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A Very Different WW1

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  • #46
    Originally posted by R. Evans View Post
    I never said one way or the other whether I thought the provinces should go to France or Germany. I was using them in this alternate scenario to set-up a peaceful solution to this 2nd Franco-Prussian War.

    But if Alsace-Lorraine were so German, why did Bismarck have to be forced to make them part of the treaty? He didn't want them. Moltke and Kaiser Wilhelm I wanted them. Bismarck knew that the provinces would cause untold headaches down the road and wanted to return them to France so the French would have no excuse to start another war.
    You're absolutely right, Bismarck expected the difficulties. But I think the French would've used another excuse for war if they hadn't had this one. They were simply unwilling to accept that a united germany was now the biggest player in continental europe.
    To play along in your scenario: All Germany has to do in that situation is to wait and keep France coming until they don't want anymore. But I even doubt the French would've kept fighting to see the Russians lose if they wouldn't make any progress.

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    • #47
      Drake, you ask good questions. indeed Alsace/Elsass were not that clear cut.

      of course today, as France and germany are both gobbled up in the EU super-bureaucracy-state, and soon will not exist anymore, this matter is gone.
      "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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      • #48
        Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
        Drake, you ask good questions. indeed Alsace/Elsass were not that clear cut.
        Actually, altho' my observations were in no way scientific, I noticed on the war monuments in Germany, "Elsass-Lothringen" was listed as where folks fell, if they fell there, rather than "Frankreich", "Italien" or elsewhere. It seemed peculiar to me, but it seems like a good compromise, since they do tend to go back and forth depending on who won the last war.
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        • #49
          Ironic... that the Kaiser asked von Moltke the younger to do just what this thread suggested; throw everything at the Russians and leave Belgium alone.

          THe answer he got was that such a move would throw the delcate time-table out of whack and cause chaos all over the railroads.
          This was later proven to be false, but the Kaiser did not cunsult with railroad experts... only his top General, who shot the idea down right away.
          The Kaiser said "Your uncle would never have given me an answer like that" and later dissmissed the man.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Drake View Post
            but it's stupid to assume a 90% ethnic german population would want to belong to france.
            I think that's a bit of a stretch of the imagination. Maybe in some areas but not over Alsace-Lorraine as a whole. Do you have a reference for this?

            I'd be interested to see it as I have family in this area, all very French. Their ancestors, going back to beyond the 30 years war (our family is one of the only in the area to go back beyond this time as the land was completely destroyed so as to hinder invading armies, they lived in a forest and survived by hunting small game), was also reputedly very French.

            Maybe its just a coincidence but I have neither read nor seen anything to assume these regions ever contained more than a minority ethnic German population. Apparently before it was incorporated into France, it was controlled by the Kingdom of Burgundy.

            Peace.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Drake View Post
              They were simply unwilling to accept that a united germany was now the biggest player in continental europe.

              Spot on with that.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Rythmik View Post
                I think that's a bit of a stretch of the imagination. Maybe in some areas but not over Alsace-Lorraine as a whole. Do you have a reference for this?

                I do have a brief summary drawn from a lingusitc survey compiled around 1900. The original data for most of Europe was from surveying the predominant language spoken in the smallest local administrative district. The summary did not show the details of each district. It does indicate that French was the predominat language spoke in the west of Alsace near the Franco/German border of 1900. Moving east across these two provinces a mix is indicated with German becoming predominant as you traveled east towards the Rhine.

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                • #53
                  Interesting...

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                  • #54
                    I just finished reading, good thread.

                    But I would like to mention something. What do you think would be the state of international politics ( the UN/League] of Nations)? The League was part of Wilson's ideas correct? No US entry into the war means no Wilson at Versailles. IF this indeed happen, would the UN ever have happened? Or any derivitive of it? Interesting thought imho...
                    It's not that I should win, but that others should loose.

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