The first major English-language work on Alsace-Lorraine and imperial Germany in over fifty years, Reluctant Union revises many of the commonly held notions about the German annexation and rule of the territory that came to be known as the Reichsland.
Concentrating on the territory's internal development between 1871 and 1918, and its relationship to imperial Germany, Dr. Silverman rejects the traditional treatment of Alsace-Lorraine as merely an object of international tension. The territory's population is viewed as a pluralistic society, not as a monolithic, hostile anti-German phalanx. The role of chauvinistic sentiment is placed in proper perspective; for the Alsace-Lorrainers, political and economic considerations often outweighed nationalistic preferences.
In showing that German authority was seriously divided between conciliation and coercion, Dr. Silverman dismisses the widespread assumption that the German bureaucracy was invariably repressive in its attempts to integrate the Reichsland into the empire. In fact, the confusion and vacillation produced by the conflicts between imperial civilian and military authorities reactivated political life in Alsace-Lorraine. This political reawakening led to a closer tie between the Reichsland and the empire, but opposition from German industrial interests obstructed economic integration.
Alsace-Lorraine's political, social, and economic history from 1871 to 1918 has never before been investigated in such depth. Dr. Silverman's description and analysis of this period details the Reichsland's administrative and constitutional history; outlines German programs for Alsace-Lorraine in the critical areas of citizenship option, military service, language requirements, and education; traces the German government's attempts to regulate and suppress the Roman Catholic Church in Alsace-Lorraine; and includes a highly interpretive survey of the Reichsland's economic history, which complements the portrayal of the development of territorial political parties. Free from the nationalistic bias that detracts from most studies of Alsace-Lorraine, Reluctant Union fills a major gap in the history of imperial Germany and modern Europe.
|Publisher:||Penn State University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.25(w) x 9.31(h) x 1.00(d)|