Alsace and Moselle had not only been occupied but annexed by the Third Reich, therefore the war heavily affected them : 130,00 young men (called the “malgré-nous”) were forced to fight in the German army. 30,000 of them died or went missing.
These martyred lands forged great Europeans, such as Robert Schuman, from Moselle. He was the French Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1948 to 1953 and author of the plan that would lay the foundations for European construction. Strasbourg was chosen to embody Franco-German reconciliation.
Major European institutions were set in Strasbourg, including the European Parliament which Robert Schuman presided from 1958 to 1960.