Great War. A Combat History of the First World War, Oxford University Press, 2013.
Hart, Peter. The Great War. 1914-1918, Profile Books, 2013.
Stone, Norman. World War One. A Short History, Penguin, 2008.
Keegan, John. The First World War, Vintage, 2000.
Hastings, Max. Catastrophe 1914. Europe Goes To War, Knopf, 2013.
Hirschfeld, Gerhard. Encyclopedia First World War, Schöningh Paderborn, 2004
Michalka, Wolfgang. The First World War. Effect, Perception, Analysis, Seehamer Verlag GmbH, 2000
Leonhard, Jorn. Pandora's Box: History of the First World War, C.H. Beck, 2014

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THE GREAT WAR covers the events exactly 100 years ago: The story of World War I in realtime. Featuring: The unique archive material of British Pathé. Indy Neidell takes you on a journey into the past to show you what really happened and how it all could spiral into more than four years of dire war. Subscribe to our channel and don’t miss our new episodes every Thursday.

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I'm indy neidell- and this is another episode of out of the ether now out of the ether- is the format where I share some of the vast world war.

1 knowledge that experts all over the world in various aspects of the war have shared with me and the crew.

Now speaking of the crew, I'm not gonna, be doing the sharing today, because sitting with me is Marcus.

Lincoln Marcus is the other actual historian on our little crew and he fact checks my scripts and he also does research and writing for some of the specials and his master thesis was about the battle for Hartman's viola, cop, so Marcus, first of all, say hello to everyone out there, hello, there, old, friends and okay.

So why don't you tell us a little bit about the whole thesis and Hartman's viola viola cough? What made you interested in in the battle in the first place sure my pleasure I'm fascinated with the battle for admins Filatov.

For a long time now, it's I grew up in Freiburg.

My hometown is like an hour drive away from an actual battlefield, which is pretty quite a unique situation for a German city to be- and you know it's, the Battle of the bosk was probably on the doorsteps of the German Empire at the time now it's actually a German of Iceland and the headquarter of Hans Gator, general Hans kada was actually in Freiburg and yeah.

It's quite interesting because people, especially in Germany, think of the Great War, as in Belgium and in France and to the north, but it's kind of unique for that place to be that close to Germany actually and it's kind of a my interest sparked and yes, so, it's kind of, if you read in the local history, especially you hear about the local people just going to the the mountaintops and see on the horizon, the explosions oh and the clatter of the battle.

You have French reconnaissance planes flying over the city and local soldiers marching out of the barracks to the Bosque's mountains, and that itself is quite a unique situation.

What we got interested in the battle itself is like the impact it has on German French relations and especially with elseis Lorraine.

That's for the Great War.

This is the big topic both for France and Germany, the recapture or the defiance in Alsace Lorraine.

So your thesis was not only about the fighting in the bus, which, of course, we talked about in regular episodes and that all the stuff in Alsace glory, but also about how memory, how historical memory evolves right exactly and we have to see in the anniversary about a hundred years ago the memory changes of the Great War.

You must remember rightly after the Armistice tourists, came to those places.

That's horrendous straight after just two weeks, not even close.

You had like the plans for Mishler.

They brought out those travelling guides.

People could go and see the benefits.

It brought the first edition in 1917 for tourists who see the old places and go to it in the middle of the fighting exactly exactly, and they re printing that now two year anniversary, that's kind of interesting how people just went up there and wanted to see the actual battlefield, but at the same time politicians came and wanted to build a memory to it memorial places.

You know for once, of course, to commemorate extreme loss of life there, but thirty thousand people died.

There is a tiny, it's a tiny area.

It's a few mountaintops, but the blood loss was immensely overdone Verdun.

Some people called it a little bit down because it is actually it was.

My my thesis was around the invisible fortress because the whole mountain was turned into a fortress kind of, and soldiers lay around like ten meters away from each other in the first places, it's really that close to each other and yeah and they in the 1920s they kind of had three places and they wanted to build memorials.

What's on the old French site, where they had the artillery the French, they build a huge Cemetery.

The interesting thing is not only for the French, but since it was an artillery war, most of the time they had just the Unknown Soldier, they didn't know, we have the scatter skeletons, we don't know from which side, so we all bury them and then, in a big big, what to say a crypt I write, write a Tripta and the other one too big crosses on the mountaintop itself, which was no-man's land that was like it was blasted away and people thought the magazine like it stimulants get.

Absolutely you can see you today.

You can see all the shell craters and every words it's it's immense and this third one which was actually the most impressive one, is- and we talked about it in the episode about 150 - the Red Devil yeah, who actually captured the place in the Christmas battle, but got annihilated wife to the man yeah, my famous last, and it's actually the story, it's a lot of famous, lasts and and at that area, because it's so close to each other one.

They build actually a huge bronze relief of those soldiers.

You know with the guests like here the going up to the mountaintop yeah.

The most interesting thing is that it's built on the side of the German side and it's looking towards the Rhine.

Okay, it's like you, know, I, guess you're, not only we we did.

You know Germany.

We got you one yeah, yeah, okay, but at the same time, so like it like a fret, you know we're still here with we deepest yeah watch out.

Germany, don't do it again, but yeah, it's actually impressive.

You can see all the old dugouts, the bunkers, the trenches.

You can still go in most of them because you know German engineering, it's built to last, but it's actually quite impressive for a good point.

Okay, but the story doesn't really end here.

No as history progresses, ironically, the Germans come back so boilers, the Empire, Strikes, Back, more or less and Hitler actually blow up the memorial and say he did blow up the bronze relief and certain make sense, no threat to me.

Oh yeah.

No, but it was actually the interesting part is that they got up there with a propaganda machine.

Everything and turned him whole new memorial around and a cross around yeah physically turned it around and mornings, meaning more like not literally, but today said no, it was not like not a memorial of conquest, but over the finalists and see the thing is, unlike even deepest where the Germans had to more or less get out.

Okay, the washer in the boss.

They didn't know that was like in 1980 war, they got the orders get out, they orderly march down, yeah and I was shooting out, and so the propaganda machine of the Nazis said here see we were undefeated in the field.

That was our stand.

We stood here, we defied defied the French and now we're back and now we're back and now it's ours again, and that was actually a huge thing began for the for the whole region is this: we can't forget that the whole alsace-lorraine richness very different, and it's not actually France or German, but very autonomous in a carrot range hands to something it's very important for the history itself, yes yeah and nowadays, nowadays, a hundred years later, it was not really surprised to the French that back in 2014, the French president Hollande and the German president Guk actually met there to come and commemorate the outbreak of the first world war.

Even though the first fighting really was like December 1914 early 1915, the whole mountain or the mountain ranges, there kind of stand for the whole war in its you know, in the bloody back and forth in the people forget what they're actually fighting for and so and so on.

It's kind of like for the futility of it all it kind of stands out and yeah, it's pretty much label the new museum in 2000, 2017 and I can only encourage everyone.

If you're in the region go up there, it's a bit, you know you have to climb up a mountain more or less, but you know soldiers could do it.

I guess do we.

So it's it's like a thousand meter high at the highest, but it's still it's still impressive.

So if, if you like to walk on actually what about one battlefield, that's very good preserved I can only recommend it yeah.

Well Marcus.

Thank you very much, and you know he's always here when I'm here so I see him a lot.

We have beer sometimes and if you'd like know this, if you'd like to see the episode, the special episode about the battle for Alsace Lorraine, which is based on his research, you can click right here for that and if you have not subscribed, you really owe it to yourself and to poor Marcus to subscribe as soon as possible.

We'll see you next time put your hand up there.

You go.


What was the significance of Alsace-Lorraine in ww1? ›

The loss of Alsace-Lorraine was a major cause of anti-German feeling in France in the period from 1871 to 1914. France also suffered economically from the loss of Alsace-Lorraine's valuable iron ore deposits, iron- and steelmaking plants, and other industries to Germany.

Who was Alsace-Lorraine in ww1? ›

By 1914, Alsace-Lorraine had been part of the German Empire for 50 years. Most locals were resigned to the fact, but German authorities was still wary of the Alsatians. In France, Alsace-Lorraine was viewed as an idealised country, populated by an oppressed people who wanted to be French.

What happened to Alsace-Lorraine after ww1? ›

In the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, the victorious powers (the United States, Great Britain, France, and other allied states) imposed punitive territorial, military, and economic provisions on defeated Germany. In the west, Germany returned Alsace-Lorraine to France.

What was Alsace in ww1? ›

The Battle of Mulhouse (German: Mülhausen), also called the Battle of Alsace (French: Bataille d'Alsace), which began on 7 August 1914, was the opening attack of the First World War by the French Army against Germany.

What is special about Alsace-Lorraine? ›

Alsace is one of the most beautiful regions in France. It is known for its Christmas markets, its castles, its wine road and its proximity to Germany. It is also known for its high-quality gastronomy, especially its sauerkraut, its Flammekueche, and its white wines.

What happened to the Germans in Alsace-Lorraine? ›

The area was ceded by France to Germany in 1871 after the Franco-Prussian War. It was returned to France after World War I, occupied by the Germans in World War II, then again restored to France. French prewar governmental policies that had clashed with the region's particularism have since been modified.

Who won the battle of Alsace-Lorraine? ›

German victory

How much of Alsace-Lorraine was German? ›

But France lost the Franco-Prussian war in 1871 and Prussia took Alsace and the one third of Lorraine which was German-speaking, the Moselle area.

Is Alsace-Lorraine German or French? ›

Alsace is not Germany, but not quite France either

Even though Alsace is part of France, it is sometimes perceived as a cultural exception, in part due to its long periods spent under German influence. In 1871, Alsace was annexed to the new German Empire following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War.

Why did Germany give Alsace-Lorraine back to France? ›

Under the Treaty of Versailles Alsace-Moselle was given back to France, in an effort to limit German influence, and to please the French, who were on the Allies side. Again during the second World War Germany had control of Alsace-Moselle.

How did France lose Alsace-Lorraine to Germany? ›

The Franco-Prussian War, which started in July 1870, saw France defeated in May 1871 by the Kingdom of Prussia and other German states. The end of the war led to the unification of Germany. Otto von Bismarck annexed Alsace and northern Lorraine to the new German Empire in 1871.

What is the history of the Lorraine? ›

Its name stems from the medieval kingdom of Lotharingia, which in turn was named after either Emperor Lothair I or King Lothair II. Lorraine later was ruled as the Duchy of Lorraine before the Kingdom of France annexed it in 1766. From 1982 until January 2016, Lorraine was an administrative region of France.

What language do they speak in Alsace-Lorraine? ›

Contemporary Languages In Alsace-Lorraine

Today, Alsace is shaped by bilingualism, with French is the official language of government, commerce and school instruction. The German dialects and Standard German are still spoken, albeit in sharp decline and mostly used by older generations and people in rural areas.

What food is Alsace known for? ›

Traditional dishes include baeckeoffe, flammekueche, choucroute, cordon bleu, Vol-au-vent, spaetzle, fleischnacka and bretzel. The region's version of coq au vin is coq au Riesling. Southern Alsace, also called the Sundgau, is characterized by carpe frite (that also exists in Yiddish tradition).

Who did Germany take Alsace-Lorraine from? ›

At the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, the newly-formed German Empire annexed from France nearly all of Alsace and the northeastern portion of Lorraine. French resentment of the German seizure of territories ruled by France since the 16th century was one of the contributing causes of World War I.

How many times has Alsace-Lorraine changed hands? ›

Within the following 75 years, Alsace-Lorraine changed hands four times. The area remained under German rule until the end of WWI, in 1918. At that point, the Treaty of Versailles returned Alsace-Lorraine to French rule, and it remained part of France until the beginning of WWII.

What is the ethnicity of Alsace? ›

Technically part of France, Alsace historically spent long periods under German rule and is sometimes seen as a culturally German. Immigrants from Alsace identified either French or German.

When did France invade Alsace-Lorraine? ›

One of the Battles of the Frontiers, the Invasion of Lorraine (also known as the Battle of Morhange-Sarrebourg) began with the French First and Second Armies entering the city on 14 August 1914, despite the failure of General Paul Pau's 8 August offensive at the Battle of Mulhouse, another key target near the Swiss ...

Why is the Battle of Lorraine important? ›

Eisenhower's Two-Pronged Offensive in Lorraine

It was significant to the Allies because it offered a gateway between the Ardennes and Vosges Mountains, through which Allied forces might reach Germany. The western boundary of Lorraine is formed by the Moselle Valley and the eastern boundary by the Saare River.

What is the meaning of Alsace? ›

/ (ælˈsæs, French alzas) / noun. a region and former province of NE France, between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine: famous for its wines.

Why did the battle of Lorraine happen? ›

There were a variety of good reasons for launching this offensive. First, Alsace-Lorraine had been French territory until 1871, when it was seized by the new German Empire after the Franco-Prussian War. Recapturing Alsace-Lorraine was thus a major French preoccupation.

Who owned Alsace-Lorraine after ww1? ›

Anger in the French Third Republic about the loss of the territory was one of the contributing factors that led to World War I. Alsace–Lorraine was reoccupied by France in 1920 as part of the Treaty of Versailles and Germany's defeat in the war, although it was annexed by France in 1918.

What land did Germany lose after ww1? ›

Germany accepted responsibility for the war and lost 68,000 km² of territory, including Alsace and Lorraine, which had been annexed in 1870, and 8 million inhabitants.

What are people from Alsace-Lorraine called? ›

ETHNONYMS: die Elsassiche (Alsatian), les Alsacien (French), die Elsässer (German), Alsatians (English); place names: Elsass (Alsatian), Alsace (French), Elsass (German), Alsace (English)

Who owns Alsace-Lorraine today? ›

Alsace–Lorraine reverted to French ownership in 1918 as part of the Treaty of Versailles and Germany's defeat in World War I. Since 2016, the historical territory has been part of the French administrative region of Grand Est.

What do you call someone from Alsace? ›

Alsatians (people), a person from the Alsace region of France or a speaker of the Alsatian language. Alsatian dialect, the language or dialect of the Alsace region of northeast France.

Which country was unwilling to hand over Alsace and Lorraine to Germany? ›

Answer. After the defeat of France in the spring of 1940, Alsace and Moselle were not formally annexed by Nazi Germany.

What nationality is the last name Lorraine? ›

French and English: habitational name from Lorraine a region in the northeastern part of France. Its name derives from the name of the medieval kingdom of Lotharingia which in turn was named for its sovereign Lothar (a personal name composed of the elements hlūd 'famous renowned' + hari heri 'army').

What does Lorraine mean in French? ›

Meaning of the name Lorraine

Derived from Old French origin meaning 'from Lorraine' it is predominantly used in English and French. Lorraine derives from the Germanic Lothar meaning 'famous army'.

What is a fun fact about Lorraine? ›

Lorraine Hansberry was the first Black woman to have a play produced on Broadway. She was also the youngest playwright and the first Black winner of the prestigious Drama Critic's Circle Award for Best Play. Fact 2: Lorraine was raised in the South Side of Chicago.

What religion is Alsace? ›

The Concordat recognises four religious traditions in Alsace-Moselle: three branches of Christianity (Catholicism, Lutheranism and Reformed) plus Judaism.

What is Alsace called in German? ›

Etymology. The name Alsace can be traced to the Old High German Ali-saz or Elisaz, meaning "foreign domain". An alternative explanation is from a Germanic Ell-sass, meaning "seated on the Ill", a river in Alsace.

What are 3 dishes typical of the Alsace-Lorraine region? ›

Famous dishes from this region include:
  • Quiche lorraine, a quiche consisting of egg, cream,and smoked bacon/lardons. ...
  • Kouglof, a sweet brioche with raisins often made in a Bundt mold.
  • Baeckeoffe, a casserole dish made of potatoes, vegetables, and meat.
Sep 24, 2019

What is Alsace most popular dish? ›

Choucroûte garnie

The “national dish of Alsace” is a version of German sauerkraut. The fermented cabbage cooked in white wine, beer or cider and seasoned with juniper berries and black peppercorns.

Why is Alsace a special region in the history of France? ›

Even though Alsace is part of France, it is sometimes perceived as a cultural exception, in part due to its long periods spent under German influence. In 1871, Alsace was annexed to the new German Empire following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War.

How did Alsace-Lorraine inspire nationalism? ›

In wartime Alsace-Lorraine, many local inhabitants thus came to challenge the militarized and authoritarian basis of German nationalism. By the end of the war, many Alsatians and Lorrainers transposed this objection to the German national framework into a strategic preference for France.

Why did some Germans want Alsace-Lorraine? ›

The main factors were strategic, political and cultural. It is said that economy played a lesser role, even though the loss of Alsace Lorraine was a severe blow to the French economy. It enabled Germany to defend itself against France, which until that time had long been seen as the main threat to Germany.

What did the people of Alsace and Lorraine not understand the importance? ›

The people of Alsace and Lorraine did not understand the importance of learning their language French. Emphasising the importance and need for leaning one's native language , discuss what values are revealed when one sets upon learning one's native language.

What did the Germans call Alsace? ›

Under the German Empire of 1871–1918, the annexed territory constituted the Reichsland or Imperial Territory of Elsaß–Lothringen (German for Alsace–Lorraine).

Did France get Alsace-Lorraine back after ww1? ›

In the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, Germany was forced to return Alsace-Lorraine to France.

What is the famous specialty of Alsace? ›

The Alsatians have the dish you need: a good flammenkueche, also called tarte flambée. It is a very thin bread dough covered with a thick layer of fresh cream with lardons (French pancetta) and uncooked onion rings. All it needs is a good blackening above a flame so that it is lightly grilled. Bon appétit!

Is Alsace-Lorraine more German or French? ›

In Alsace, the German dialects are generally more widely spoken than in Lorraine, where the French language and its dialects remain dominant.

How many wars were fought over Alsace-Lorraine? ›

In 75 years, the people of Alsace and Lorraine-Moselle lost four wars (1871, 1918, 1940 and 1945) and yet each time found themselves in the victor's camp. This sums up the situation of a region on the margins of France and Germany, which was the focus of ongoing disputes between 1870 and 1945.

What was the trouble with the people of Alsace and Lorraine? ›

They were not allowed to study French. It implies that students of the area were taught only one language. They did not follow the concept of three languages at school.

How many times would a person have changed their nationality if they lived in Alsace between 1870 and the end of World War Two? ›

Between 1870 and 1945, Alsatians experienced four times a change in nationality, without ever being asked what they themselves wanted.


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