The Nazis in Alsace and Lorraine

Courtesy Reuters

THE French Government at Vichy did not have the power to prevent the German Government from virtually annexing Alsace and Lorraine. Without even going through the pretense of organizing a plebiscite, without waiting for a peace treaty to decide, the Germans, with their usual contempt for the rights either of individuals or peoples, have proceeded to the forcible Nazification of those two French territories. Alsace, a fertile plain with varied crops and important industries, has become part of the German province of Baden, administered by Gauleiter Robert Wagner. Lorraine, an agricultural land which also contains some of the richest iron mines in Europe, is joined to Sarre-Palatinat under the rule of Gauleiter J. Buerckel.

Few Americans know Alsace and fewer still Lorraine. Those who have visited there may have found it hard to differentiate these French provinces from adjacent German provinces. They might incline to adopt the German point of view that they are German-speaking and German-populated areas and belong naturally to the Reich. A closer study will lead to a very different conclusion. As to race, which in any question touching the Nazis cannot be overlooked, the majority of the population in both provinces is Celtic, of the Alpine group, short-headed with dark hair. They speak a dialect derived from German, like the Dutch and Flemish languages and the dialect of northern Switzerland. Like those, their dialect (especially in Lorraine) is unintelligible to Germans.

The Alsatians became officially French as a result of the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Books could be filled with evidences of their French patriotism. It was in Strasbourg that the glorious "Marseillaise" was composed. Alsace and Lorraine gave the French Revolution three of its best generals -- Kellermann, who won the battle of Valmy, the Marne of 1792, Kleber, the hero of Fleurus and of the campaign of Egypt, and Ney, the "bravest of the brave." Another general of the Napoleonic wars, General Foy, said a few years later: "If ever the love of all that is

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