From 1914 to 1918: The Great War

The great war

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From 1914 to 1918

On 3 August 1914, Germany declared war on France. As early as the 31st of July, the Reichland was submitted to a state of war: suppression of freedoms, forbidding of public meetings and press censorship. The next day, the order to mobilize was posted in every town. The military tyranny was absolute, the rationing drastic, the economic deprivations numerous. Repression was heavy and the evictions unceasing.

Alsace and Moselle experienced terrible fighting during the days from 18-20 August 1914, and again in 1915, at the battles of Sarrebourg and Morhange (in Moselle) and Linge and Hartmannswillerkopf (Alsace). In the combat zones, incomprehension reigned: Belligerents suspected the civilians from Alsace and Moselle of being either “Frenchies” or “Prussians.” Some, such as Doctor Schwitzer, were interned in camps in the French interior.

During the Great War, 380,000 men from Alsace and Moselle were embedded in the German Army. In order to avoid desertions, most of them were sent to the Russian Front. Eighteen thousand men from Alsace and Moselle enlisted in the French Army.

In November 1918, the French troops entered Alsace and Moselle to a very joyful public mood. The Treaty of Versailles signed on 18 June 1919 finally reintegrated Alsace and Moselle under French sovereignty.