Alsace & Lorraine, German Occupation during the Franco Prussian War (1870 – 1872)

ALBUM - view my Alsace & Lorraine, German Occupation during the FP War Album

Fast Facts

Region:Western Europe
Group: Franco Prussian War Occupations in Western Europe
Classification: Occupation (Germany)
Prior Regime: Empire of France
Key Dates:
  1870, Jul 19 – Outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war
  1870 – German occupation of the Alsace and Lorraine regions
  1871 May 10 – France defeated, Franco-Prussian war ends
  1871 – Alsace-Lorraine region created by the Germany Empire
  1872, Jan 1 – Alsace-Lorraine annexed into the German Empire
Following Regime: German Empire
Scott Catalogue: (France, Occupation Stamps) #N1-N14
Pick Catalogue: none


History

Alsace-Lorraine - The areas of Alsace and Lorraine are regions on the German /French border which has been fought over for centuries. With the demise of the Holy Roman Empire, the Duchy of Lorraine and the region of Alsace became part of the Empire of France.  With the growth of power and ambition of Prussia and her German allies, war ultimately broke out between the two powers in Jul 1870.

Otto von Bismarck and Napoleon III

The Franco-Prussian War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia, which was aided by the North German Confederation, of which Prussia was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and Bavaria.  The conflict only lasted 10 months and the victory ultimately brought about the final unification of Germany under King Wilhelm I of Prussia. It also marked the downfall of Napoleon III and the end of the Second French Empire, which was replaced by the French Third Republic. As part of the peace settlement, Alsace and Lorraine were taken by the victors.  The territory of Alsace-Lorraine (Elsass-Lothringen in German) was created, and was officially annexed into the newly formed German Empire on 1 Jan 1872.

Eventually, the territories were returned to France at the end of World War I in the Treaty of Versailles.
FE - Alsace Lorraine, Ger Occ FP War Map

Stamps

ALBUM
During the 1870 occupation of Alsace and Lorraine, Germany issued stamps for the province with values expressed in French currency. Seven denominations were issued, in which there are two varieties. Background network points up, and background network points down.

These issues have the distinction of being the first occupation stamps ever issued. They were valid for use throughout occupied France until the end of the war, when they became valid for use only in Alsace and Lorraine until the region was incorporated into the German Empire and German stamps came into use.

Official imitations of all values were made in 1885 in Hamburg. Imitations are of the network down variety and since new plates were made for the text, the easiest way to distinguish imitations is as follows: Draw an imaginary line from the upper left corner of the rectangular border to the lower right corner. The line should pass through the lower part of the ‘P‘, while on reprints it will pass just below the center of the ‘P’.

Banknotes

none

Links:

Map of Franco Prussian War
Linn’s Stamp News Article on Occupation Stamps

Victorious German troops march through the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, June 16, 1871
This entry was posted in Franco Prussian War, Germany / Poland Area, Military Occupations, Western Europe. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Alsace & Lorraine, German Occupation during the Franco Prussian War (1870 – 1872)

  1. Roger says:

    I am looking for a small village named Bremelbach. Does it show up on any of your maps during this time? Or could you lead me to a source?

    Thank you.

    R

  2. Brad Powe says:

    Thank you for the info.

    Please note that the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 at the end of World War 1, not WW2

    • Michael says:

      Brad,
      Thank you for your comment, and pointing out my typo. Yes of course the Treaty of Versailles was a key treaty after World War 1 and I will make the correction. I am really happy for people to let me know when they see errors, as it will only make the site better.

      Michael

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA Image

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>