Former German territory acquired by France at the treaty of Versailles, 1919.
It is divided into the departments of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, and Moselle.
In the Middle Ages the country was divided into many principalities, which formed part of the Holy Roman Empire.
Parts of Alsace were ceded to France in 1648, and by the Treaty of Ryswick, 1697, French possession was confirmed; Lorraine was formally united to France in 1766.
The inhabitants were contented under French rule.
In 1870, as a result of the Franco-Prussian War, the country was cut off from France.
It formed part of the German Empire for 47 years.
The industrial and commercial progress of Germany had an undeniable influence; the country prospered under a regime of efficiency, but political discontent was rife.
Germany left nothing undone to spread her culture; but her alternate policies of severity and concession proved ineffectual in Germanizing the provinces.
Emigration towards France began in 1872.
Until 1914 there was continual agitation for return to France.
At the outbreak of the World War, the uncertainty of the allegiance of Alsace was apparent; thousands deserted rather than fight against France.
In November, 1918, the French government took over the administration of the territories until the treaty was signed.
The administrative system was centralized under a commissary general.
Readjustments in finance, education, and language were difficult problems of administration.
Eighty per cent of the inhabitants did not know French, which was immediately introduced into the schools.
The knowledge of France had been gained through hostile sources, and imparted by teachers who had to be replaced before the people could be assimilated to French civilization.
In recognizing the French sovereignty in Alsace-Lorraine, the pope accepted the resignation of the German bishops of Metz and Strasbourg.
In April, 1919, President Poincare nominated bishop Ruck for the Bishopric of Strasbourg and Monsignor Pelt for that of Metz.
This caused an animated debate in the French Chamber and led the foreign minister to explain that the policy of France was to uphold the Concordat.
The nominees were given canonical institution by the pope.
New Catholic Dictionary