Germany lets France keep Alsace-Lorraine in 1871

Sep 2013
432
France
To me, without A-L, France would have not declared war on Germany, or looked for a strong alliance with Russia to prepare that war.
There were a strong leftist/pacifist movement in France in that time, with a strong communist party. Only the A-L problem made the nationalist feeling so overwhelming.
There could have been a war between Russia and A-H, but without the game of alliances, I doubt it.
And without France, no "world" war. Maybe a war in the colonies ? But not a 4 years heavy bloody total war like WWI.
 
Apr 2017
1,605
U.S.A.
Even without annexing Alsace-Lorraine France would have still been hostile to Germany. They still desired to expand to the Rhine and feared a united and strong Germany. The loss of Alsace-Lorraine was just an excuse to be hostile to Germany, although they really were bitter at its loss.
 
Apr 2018
979
Upland, Sweden
Even without annexing Alsace-Lorraine France would have still been hostile to Germany. They still desired to expand to the Rhine and feared a united and strong Germany. The loss of Alsace-Lorraine was just an excuse to be hostile to Germany, although they really were bitter at its loss.
Someone dislikes the French :lol:. I think given their history as the dominant power in Western Europe arguably going back to the middle ages an attitude like the one you describe would be understandable. However, I think you are overestimating the rationality of foreign policy decisions. I think hard to predict and sometimes quite "irrational" domestic concerns play a larger role in making foreign policy than you seem to give imply.

This also brings us to an interesting point. Does anyone with more knowledge than me of the period have a clue about the more precise (short or long term) domestic political consequences of France not loosing EL, similarly to the discussion about Germany?
 
Sep 2013
432
France
France could have annexed rhineland after 1918, she didn't.
So to guess thaht without the loss of A-L, France would have waged a war ton annex rineland seems to me totally unrealistic.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,684
SoCal
France could have annexed rhineland after 1918, she didn't.
So to guess thaht without the loss of A-L, France would have waged a war ton annex rineland seems to me totally unrealistic.
Annexing all of the Rhineland would have certainly been unrealistic, but annexing parts of it like the Saarland, Landau, and the Bavarian Palatinate might be doable. Still, with growing German military power and a rapidly growing German population, France might conclude that a new war against Germany--even with a powerful ally such as Russia--simply isn't worth it.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,684
SoCal
To me, without A-L, France would have not declared war on Germany, or looked for a strong alliance with Russia to prepare that war.
To be fair, though, France did have Alsace-Lorraine in 1870 and yet still declared war on Prussia. Maybe the French should have thought twice about going to war with Prussia if they wanted to avoid losing some of their territory.

There were a strong leftist/pacifist movement in France in that time, with a strong communist party. Only the A-L problem made the nationalist feeling so overwhelming.
You are likely correct about the fact that the loss of Alsace-Lorraine made things much harder for Franco-German relations. Not only was this loss more recent, but the majority of Alsatians and Lorrainers--at least in the early years of Imperial German rule--wanted to remain part of France and thus voted for protesting deputies to the German Reichstag.

France might have wanted the Saarland and other territories, but they were lost in 1815 (over half a century before 1871) and their population does not appear to have had much desire to rejoin France even in 1871. Granted, Lithuania made a claim on Vilnius in the interwar era in spite of the fact that a majority of the people there likely didn't want to live under Lithuanian rule, but Lithuania claimed Vilnius as its capital whereas France certainly didn't claim any Rhineland city as its capital.

There could have been a war between Russia and A-H, but without the game of alliances, I doubt it.
Without a French ally, Russia would have no hope in such a war. After all, Germany is extremely likely to support its Austro-Hungarian ally in such a war. Thus, Russia is going to be unlikely to spark such a war until much later, if at all. Maybe Russia could defeat both Germany and Austria-Hungary in a war in 1950, but certainly not in 1914 (and in 1950, Russia might very well end up having to fight Britain and perhaps other countries as well since countries such as Britain are unlikely to look very favorably at further Russian expansionism and at further Russian attempts to disrupt the balance of power in Europe).

And without France, no "world" war. Maybe a war in the colonies ? But not a 4 years heavy bloody total war like WWI.
What kind of colonial war are you thinking of here?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,684
SoCal
BTW, what about stripping France of Algeria instead of taking Alsace-Lorraine? Germany would have little use for Algeria without a large navy of its own, but it could give Algeria back to the Ottoman Empire as a present in order to establish better relations with the Ottomans. The overwhelming majority of Algeria's population was Muslim and thus France would have much less grounds to complain about losing Algeria than it would about losing Alsace-Lorraine.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,684
SoCal
Someone dislikes the French :lol:. I think given their history as the dominant power in Western Europe arguably going back to the middle ages an attitude like the one you describe would be understandable. However, I think you are overestimating the rationality of foreign policy decisions. I think hard to predict and sometimes quite "irrational" domestic concerns play a larger role in making foreign policy than you seem to give imply.

This also brings us to an interesting point. Does anyone with more knowledge than me of the period have a clue about the more precise (short or long term) domestic political consequences of France not loosing EL, similarly to the discussion about Germany?
I don't know if this counts as "domestic" (it probably doesn't), but I suggested in my OP here that France could be less aggressive about colonial expansion without the loss of Alsace-Lorraine. It's possible that a part of the reason as to why France was so eager to expand its colonial empire was to compensate for its loss of Alsace-Lorraine.
 
Apr 2018
979
Upland, Sweden
I don't know if this counts as "domestic" (it probably doesn't), but I suggested in my OP here that France could be less aggressive about colonial expansion without the loss of Alsace-Lorraine. It's possible that a part of the reason as to why France was so eager to expand its colonial empire was to compensate for its loss of Alsace-Lorraine.
It's an important consequence none the less.

That is not unreasonable, even though from what I've gathered Napoleon III also liked colonies - according to Wikipedia he doubled the size of the French colonial Empire (albeit from a lower level).

Would the (non)-annexation of EL have any influence on the possibility of creating a french monarchy again perhaps? From what I've understood the 4th Republic essentially came into existence because the two differential strands of monarchists could not agree with each other...
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,684
SoCal
It's an important consequence none the less.

That is not unreasonable, even though from what I've gathered Napoleon III also liked colonies - according to Wikipedia he doubled the size of the French colonial Empire (albeit from a lower level).
That's a good point about Nappy III, but please keep in mind that he was an Emperor and thus might have been less bound by public opinion than later French policymakers were. For instance, I'm not sure that the French people were particularly eager to fight in Crimea or to install a puppet regime in Mexico.

Would the (non)-annexation of EL have any influence on the possibility of creating a french monarchy again perhaps? From what I've understood the 4th Republic essentially came into existence because the two differential strands of monarchists could not agree with each other...
I don't think that it would have any effect on this since Henri, Count of Chambord (the Legitimist pretender) wanted to get rid of the French tricolor and perhaps grant himself wide powers as monarch. This was unacceptable even to the monarchists in the French parliament, which is why a temporary republic was established to wait until Henri's death so that the more liberal Philippe, Count of Paris would become the new claimant to the French throne. Henri lived longer than expected and thus the Third French Republic became permanent since the monarchists lost a lot of their political support by the time of Henri's death in 1883.

If you want to restore the French monarchy in the early 1870s, you need to either get Henri to die earlier (in which case a French monarchy under the more liberal Orleanists would be extremely likely to be restored) or perhaps for Henri to have a son or a younger brother (for the younger brother part, this would mean that Henri's father would have needed to avoid getting assassinated back in 1820). Basically, there's a suspicion that Henri did not want to be succeeded by the Orleanists after his death (due to their actions during the French Revolution as well as during the Revolution of 1830) and that Henri might have been more willing to compromise had he had a non-Orleanist heir to the French throne.

Ultimately, I don't see a non-annexation of Alsace-Lorraine changing any of these factors.
 
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