France, Prussia or Germany? The Napoleonic Wars and Shifting Allegiances in the Rhineland

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Michael Rowe discusses the Rhineland, and more specifically, the region on the left (or west) bank of the Rhine bounded in the north and west by the Low Countries and France. This German-speaking region was occupied by the armies of revolutionary France after 1792. De jure annexation followed the Treaty of Lunéville (1801), and French rule lasted until 1814. Most of the Rhineland was awarded in 1815 to Prussia and remained a constituent part until after the Second World War. The Rhineland experienced Napoleonic rule first hand. Its four departments—the Roër, Rhin-et-Moselle, Sarre, and Mont-Tonnerre—were treated like the others in metropolitan France, and it is this status that makes the region distinct in German-speaking Europe. This had consequences both in the Napoleonic period and in the century that followed the departure of the last French soldier. Michael Rowe was promoted to Reader in European History in 2017, having joined King’s College London as a Lecturer in 2004. Prior to this, he was a Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast (1999-2004). He held a Prize Research Fellowship at Nuffield College Oxford (1996-1999), previously completing his PhD at Cambridge University (1993-1996), and did his first (BA) degree in Medieval and Modern History in King’s College London (1989-1992).

Image courtesy of interviewee

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