Post by SolomonW
Part of the problem here is that it was considered German territory even
by the locals, in both world wars they overwhelmingly fought for
In 1914, they were German subjects, and could be conscripted; and from
1940 onwards they could also be conscripted in to the German army. Do I'm
not sure that who they fought for is relevant!
Britannica has this:
Under German rule, Alsace-Lorraine was classified as a Reichsland
(imperial state) and was denied effective self-government until 1902.
Moreover, its population was initially enthusiastic over the new French
republic, and German rule remained unpopular for some years among the
inhabitants, who continued to protest the German annexation. Thousands of
residents who considered themselves French emigrated during this period.
By 1905, however, many of Alsace-Lorraine’s Roman Catholics had been
alienated by the French republic’s anticlerical policies, and so they
shifted their aspirations toward an autonomous Alsace-Lorraine within the
German Empire. Thereafter, especially with the grant of a constitution in
1911, some progress was made toward Germanization in the region.
Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France in 1919 after World War I. The
French government’s attempts to rapidly assimilate Alsace-Lorraine met
with problems, however, especially in France’s plans to substitute state-
run schools for the region’s traditional church schools and in its
attempts to suppress German newspapers (German being the written language
of 75 percent of the inhabitants). As a consequence, Alsace-Lorraine
developed a strong “home rule” movement in the 1920s and unsuccessfully
sought autonomy within the French Republic.
I'd particularly note that statement about thousands who considered
themselves French leaving. They went to France, presumably, and might in
exile have made a pressure group more effective than their numbers would
suggest - that's happened in similar cases in our own lifetimes.
Wikipedia has more detail, but too much to quote here. Neither of them
make it sound as if the population was enthusiastically German.