This article explores the ways in which French intellectuals understood the changing and intersecting relationships between France and Germany, France and Alsace-Lorraine, and France and Africa during the early twentieth-century expansion of the French empire. The body of the text analyzes the interdisciplinary discussions of Paul Desjardins, Charles Gide, and their academic and activist colleagues at the Union pour la vérité (Union for Truth) and its Libres entretiens (Open Conversations) in the immediate aftermath of the First and Second Moroccan Crises. Focusing on the Union's 1905–1906 and 1912–1913 debates over the issues of nationalism, internationalism, imperialism, and colonization provides a new understanding of the relationship between French national identity and French imperial identity. The conclusion explains how and why this group of largely progressive French political analysts simultaneously rejected German expansion into France and justified French expansion across the African continent.
French Discussions of French and German Politics, Culture, and Colonialism in the Deliberations of the Union for Truth, 1905–1913
Jean Elisabeth Pedersen
The Dreyfus Affair in the Notebooks of Henri Vever
Willa Z. Silverman
This article analyzes representations of the Dreyfus Affair in the private diaries written between 1898 and 1901 by Henri Vever, a prominent Art Nouveau jeweler, art collector, and small-town mayor. The important place accorded the Affair in these “ordinary writings“ by an individual with no direct engagement in it offers an opportunity to assess how historical events become enmeshed with private life, mentalités, and sociability. Further, Vever's notebooks reveal position taking during the Affair as a complex phenomenon, in Vever's case influenced by circumstances encompassing his identity as both a native of Lorraine, marked by France's defeat in 1870, and a Republican notable and Parisian businessman. While Vever's notebooks corroborate some standard themes of Dreyfus Affair historiography, including the importance of the press and the eclipsing of the Affair by the 1900 World's Fair, they also nuance the idea of a rigid ideological division between Dreyfusards and anti-Dreyfusards.
Jean Elisabeth Pedersen
“What is a nation?” Ernest Renan’s famous rhetorical question to an audience at the Sorbonne on 11 March 1882 has remained vital for a wide variety of scholars in fields as diverse as history, literary criticism, sociology, philosophy, and political science. Renan initially posed the question barely ten years after the close of the Franco-Prussian War, which had sparked the establishment of the French Third Republic, the unification of Germany under the leadership of Wilhelm I, and the transfer of the disputed territory of Alsace-Lorraine from French to German control in the months between July 1870 and May 1871. Renan made no overt mention of these events while he was speaking, but he rejected any possible answer to his question that might attempt to base the creation of nations and national identities on shared “race, language, [economic] interests, religious affinity, geography, [or] military necessities.” This explicit refusal constituted an implicit rejection of the entire range of German justifications for the acquisition of the two recently French border provinces.
. Quant à l’Est de la France, l’Alsace-Lorraine est intégrée au territoire français ; qui plus est, il situe l’Est de la France dans le cadre d’un espace géologique qui déborde largement sur l’Allemagne 53 . Dans l’ensemble de la France, c’est notamment l
Friedrich Ratzel’s Impact on German Education from the Wilhelmine Empire to the Third Reich
geographic features such as mountains and rivers 43 or geographic regions. 44 Virtually all of the textbooks remarked that, “France’s natural resources make it one of the richest nations in the world.” 45 An area that received special attention was Alsace-Lorraine
Allan Mitchell, 1933—2016
between the two countries following the swift German victory over Napoleon III, the occupation of the Northern départements , the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, and the imposition of reparations. It was all about French “revanchism.” To be sure, Allan
Langues, nations, et territoires dans la réorganisation de l’Europe après la Première guerre mondiale
si, à la fin de la guerre francoprussienne [de 1870–1871], la frontière internationale de l’Alsace-Lorraine avait été établie en conformité avec les faits linguistiques, beaucoup de l’amère animosité de ces dernières années aurait pu être évitée.” 117