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Title: Alsace-Lorraine - A Study of the Relations of the Two Provinces to France - and to Germany and a Presentation of the Just Claims of - their People
Author: Blumenthal, Daniel
Language: English
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  Alsace-Lorraine


  A Study of the Relations of the
  Two Provinces to France and to
  Germany and a Presentation of
  the Just Claims of their People


  By
  Daniel Blumenthal

  Formerly Deputy from Strasbourg in the Reichstag;
  Senator from Alsace-Lorraine; and Mayor
  of the City of Colmar


  With an Introduction by
  Douglas Wilson Johnson

  Associate Professor of Physiography in
  Columbia University



  G. P. Putnam's Sons
  New York and London
  The Knickerbocker Press
  1917


  COPYRIGHT, 1917
  BY
  DANIEL BLUMENTHAL


  The Knickerbocker Press, New York



INTRODUCTION


The problem of Alsace-Lorraine is in a very real sense an American
problem. We entered this war to help crush the Teutonic scheme of
world domination and to free the democratic nations of the earth from
the menace of militaristic autocracy. Any issue which involves these
fundamental causes of American intervention in the great struggle must
command the careful attention of every thoughtful American citizen.

Alsace and Lorraine provide just such an issue. In 1871 these
provinces were forcibly torn from France and annexed to a militaristic
autocracy, despite the bitter protests of the mother country and the
impassioned appeals of her unfortunate children. This crime was but
one of many incident to the scheme of building up a world empire
controlled by a Prussianized Germany; but in a peculiar degree it
outraged the democratic sympathies of the world and enhanced the
prestige of autocratic militarism in the opinion of the German people.
As the most recent and most striking fruit of the Prussian policy of
conquest, Alsace-Lorraine is today the visible pledge of the professed
efficiency of autocracy and the supposed decadence of democracy.

The vindication of democracy demands the "disannexation" of
Alsace-Lorraine and its return to democratic France. The security of
the world demands that the Prussian policy of military conquest be
discredited and destroyed by depriving the German people of the unholy
profits of that policy. Justice to the mother country and to her lost
children demands that their combined protests be heard and that the
crime of '71 be rectified. Americans are fighting for the vindication
of democracy, for the security of the world, and for the triumph of
justice. When they fully understand that a peace which should leave
Alsace-Lorraine under German control would be a denial of democracy, a
peril to civilization, and a travesty on justice, our chivalrous
people will refuse to lay down the sword until the lost children of
our gallant Ally are restored to their rightful sovereignty.

No one is more eminently qualified to bring to the American people the
facts in the case of Alsace-Lorraine than is the Honourable Daniel
Blumenthal. Himself an Alsatian by birth, he can speak from the heart
on behalf of his brothers and sisters. Honoured by his fellow citizens
with election to the high office of mayor of the important Alsatian
city of Colmar for a period of nine years, he speaks with the
authority of one who has the full confidence of those Alsatians who
know him best. A member of the German Reichstag and of the
Alsace-Lorraine Senate for many years, he speaks with peculiar
knowledge of the Imperial Government's treatment of the conquered
lands. Condemned to death eight times and carrying sentences
aggregating more than five hundred years of penal servitude, all
imposed upon him by the Imperial German Government because he escaped
from the Empire to tell the world the truth about Alsace-Lorraine, he
comes to us with the highest recommendations which the Prussian
autocracy has power to give. Americans will read with unusual interest
his testimony regarding the lost provinces of France.

                                               DOUGLAS WILSON JOHNSON.

  NEW YORK CITY,
  November 1, 1917.



ALSACE-LORRAINE


[Illustration: Map of Alsace and Lorraine.

The darker shading shows portion of territory ceded to Germany in
1871.]



THE PROBLEM OF ALSACE-LORRAINE


The problem of Alsace-Lorraine began with the Treaty of Frankfort made
between the German Empire and the French Republic, May 10, 1871.
Beaten by the German armies, France, at the mouth of the cannon, was
forced, notwithstanding the solemn protests of the inhabitants, to
give up part of her territory.

The Alsace-Lorraine problem has a three-fold character. It concerns
Germany, France, and the World.

France not having stipulated in the Treaty of Frankfort any clause as
to the treatment of the people of Alsace-Lorraine now become German,
the German Empire alone had the formal right to decide their fate, and
it is _vis-à-vis_ to Germany that Alsace-Lorraine must make its
claims.

The question of the rule of Alsace-Lorraine became a problem of the
internal policy of the Empire, and therefore a purely German affair.

The French Government has always scrupulously respected the Treaty of
Frankfort, but the French people have never given up the hope of
redressing the gross wrong of 1871, and all the French policy has been
based on the necessity of protection against renewed German
aggression. In vain did Germany declare that no Alsace-Lorraine
question existed; not only does this question exist, but it has become
the principal obstacle in the way of political reconciliation between
France and Germany. Whether one wishes it or not, it is _the_
Franco-German question _par excellence_. At the same time it has an
_international_ character of the highest importance. The form of
alliances, the bidding for armaments, the terms of armed peace, these
were the natural consequences of this state of things. France never
would have undertaken, and Alsace-Lorraine never would have demanded,
a war of revenge to secure the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France.
But since the horrors of war have been let loose upon the world by the
criminal folly of Germany, the problem of Alsace-Lorraine has become a
_world problem_ of the highest importance.

From the beginning of the war, the president of the French Republic,
the president of the Senate, the president of the Chamber of Deputies,
the president of the Council, and all the heads of government who have
succeeded one another, and recently Parliament itself, the Senate, and
Chamber of Deputies, all have in accord with the whole French nation,
manifested the unshaken determination not to end the war without the
assurance of the return of Alsace-Lorraine to the mother country.

Alsace-Lorraine has constituted a striking example of the denial of
the principle of the right of the people to govern themselves, but now
the question has become actually of great practical importance. Being
the principal object of France in the future peace treaty, it is quite
natural that all the nations, and above all the belligerent ones,
should be obliged to give to it very particular attention. Even for
the United States, who will have a most important rôle to play in the
Congress of Peace, the question of Alsace-Lorraine is one which they
cannot treat as being of interest only to France and Germany. In its
nature and from the fact that it is the corner-stone of the first
claim to be made by France, it concerns right and justice.

It is consequently opportune that even those who up to the present
time have had no special reason for interest in Alsace-Lorraine should
come to know certain facts about this little country in order to be
able to form for themselves a just and trustworthy opinion of the
disputed question.


TERRITORY

Alsace-Lorraine is bounded on the north by Bavaria, Prussia,
Luxembourg, and France; on the south by Switzerland and France, on the
east by the Grand Duchy of Baden, and on the west by France. It is
entirely made up of territory surrendered by France to Germany by the
Treaty of Frankfort. This included the following parts of France: the
Department of the Lower Rhine, the Department of the Upper Rhine with
the exception of Belfort, three quarters of the Department of Moselle,
a third of the Department of Meurthe, and two cantons of the Vosges.
The area is about 14,500 square kilometres.


POPULATION

German official statistics give on the 1st of December, 1871, a
population of 1,554,738 inhabitants. The last Census of 1910 gives
1,874,014 souls (967,625 men, 906,389 women). This population
includes about 1,500,000 Alsaces-Lorraines of French descent, who
themselves or their parents were born in Alsace-Lorraine before the
1st of May, 1871, and who, except for the Treaty of Frankfort, would
have been French. The aliens (notably the Italians, French, Swiss, and
the people of Luxembourg) make up a contingent of about 75,000. The
rest, 300,000 in all, are German immigrants since the War of 1870-71,
and their descendants, including the military and government officials
with their families.

The original French people of the ceded territories were allowed to
preserve their French nationality on condition of making an express
declaration before October 1, 1872, and to transfer, within the same
extension of time, their domicile outside of Alsace-Lorraine. From the
official German reports, there were about 160,000 options declared in
Alsace-Lorraine, of which only 50,000 were valid. The options given in
France amounted to about 380,000. The statistics of emigration and
immigration for 1871-1910 give an excess of emigration of 267,639
souls. The result of the migration of the population in August, 1914,
can thus be characterized: some hundred thousand Alsatians left the
country, the greater part of whom settled in France. The number of the
native population has remained stationary; 300,000 Germans and 75,000
foreigners must be added. The German population is almost entirely
concentrated in the cities. In Metz, the immigrants make up the
majority; in Strasbourg, they are a third of the population. In the
country, one finds in general only a few officials.

Concerning the language, distinction must be made between Alsace and
Lorraine. In most parts of Lorraine, French is spoken exclusively,
whereas, in the greater part of Alsace, we find a German patois mixed
up with many French words and expressions; and so entirely distinct is
it from the _hochdeutsch_ of the Germans, that after forty-seven years
they are not able to understand it. Everyone who is at all educated
speaks French, in spite of the obstacles the Germans are always
putting in the way of teaching the French tongue. All who know French
speak it from preference, and no one who speaks good German, and they
have all learned it in the schools, ever use it in private life. The
official language is of course German.

As to religion: after the Census of 1910, there were found to be 85%
Catholics, 13% Protestants, 1-1/2% Jews, and a 1/2% miscellaneous. The
_professional_ Census of 1907 gives the following results: about one
fourth of the population are in agriculture, half are occupied in
commerce and industry, and a quarter enter the liberal professions or
follow no trade at all.

As to the ethnological origin of the aboriginal people, the Germans at
once declare that Alsace was settled by the Teutons. About Lorraine
they prefer to be silent. But while it is certain that Alsace after
the migration of the tribes presents a mixed population composed of
Celtic and Germanic elements, it would be very difficult to analyse
today such an amalgamation. Do not let us forget that Julius Cæsar in
his famous work, _De Bello Gallico_, has said that the country of the
Celts which he calls Galli (Gaul) was bounded by the "_flumen Rhenum_"
(the Rhine), and Tacitus, the illustrious historian, declares:
"_Germania omnis a Gallis Rheno separatur_" (the whole of Germany is
separated from Gaul by the Rhine).

The invasion of Alsace by Ariovistus was victoriously repulsed at the
battle of Ochsenfeld 58 B.C., and a new attempt of the Germanic tribes
to invade Alsace in 357 A.D. failed before the army of Julian the
Philosopher. During the centuries of Roman domination, which have left
deep traces on the country (building of cities, construction of roads,
commercial and industrial development of all kinds), Alsace enjoyed
great prosperity. Moreover, a recent authoritative work, _Wohin
gehoert Elsass-Lothringen_, shows that from the last scientific
researches, the shape of the German skull, which the Germans love to
indicate as the sign of the superiority of the German race, is
represented in Alsace only in the proportion of one to three, and the
so-called Germanic type (blue eyes and yellow hair) is nowhere
predominant.

Alsace is in fact a conclusive example of the fact that the use of a
dialect of German origin does not necessarily indicate the race of
those who speak it and certainly does not prove a community of
sentiments or ideas. This applies also to the German names of the
Alsatian communes.

Let us remember on this subject, that very recently German names have
been officially given to French localities in Lorraine. When the
Germans wish to accomplish a master stroke of policy they are careful
to quote the Herren Professoren in justification of the establishment
of an historic precedent. Renan, in a mildly bantering spirit,
complimented them on their extraordinary talent in these ridiculous
attempts. "With the philosophy of history," says he, "as practised by
the Germans, there are no legal rights in the world but those of the
ourang-outangs, unjustly deprived of these by the perfidy of civilized
man."

In the main, it matters little to whom Alsace-Lorraine has belonged
during the vicissitudes of history. That only which is important from
the point of view of modern history is the act of 1871 by which
Germany tore Alsace-Lorraine from France when all the inhabitants of
the ceded territories were thoroughly French and wished so to remain.
This is the truth, and it is confirmed by an authority little
suspected by the Germans. Professor Theobald Ziegler, who up to the
present moment was Professor of Science at the University of
Strasbourg, and a liberal democrat, has changed to a pan-Germanist of
the most pronounced type. Here is what the Herr Professor Ziegler
acknowledges, writing in the review _Die Grenzboten_, March 31, 1915:
"What makes a nation? Not the feeling of race nor the consciousness of
belonging to the same stock which is often lost in the uncertainty
and obscurity of history; not the soil, which may be transferred from
one people to another as in the case of Alsace; not the language--one
has only to think of Switzerland where three languages are spoken; not
even interests in common, for these exist in every society, but just
the living together of two centuries shared with the great nation of
France has made Alsace-Lorraine French."

But Ziegler and his friends have forgotten that to live together there
must be mutual understanding and esteem. History teaches that no
appreciable advantage is to be gained unless the peoples agree, or if
one nation tries to impose its brutal domination over another. And yet
it is just this which is the great obstacle that prevents Germany from
assimilating Alsace-Lorraine and has condemned all its efforts to
eternal failure.


INCOMPATIBILITY OF DISPOSITION OF THE GERMANS AND THE INHABITANTS OF
ALSACE-LORRAINE

In his excellent volume, _The Peril of Prussianism_, Professor
Douglas W. Johnson has traced, in a masterly fashion, the difference
between the two ideals of government, one starting with the principle
that the State is made to serve the people, the other, that the people
are made to serve the State, a view personified by the Kaiser in
Germany today.

The Alsaces-Lorraines have always had great independence of character;
they are thoroughly democratic and republican, for which reason they
so quickly and solidly became a part of the French nation, which, even
under different forms of monarchical government, respected their
liberty and democratic ideals.

The political history of Alsace-Lorraine furnishes a new proof of this
fact on every page. Lorraine became a part of France at the Convention
of Friedwald in Hessen, January 14, 1552, when the German Protestant
princes at war with the Catholic House of Austria, gave Metz, Toul,
and Verdun to the King of France, Henry II., in exchange for subsidies
furnished by France.

In the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, Alsace was ceded to France in
exchange for services which the King gave to the German Protestant
princes fighting against the Catholic Empire. Alsace was conquered for
France by the German Prince, Bernard de Saxe-Weimar, on the demand and
in the interest of Germany which had called upon France for help.
Strasbourg, which had remained a free independent city, opened her
gates to France in 1681. The Republic of Mulhouse, which made a part
of Helvetia, asked, and obtained the request, to be incorporated into
France in 1798. Neither Alsace nor Lorraine ever made part of the
German Empire founded in 1871, and to which vanquished France was
obliged to give up these territories. When these two provinces came
into the possession of France, they were bound by rather loose ties to
the Holy Roman Empire, of which the House of Austria was at the head.
The Austria-Hungary Empire did not survive the Napoleonic wars, and I
do not know that it ever claimed any part of Alsace-Lorraine.

On the contrary, in order to found the German Empire and appropriate
Alsace-Lorraine, Prussia had to make war on Austria in 1866 to put her
out of Germany. The German Empire is wrong, therefore, in making an
appeal to anything but _force_ to explain, if not to justify the
spoliation of France. Alsace-Lorraine was never a political entity
before 1871. We have seen that Alsace was still a part of the Holy
Roman Empire, while Lorraine had already belonged to France for a
hundred years.

Alsace, alone, had never been a state. This is how the learned
professor of the University of Caen, Georges Weil, describes in his
remarkable book, _French Alsace from 1789 to 1871_, the period after
the reunion of Alsace with France: "It was a strange mosaic of
different freeholds, of principalities both lay and ecclesiastical, of
free cities or those almost autonomous. Among these freeholds many
belonged to German princes. A sixth part of Alsace was owned by
foreigners." The Emperor's authority had been only nominal. On his
visits, which were few and far between, he was received with courtesy,
money was freely given to him, but the people always rejoiced when
they saw him leave. The Alsatians received but little assistance from
the Empire; Alsace secured no help when menaced or invaded by foreign
armies. The ten ancient cities flourished under an almost autonomous
rule. Even before the reunion with France, cultivated society was
filled with the French spirit. After the Thirty Years' War, the
country felt the benefit of the protection of a powerful State with a
well-ordered government which respected its habits and customs and
which administered justice. So their sympathies were quickly given to
their new political country with which, by reason of their democratic
ideals, they were already politically in sympathy. That which rapidly
attached the people to the new régime was, on the one hand, the
friendly and intelligent interest of the royal intendants who
protected the subjects from arbitrary lords and other local
authorities, and on the other hand, the sovereign Council of Alsace,
sitting at Colmar, which was to simplify, and, if possible, to unify,
the customs that were in force in different parts of the country and
also insure a sound administration of justice. The success was
complete. A German, François d'Ichterscheim, was obliged to
acknowledge, in a work published in 1710, that the Sovereign Council
"rules with strict justice, law-suits are not too lengthy, expenses
are not too heavy, and above all, no favour is shown to either
litigant, the subject often winning his suit against the
sovereign,--the poor against the rich, the layman against the clergy,
the Christian against the Jew, and _vice-versa_."

The people were contented and satisfied. The Alsatian has always had a
pronounced taste for the military career. Many young peasants enlisted
in French regiments and were well received. The nobility furnished a
number of officers to the French army. Alsatian gentlemen enjoyed
taking part in the gay social life of the French aristocracy. Alsatian
scholars kept in constant touch with Paris, where they received every
encouragement and were much appreciated. It is not astonishing then,
that Monsieur Schmettan, Ambassador of Russia to the King of France,
should write in 1709: "It is well-known that the Alsatians are more
French than the Parisians themselves."

The holding in common of the same ideas and feelings was even more
accentuated at the time of the Revolution, and no part of France was
better prepared by her past history for the coming of a rule of
Democracy and Equality. In 1787, Alsace was called upon for the first
time to elect a Provincial Assembly which would represent the
interests of a large number of domains, princely seignorial, and
municipal, the commission chosen to make a report to the Assembly
declared: "That which tends to feudalism carries a mark of servitude
not to be tolerated in a well-constituted society." In the elections
for the États Généraux, the little bourgeoisie won in all the cities
against the oligarchy which desired to retain the control. Reubell,
who played an important rôle in the Revolution, and who was a member
of the Directory, was elected at Colmar. The peasants hailed with
enthusiasm the decree of August 4, 1789, which marked the end of the
feudal régime. The suppression of the custom-house duties between
Alsace and the rest of France sealed the economic union between the
new and the old countries so that the creation of the departments of
the Upper and the Lower Rhine was effected without any difficulty.

After the proclamation of the equality of the French people, the right
to levy on the feudal rents in France, which the German princes who
owned property in Alsace had exercised, could no longer exist. The
Germans protested and the conflict which followed, in 1792, was the
first war against the French Republic.

In the report which the well-known civilian, Merlin de Douai, made to
the _Constituante_, October 28, 1790, is the following passage, very
characteristic of the bonds which unite Alsace to France: "The
Alsatian people have united themselves to France because they wish so
to do; it is their own desire, therefore, and not the treaty of
Münster which has legalized the union."

In February, 1790, Dietrich was elected mayor of Strasbourg against
the conservative candidate, and in June, 1790, the partisans of the
_Constituante_ celebrated amid great pomp and with the co-operation of
the clergy of different denominations, the fêtes of the Federation of
the Rhine.

The Alsatian National Guard set up in the middle of a bridge over the
Rhine, a tri-coloured flag which bore the inscription: "Here the Land
of Liberty begins."

It was on the night following the day that it was known at Strasbourg
(April 25, 1792), that war had been declared, that Captain Rouget de
l'Isle composed "the War Song for the Army of the Rhine," which under
the name of _La Marseillaise_ became the national hymn of France.

Kléber, who at that time commanded a battalion from the Upper Rhine,
writes, November 15, 1792, in reference to the warlike enthusiasm of
the Alsatian volunteers, "not one of them ever dreams of deserting his
flag; the wounded, yes, and even the sick have implored me for mercy's
sake, to keep them with the battalion."

In 1799, there was the menace of another war, and the inhabitants were
most zealous in strengthening the fortresses. An official of the Lower
Rhine wrote in his report on the subject of the Alsatians: "They will,
like the Rhine, always be the impregnable bulwark of the Republic" (G.
Weil).

The assimilation of France and Alsace was made complete during the
Revolution. Fustel de Coulanges well summed up this truth when he
wrote in 1870: "Do you know what has made Alsace French? It is not
Louis XIV., but it is our revolution of 1789. From that moment Alsace
has followed our fortunes; she has lived our life; she thinks as we
think; she feels as we feel; our glories and our faults, our joys and
our sorrows."

The wars of the Empire gave to the Alsatians a chance to display their
military aptitude which they rendered the more generously to the
service of the country, as promotion was given to each according to
his merits; each soldier carried in his knapsack the baton of a
Maréchal de France!

The generals of Alsace and of Lorraine who distinguished themselves in
the army of the Republic and with Napoleon are numerous. Among the
best known are Kléber, Kellermann, Rapp, Lefévre, Ney, Mouton,
Lasalle, Shérer, Westermann, and Schramm. The names of twenty-eight
Alsatian generals are engraved upon the Arc de Triomphe at Paris.

       *       *       *       *       *

Many able Alsatians devoted themselves to the administration of the
German countries that were at that time under the French Government.
Their knowledge of German helped them in their task. After the
disasters in Russia and in Leipzig, in 1813, the Alsatians showed
exemplary devotion in their preparations for defence and sacrifices
for the army.

In his _Mémoires_, Ségur says on this subject: "There were no better,
braver, more generous Frenchmen in all France." Never, during all
these trying days, did they remember that their forebears had been
subjects of the Holy Empire.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, after the fall of
Napoleon, the pan-Germans made a campaign for the annexation of
Alsace-Lorraine in launching the slogan: _Der Rhein, Deutschlands
Strom nicht Deutschlands Grenze_ (The Rhine is a German river and not
Germany's boundary). This found no echo in Alsace, which forced from
the poet, Rückert, the heartfelt cry of indignation which fell from
the lips of the German soldiers, who were obliged to evacuate Alsace:
"And thou Alsace! Degermanized race, thou too dost jeer at us, oh,
deepest infamy!"

The Alsatian poet, Ehrenfried Stoeber, whom the Germans readily
invoked on account of his dialect, said that if his harp was German
his sword was French. Referring to the Revolution he said: "If we
speak of the wars of the Revolution in which we fought for our
independence and the protection of the indefeasible rights of man, it
is because we are proud of our fervent ardour and enthusiasm."

Under the restored kingdom of the Bourbons, orderly citizens knew how
to command respect in their new country without sacrificing in the
least their democratic and republican ideals. A prefect of the Upper
Rhine registered in his report of 1818: "All are submissive, but none
are royalist." De Serre, an elector of the Department wrote:
"Ultra-royalism is not the spirit which actuates my constituents."

The prefect, Puymaigre, candidly complains in 1821 of the advanced
ideas of the citizens: "They give faith," said he, "with a most
deplorable credulity, to all the most dangerous political systems."

The same year, after his tour in Alsace, General Foy expressed himself
as follows: "If all that is good and generous in the hearts of the
inhabitants of ancient France ever becomes enfeebled, they must
journey over the Vosges and come to Alsace to renew their patriotism
and energy."

The monarchy of July marks a period of uninterrupted prosperity for
Alsace. The return of the tri-colour was hailed with joy. The
democratic idea grew and was represented chiefly by the _Courrier du
Bas-Rhin_ which influenced public opinion. After 1815, the reactionary
persecutions abated against the Germans who were liberal minded and
they received an hospitable welcome to Alsace. With their innate
absence of tact, many of them tried to convince their hosts that
Alsace was still a German province, and in this way they forfeited all
sympathy.

The Alsatians desire there should be no misunderstanding as to the
nature of the sympathy shown to unjustly persecuted refugees, and the
international courtesy practised by them even towards the Germans. In
1842, when the German delegates to the Scientific Congress of France
were received at Strasbourg, the mouthpiece of the Alsatians spoke of
the sympathies of his countrymen for Germany; but to avoid any mistake
he added: "But if we gaze toward her, it is not with the eyes of a
child torn from the paternal home, but rather, if you will permit the
comparison, with the affectionate look with which the young wife
greets once more her mother's house, happy under the new roof which
shelters her, and with the name of her husband which she bears with
pride."

Alsace has never wavered from this fidelity to France. In 1848 the
second Republic was accepted with satisfaction. Under Louis Philippe
the country had enjoyed great material prosperity, but the middle
classes were restless because the government took no measures to
reform the electorate in the democratic sense. At this time great
fêtes were held to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the
union of Alsace and France. The mayor of Strasbourg said on this
occasion: "It is without doubt no longer necessary to make a solemn
and public profession of undying devotion to France. She does not
doubt us, she has faith in Alsace; but if Germany still lulls herself
with futile illusions, if she still finds in the persistence of the
German language a sign of irresistible sympathy and attraction toward
her, she is mistaken. Alsace is just as much French as Brittany,
Flanders, and the country of the Basques, and she will so remain."

The affection of France kept pace always with the profession of
democratic and republican ideals. When the prince-president came to
Strasbourg in 1850, he was received in all the villages of Alsace with
shouts of _Vive la République!_ The municipal council of Strasbourg
had refused to give any funds for his reception. At Strasbourg and at
Mulhouse the National Guard was dismissed by the government. The
Colonel of the Strasbourg Legion said in his farewell address: "It is
true that at times you express with great vigour republican
sentiments, but this is with you an original sin, and I fear me that
the remedy applied will not be effectual in its correction."

During the Second Empire, Alsace was a hotbed of republican
resistance, particularly in the Upper Rhine. However, at this time,
the country again enjoyed a great prosperity. The military career
continued to attract the Alsatians. The great advantages assured to
the reinlisted soldiers induced many of them to enter the army as
volunteers. The wars in Algeria under Louis Philippe had already
shown, among the combatants, a great number of Alsatians. The
intellectual culture of the provinces turned towards France and made
great progress. Erckmann and Chatrian expressed marvellously well the
aspirations and democratic ideals of the people in magnifying the
rôles of the Alsatians and the Lorrainers in the heroic period of the
Revolution and the First Empire.

The peoples of Alsace and Lorraine were, like those of the rest of
France, divided into political parties, and one often saw
disagreements, generally legal, with the ideas of the respective
governments. But no one ever evinced the slightest regret at no longer
belonging to the Holy Empire, or the least desire to re-enter the
bosom of Germany. When the War of 1870 broke out, Alsace and Lorraine
were very French, and during that war the people of both provinces
bravely and patriotically did their duty to France. The people were
thus badly prepared for a change of nationality, and far from looking
on their new Teuton compatriots as brothers, they cordially detested
the Germans who during the war had conducted themselves to the limit
of savagery. The forced community of life with the Germans soon showed
an irreconcilable opposition between the native and the immigrant
population.

Alsace-Lorraine could live whole centuries with the Germans without
becoming germanized, whereas two centuries of life in common with
France, freely consented to, had proved sufficient to make them
Frenchmen. This spontaneous fusion could never have been possible if
Alsace-Lorraine and France had not always had the same ideals of
civilization. The Alsatian and the Lorrainer leaned always toward
French culture, and from the moment they were politically separated
from the Holy Empire they had nothing more in common with German
_Kultur_.

The Alsatian-Lorrainer, who from the point of view of character
greatly resembles the free citizen of America, is a very practical
man. He willingly makes use of all the opportunities in life to
improve his economic condition, but joined to these qualities is a
deeply rooted idealism which will make any sacrifice to secure his
independence, and to assure for him the dignity of freedom. He has
brilliant military qualities, but he will never be a militarist. He
will fight bravely for the defence of a just cause about which he is
enthusiastic, because it means the fulfilment of a sacred duty. But
he will never be willing to remain under the dominion of a power
like that of Prussia and be forced to carry arms for causes that he
detests and disdains. The Alsatian-Lorrainer has no affection for
dynasty, he is absolutely wanting in respect for the hierarchy; he
has a feeling for order and equality before the law, he is loyal and
respectful to authority but exempt from all servitude. The German,
on the contrary, with his class feeling, abasing himself, as it
were, in platitudes before his superiors, hard and arrogant toward
his inferiors, in admiration before the _Angestammtes Herrscherhaus_
(traditional dynasty), accustomed to march under the lash, without
any idealism, finding in the distribution of the booty of war a
compensation for all humiliations,--such a man does not understand
that the Alsatian-Lorrainer does not rejoice to find himself
belonging to a nation of the elect, a nation that has the most
formidable war machine to crush, from time to time according to its
whim, any growth of material prosperity effected by free competition
in the economic struggle.

Alsace-Lorraine is impervious to those ideas. Against her will, she
was torn from France and she wishes to return. It is this which makes
clear her history from 1871 to this day.


THE PROTEST

As soon as it was a question of the necessity of giving up a part of
the territory, all the deputies of the threatened departments signed a
declaration, February 17, 1871, which, among other passages, contained
the following: "Alsace and Lorraine do not wish to be alienated.
Associated for more than two centuries with France, both in good and
bad fortune, these two provinces, exposed without intermission to the
blows of the enemy, have constantly sacrificed themselves for the
greatness of the nation; they have sealed with their blood the
insoluble compact which binds them to France. Made doubtful by the
claims of the enemy, they assert, through all the obstacles and all
the dangers under the yoke even of the invader, their unshaken
fidelity. Unanimously the citizens in their homes, the soldiers who
rallied beneath the flag, those who voted and those who fought, all
signified to Germany and to the world the immutable will of Alsace and
of Lorraine to remain French."

March 1, 1871, the same deputies signed a new protest which they
deposited at the bureau of the National Assembly in which we find the
following announcement: "We declare once more null and void a pact
which disposes of us without our consent. The claim to our rights
always remains open to each and to all in the form and the measure
that our conscience dictates to us."

When the Alsatians were permitted by Germany to send deputies to the
Reichstag, the fifteen who were elected protested on their side
against annexation February 18, 1874. We find in their declaration the
following passage: "In choosing us all, just as we are, our electors
before everything else wish to affirm their sympathy with France and
their right to govern themselves." These solemn declarations have
never been revoked by any equivalent or contrary statement. Not even
during the actual war and reign of terror established in the annexed
provinces has the German Government succeeded in forcing from the
representatives of Alsace-Lorraine a statement expressing the desire
to remain German. The attempt to make such a manifestation by the
votes of the council-generals, of whom the suspected members had
previously been deported to Germany, saying that the economic interest
of Alsace-Lorraine necessitated the maintenance of the _status quo_,
only served to demonstrate the insecurity of the political situation
of the German Empire in Alsace-Lorraine. What lamentable drivel in
comparison to the dignified and generous language of the magnificent
protests of Bordeaux. It accords well with the philosophy of German
diction which the Baron de Bulach, Secretary of State, jeeringly
dared recommend to his compatriots as a line of conduct: "_Wess Brod
ich ess des Lied ich sing_" (Whose bread I eat, his song I sing).

Nothing, moreover, would be less exact than to think that the
Alsatians lived on the Germans or that their material well-being
depended in any way on the economic life of the German Empire, or that
the prosperity of the country was in all, or even in great part, to be
credited to the Germans.

It is not within the scope of our essay to present a study of the
economic situation of the country, which, if she has been prosperous
in some directions, has often been hindered by the predominance given
to rival interests of other German countries. The project of
constructing a canal from Ludwigshafen to Strasbourg was abandoned
because contrary to the interests of the town of Mannheim. The
canalling of the Sarre and of the Moselle was basely sacrificed to the
interests of the Prussian industries of la Ruhr, which looked with an
enemy's eye on any progress in the industry of Lorraine.

The prohibition of American plants for the replacing of the destroyed
vines, in execution of the law concerning the fight against the blight
of the vine, was dictated by a sentiment of protection for the German
vine-culture against the vine-culture of Alsace-Lorraine. Often also,
the administration took arbitrary measure against certain trades and
industries to injure their interests for the profit of their
competitors, or for some determined political end. The illegal
prohibition made to the French Insurance companies of Assurances to
continue business in Alsace-Lorraine, by which a blow was given to a
number of agents in their enterprises, and the threat made to the
Alsatian Society of Mechanical Construction of Grafenstaden to
countermand the orders from Prussia if the Society refused to dismiss
a director suspected of French sympathy, are convincing proofs of the
antagonism of the government. We mention the flagrant injustice with
which the German interests were always advanced to the detriment of
Alsace-Lorraine in the distribution of contracts for public works.
But, if Alsace-Lorraine in general could prosper economically,
notwithstanding a detestable policy, hated by its population, in what
way, we ask ourselves, could that prosperity be compromised by the
return of Alsace-Lorraine to France? Above all, as France is a
Republic, a form of government which was welcomed with joy by the
people September 4, 1870, and which answers in the best manner to
their time-honoured worldly aspirations. The loss of the market which
Alsace-Lorraine has made for herself in Germany will find a rapid
offset in the reopening of its business relations with France.

Certain great industries, such as the iron mines of Lorraine and those
of potash in Alsace, would certainly increase. But that is not at all
the question. We have to do with a great moral issue for transcending
the material considerations which the German thinks so important and
which in his mind are all-conclusive. Evidence of this is the
following quotation from the _Gazette de Voss_ published July, 1917:
"The act of yielding Alsace would involve giving up valuable beds of
potash and this would be disastrous to German agriculture of which it
is an absolutely necessary ingredient." One sees by this kind of
reasoning the nature of the affection of Germany for Alsace-Lorraine.


ALSACE-LORRAINE UNDER GERMAN RULE

1871

It would take volumes to describe in detail the martyrdom of
Alsace-Lorraine under the domination of Germany. I can enumerate only
a few of the acts and methods that have characterized German rule. The
impartial reader will easily conclude that Alsatians are not made to
live with Germans and that the return of their province to the mother
country of France is the only possible solution of the Alsatian
question with justice and equity.

Alsace-Lorraine was given to the German Empire unconditionally. The
new master could do with the country just as he pleased. If he has not
divided it between the members of the Confederation it is because it
was difficult to agree on the division of the spoils, and because also
Bismarck wished to make a "glacis" which would cement the union of the
Germans by continually showing them the danger that threatened in the
west. The only thing the Germans did not think of in deciding the fate
of Alsace-Lorraine was the interest of the Alsatians themselves.
Bismarck did not hesitate to acknowledge this and stated in the
Reichstag to the first deputies who protested: "It is not for your
interest that we have conquered you, but for the interest of the
Empire." And the official paper of Strasbourg, the _Strassburger
Post_, after forty years of German domination, also summarizes the
attitude of the German Empire towards the Alsatians in this odious
phrase: _Oderint dum metuant_ (Let them hate, so long as they fear).
The German Empire, which is composed of twenty-five confederated
States, made of the annexed territory a "Reichsland," that is to say,
an undivided joint property. This new political entity received the
name of Elsass-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine). German scholars are still
arguing today over the legal aspect of this decision. It is certain,
as against the German states which possess equal rights, that
Alsace-Lorraine is arbitrarily ruled by the Empire without any
inherent right. Alsace-Lorraine was always treated as a State when it
was a question of meeting certain obligations (contributions, military
service, assessments for the expenses of the Empire). The honour was
even paid of trusting them with the receipt of custom-house dues for
the account of the Empire on their territory. This brought upon the
province an unwarranted outlay of more than a million marks a year,
representing the excess of the customs above the amount refunded to
the Provinces. Alsace-Lorraine possessed only those "rights" which
the Empire grudgingly conceded. Whereas Louis XV. accorded to the
provinces united to France the enjoyment of their ancient privileges,
the German Empire began by treating the Alsatians less liberally than
its German subjects. In Germany each state has the constitution it
wishes for itself, but Alsace-Lorraine has a constitution imposed upon
it by the Empire, and this can be suspended or suppressed at the
Imperial will.

The different constitutions that have been granted in the course of
forty-two years (the latest went into effect in 1912) to the
Reichsland, which had been ruled by a dictatorship as a legal
constitution, were alike in this, that the legislative and the
executive powers were left completely in the hands of the Kaiser and
the King of Prussia. The Kaiser exercises the power of the state
(_Staatsgewalt_) for the account of the Empire. There is a Parliament
(_Landtag_) made up of two Chambers to which the second is given
universal suffrage, and the first (of which I had the honour of being
a member, elected by the town of Colmar) composed in a way to assure
a majority to the Kaiser, who has the right to name as many members as
the number of those elected and those holding by right. As there are
members not named for life, and as among those who are so by right and
by choice there are always a large number who are not independent, the
Kaiser can never be in the minority in the Senate. But if by any
chance such a thing should happen, it could have no importance because
the Kaiser is himself the chief factor in legislation. In order that a
law for Alsace-Lorraine may come into force, it must have the consent
of the two Chambers and of the Emperor. Under these conditions it is
Prussia that rules, and I know that no attempt to pass a law in
Alsace-Lorraine can be made without first obtaining a favourable
opinion from the Ministry of Prussia. In order never to be thwarted by
the passive resistance of the Second Chamber, our constitution, which
the Germans characterize as democratic, provides that if Parliament
refuses to vote the budget, the government has the right to incur
expenditure based on the figures of the preceding budget. The Germans
have wished to emphasize as a great concession to the claims of
Alsace-Lorraine the fact that in the last constitution given to
Reichsland they have been given a voice in the _Bundesrat_ (Federal
Council). This _Bundesrat_ is composed of the representatives of the
Chief of the States of the Empire. It is this council that with the
consent of the Reichstag, which is the representative of the German
people, gave universal suffrage and that makes the laws for the
Empire. Now, owing to the importance of territory and number of
inhabitants, Alsace-Lorraine ought to hold sixth rank among the States
of the Empire. She has been given three votes in the Council. But, as
it is the _Staatshalter_ (Vice-King) of Alsace-Lorraine who gives the
instructions as to how those three votes will be cast, and as the
Vice-King is an office-holder subject to recall by the Emperor who is
the King of Prussia, there is no danger that those votes will ever
operate against Prussia. This dependence on Prussia of the votes of
Alsace-Lorraine has been disingenuously marked by a special provision
inserted on this occasion in the constitution of the Empire, in which
it is said that every time a favourable majority vote for Prussia
cannot be polled in the _Bundesrat_ except with the help of the
Alsatian vote, those votes will not be counted. Up to this day
Alsace-Lorraine has never ceased to be governed by a legislation
outside of the common right. Today even, an act is pending in Berlin
which provides exceptional measures for the suppression of journals
printed in French.

All the efforts of the Germans, the special legislation for
Alsace-Lorraine, the activities of the functionaries, chiefly Germans
brought from the four corners of the Empire, even the administration
of justice, have had the tendency to exterminate and replace by the
_Deutschtum_ (German culture) the spirit and the sentiments of the
French people.

All this effort and labour were doomed to failure. The Alsatians
remained faithful to their ideals and to the policy expressed in
their protest. Of course the form of this protest has changed with the
current of events. The simple negation which marked the solemn
protests of Bordeaux in 1871 and of Berlin in 1874 could not after the
lapse of time, and should not now, determine the conduct of the
people. The first necessity is to continue to exist, and there were
finally organized political parties which fought passionately, as
happens in every country in the world. But towards the Germans the
real Alsatians were as one man as soon as some particular occasion
presented itself, to show their aversion to the _Herrenvolk_ (the
dominant people), as it pleased the Germans to call themselves. The
demand of self-government for Alsace-Lorraine within the limits of the
German Empire was only one way of showing the desire to be
distinguished as much as possible from the Germans. It was the maximum
that the Alsatians could legally require but the minimum of her real
claim which always demanded the absolute return to France, the mother
country.

A very suggestive fact on this subject is that, in the electoral
struggles between the natives, the different parties did not hesitate
to mutually reproach each other with the desire to lean on the will or
the influence of Germany.

The first demonstration against the Germans was the exodus of a part
of the population. The annual emigration continued until the War of
1914. Another sign of protest was the considerable number of
_refractaires_ (defaulting conscripts) who up to that day had annually
left the country by the hundreds to avoid German military service.
Their property was seized and they never could return to the country.
The greater number entered the Foreign Legion to fight for France.

The French language continued to be spoken in the family,
notwithstanding all the governmental precautions to insure its disuse.
Families continued to send their children to France to learn French,
young girls particularly being placed in French boarding schools to
complete their instruction and education. Up to that time commercial
books had been published in French; bookkeeping was done in francs,
even in those houses where the circumstances made it necessary to use
the German language simultaneously. The condemnation of seditious
utterances and the wearing of seditious emblems were no longer noticed
and never ceased. The public has specially marked the case of
conspicuous persons who have been implicated in prosecutions (the
Samain brothers, Hausi and Zislin, the caricaturists, the Abbé
Wétterlie), but alongside of these cases, thousands of obscure
soldiers of the Alsace-Lorraine cause, victims of their attachment to
France, have paid their tribute to their country. For shouting "_Vive
la France!_", for singing of the _Marseillaise_, for showing a
tri-colour ribbon, innumerable sentences, in some cases running into
years of imprisonment, have been pronounced. When, in 1887, the
situation in France, under the influence of the Boulanger movement,
disclosed the possibility of a conflict at arms with Germany, the
election of the Reichstag for that year resulted in sending to Berlin
a protesting deputation, notwithstanding the tremendous governmental
pressure put upon the electors. That was the signal for increased
persecutions in Alsace-Lorraine. Student societies, singing classes,
athletic associations, people suspected of cultivating French
sympathies, newspapers showing French tendencies, all of these were
suppressed and the members of the League of Patriots were betrayed and
condemned for high treason. Bismarck introduced the régime of
passports to cut off all relations between Alsace-Lorraine and France.
The _Statthalter_ of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, at that moment
governor of Alsace-Lorraine, has said in his _Mémoires_ that he had
the impression that Bismarck wished to drive the population to
insurrection. This plan fell through, thanks to the wisdom of the
people who knew how to resist such a provocation. The result was
simply to strengthen French patriotism. The rising generation which
had gone through the German schools and German army fooled the German
statesmen who had counted on them for the assimilation of German
_Kultur_. On the contrary, these young people were most ardent in
manifesting their devotion to France. Better prepared for the struggle
than their elders, knowing the German language perfectly, familiarized
by their studies with the Teuton dialects, they became most formidable
adversaries. My comrade in combat, Jacques Preiss, killed during this
war, a victim of German persecutions, has very well described the
character and rôle of the youth in a discourse given in the Reichstag
in 1894. He said: "We young fellows, we are not of the generation of
1870 whom choice and emigration have deprived of elements which are
the firmest and most unresisting. If you do not introduce a more
liberal régime, you will find by experience that this new generation
is much more energetically opposed to fusion than has been the case
since 1870."

In fact, not only has Germanization made no progress, but the
Alsatians become each day more impatient of the German yoke. The two
populations, the native and immigrant, have never had social
intercourse. The native societies or clubs have always been closed to
the immigrant. On the National Fête, July 14th, the Alsatians will
cross the frontier by tens of thousands to partake communion under the
religion of their own land and with their brothers of France. They
return with the tri-colour ribbon in their buttonholes, and this
creates each year a number of unpleasant incidents. In vain Germany
wished to change the appearance of things by trying to win the masses,
by means of a lower chamber elected by general suffrage. We have shown
the factitious value of this concession, which as a consequence only
increased opposition. The affair of Grafenstaden, and the trouble at
Saverne caused by the attempt to cover up the exactions of a young
lieutenant, brought indignation to a climax. The military authorities
arrested haphazard the civilian natives and even the German
immigrants, instituting in the midst of peace, a military dictatorship
and aroused the irreconcilable antagonism between the German mentality
and that of Alsace-Lorraine. After some slight attempts of
independence on the part of the Alsace-Lorraine government and the
Reichstag _vis-à-vis_ the military, the whole German world fell upon
the obstinate and hard-headed Alsatians who, according to them, were
the cause of all the trouble because they refused to admire the beauty
of the German _Kultur_. The Saverne affair resulted in the dismissal
of the government of Alsace-Lorraine which had among its officials two
won-over Alsatians, and the replacing this by a group of Prussians of
rank.

The Minister of War, General von Falkenhayn, announced to the
Reichstag: "We want to uproot from the people's mind the feeling that
has been manifested up to this time and which has provoked the Saverne
incident." And this feeling is none other than the French democratic,
republican spirit of the Alsatians, incompatible with Prussian
militarism.

On the same occasion, Deputy von Calker, unfortunate candidate from
Strasbourg, but elected in a Prussian district, and an exceptionally
friendly immigrant, confessed in the following fashion the defeat of
Germanization in Alsace-Lorraine, shouting aloud in the Reichstag: "I
cry out in anguish. For sixteen years I have worked to wipe out
misunderstanding and to reconcile the natives and the immigrants, and
now we have arrived at the point where we can say, It all again
amounts to nothing (_Kaput_)." The conservatives very wisely answered
this undeceived elector that if it was merely the Saverne incident
that had caused this failure, it was evident that the desired harmony
had rested on a very slender foundation.

Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg was conscious of the great mistake
that had been made in annexing Alsace-Lorraine and had a foreboding of
the coming loss of the Reichsland. He thus expresses himself in a
letter written June 21, 1903, to Professor Lamprecht at Leipzig: "We
are a young nation; we have yet perhaps too much naïve faith in force,
we make too little importance of subtle measures, and we do not
understand that those who are conquered by force cannot be kept by
force alone."

The prefect of police at Berlin, von Jagow, declared in January, 1914,
in relation to the Saverne affair: "The Germans in Alsace are in an
enemy country." And during this war more than one German general has
said to his troops at the time of marching into Alsace-Lorraine: "Now
we will march into the enemy country."

It is easy to imagine what has been the fate of the country since the
opening of hostilities. It is the reign of terror. In the first place
persons inscribed on the black list, that is to say, those most
suspected, have been arrested and imprisoned. Those, who like the
author, have succeeded in escaping the talons of the Germans, have
been the objects of prosecution for so-called high treason, liable to
capital punishment. They have had their property seized and--supreme
misfortune--they have been declared to have forfeited their German
nationality. The future only will tell us the fate of those who were
captured. The suspects not on the list and the families of the
imprisoned were by thousands deported into Germany. The Council of War
was in permanent operation. It gave sentences of thousands of years of
imprisonment with hard labour against Alsatians guilty of the
slightest anti-German manifestation or for the simplest token of
sympathy given the French prisoners or the wounded. All classes of
society fill the prisons. The penalties imposed on persons having
committed the crime of speaking French have been so numerous that a
facetious jailor said to a lady, who with tears in her eyes appeared
at the prison door: "Do not weep, Madam, you will be in good society
here, for this is the only spot where one still speaks French." The
summary executions can no longer be counted. Only the crimes committed
by the Germans in Belgium can surpass the horrors practised in
Alsace-Lorraine.

The French sentiment showed its greatest strength in the wholesale
desertion of the Alsatians to take service in the French army; and
also by the fact that the Alsace-Lorrainers, made prisoners of war by
the French, have asked to be enrolled in the French army. Many of the
Alsatians, who had the chance to go to the colonies so as not to run
the risk of being shot as "traitors" in case of being captured by the
Germans, have begged to be sent to the front to fight the Germans,
thus risking their lives twice in the service of France. I think I am
understating the truth in estimating at 30,000, the number of
Alsatians who were mobilized in the German forces and who have gone
over to the ranks of the French army. The latter has always had a
great attraction for the Alsatian, and whereas the number of Alsatians
serving as officers in the German army does not amount to a dozen, of
whom only one is a brigadier-general, the French army has thousands of
Alsatian officers among whom are hundreds of generals. It is the same
thing among the civilians. Many office-holders of all grades are of
Alsatian origin, whereas the Alsatian who has accepted an office or
looked for any general position in Germany is exceptional. Wherever
the French troops have been able to penetrate into Alsace-Lorraine,
they have been received with enthusiasm, and when they were obliged to
retreat many people followed them into France in order to escape the
reprisals which were waiting for them.

With the press muzzled and the severe censorship of letters, it will
be only after the war that we shall have exact knowledge of what
Alsace-Lorraine has passed through during this dreadful period. But
what we are certain of at present is that the attitude of the people
is the same now as in the past. The Alsatians, faithful in their
devotion to France, await with a patriotic impatience, but with an
unshaken faith in the victory of their holy cause, their deliverance
from the German yoke.

Deputy Preiss, already quoted, was able to say to the Reichstag, June
30, 1896: "The assimilation, the germanization has not taken a single
step forward.... It is terror that governs and poisons our political
life. The government does not understand the people and the people do
not understand the government.... History will say, The German Empire
was able to conquer Alsace-Lorraine materially, but was not able to
conquer her morally; she has not known how to win the heart and the
soul of the people."

Is it not like a paraphrase of the celebrated verse so often sung all
through the country:

  "Vous n'aurez pas l'Alsace et la Lorraine
     Et malgré vous nous resterons Français!
   Vous avez pu germaniser la plaine,
     Mais notre coeur, vous ne l'aurez jamais!"

  "Alsace-Lorraine ne'er will you own,
     In spite of you, Frenchmen are we,
   Others may serve with a curse and a groan,
     But ever our hearts shall be free!"?

The situation has never changed. This is what one could read a short
time before the war in a book of Professor Forster's of Munich in a
study on the failure of German policy in the frontier provinces:
"Alsace, a country of arch-German origin, forty years after her return
to Germany, has still to an astonishing degree French sympathies, or
at least it has no German sympathies. After more than forty years, we
have not been able to re-Germanize this population."

Let us finish by another German testimony. This is how, from the
_Matin_, July 18, 1917, the _Kieler Zeitung_ expresses itself on the
results of the germanization of Alsace-Lorraine: "The wise
conservatives thought that thanks to the reunion under the established
rule of the Empire, they could reconcile two provinces different from
each other, and having in common only an arrogant defiance of the
ambitions of the Empire."

This confidence was an ignominious mistake. Lorraine bound itself
solidly and stubbornly to French congenial ideas, vigorously developed
in her in a large measure by the mother tongue; while, as to Alsace,
she was like the twig of a German bough strayed away from its ethnic
tree and rotted to the core by French climate. They can be reclaimed
neither by benevolence nor by force.

One understands why the German press and the German government are
interested in the dismemberment of Alsace-Lorraine and their division
between the Confederated States without thought of taking the opinion
of the people. Such opinion counts for nothing with the rulers of the
country, because the sentiments of the people are already well known.
They are French and for that reason Alsace-Lorraine will, without the
slightest difficulty, again become French. In an article of the _Revue
de Paris_, January, 1914 ("The Sentiments of Alsace-Lorraine"), at a
time when the question seemed to have only a theoretical interest, I
attempted to make this clear.

That which the author of the article in the _Kieler Zeitung_, in his
ill-tempered German hatred, calls "rottenness" is, I contend, the
gentle radiance of the French spirit. It is the bloom of a
civilization in which the savage adherent of _Kultur_ recognizes a
lasting antagonist.

Yes, Alsace-Lorraine has suffered under the Prussian rule of Germany.
This rule has weakened the strength of the country but could not kill
the spirit of its people. There is but one way in which the two
provinces can regain their health. They must again be united to
France, their mother country, their rightful home.

We depend upon America, strong and generous, to help to bring about
this great result. It is America which will give the decisive aid
required for the Allies in their great struggle to preserve against
the barbarous assaults of German militarism, right, justice, and
civilization.


THE END





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