- Aug 2012
I didn't mean to suggest that France is more entitled to the heritage of the Frankish Kingdom than Germany. I was only pointing out that the French are related to Germans through the Franks.The statehood of both France and Germany ultimately go back to the Frankish Kingdom. The similarity of Francia and France does not mean that the French are somehow more entitled to the Frankish heritage; there are as well numerous toponyms in Germany that bear witness to the Frankish heritage, e.g. the city of Frankfurt or the region of Franconia.
But why classify people as French or German based on this? We could also say that according to historical linguistic borders, only Paris and Normandy and the areas around them are France's natural borders. This is because French is simply the Parisian language, and people in France assimilated to Parisian language and culture. During the Napoleonic Wars, when this map was designed, less than a quarter of Frenchmen spoke French. I don't agree with using historical linguistic borders to determine France's natural borders. After all, this is taking a mid 19th-mid 20th century idea (nationalism) and applying it to people in the past who didn't think this way. Germany didn't even exist in 1200, or 1500, or 1800, because people only began to think of themselves as belonging to the German nation in the mid 1800's.The successive partitions of the Frankish Kingdom into ultimately West and East Francia were at first and foremost a family issue between brothers, but the rulers soon became aware of the different languages used in their respective realms. The language border between Romance and Germanic languages had been established during the migration period in the early medieval age, and then remained stable for more than a millennium. And it never followed the Rhine until the 20th century.
I propose that we should be examining how the French and Germans view nationality differently, because this is very important and different interpretations have led to huge conflicts in the past. We should also be looking at geography because the map is using the term 'natural borders', and not 'cultural borders'. I also suggest we take language less into account. If we are only looking at language to determine natural borders, then Germany's natural borders include Austria, and much of Switzerland; and France's natural borders should include part of North America and parts of Africa!