National indifference and the return of Alsace to France

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Alison Carrol examines French policies to reintegrate the recovered region of Alsace into France after the First World War. As integration programs became increasingly contentious, administrators sent from Paris to Alsace read the situation through the lens of German influence. No French administrator used the term ‘national indifference’, but their worries bear a striking similarity to those expressed with regard to so-called nationally indifferent populations in East Central Europe at the turn of the twentieth century: bilingualism, intermarriage, and Catholicism each represented alternative points of loyalty to the French nation, as well as sources of concern to the French government.


Image courtesy of interviewee

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