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


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


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’.




Alsace-Lorraine from Wikipedia
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.

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

  1. H K Prakash says:

    I dont know how far back the France-Germany rivalry over Alsace-Lorraine goes, but I have read the following
    In Sept 1683, the Turks had reached and were besieging Vienna. Rivals Germans and Poles made a rare peace and joined to fight them back. The leadership was given to the senior noble present, ie King Sobieski of Poland but many Germans played a key part in the resounding defeat of the Turks.
    H K Prakash INDIA

    • Michael says:

      Hi H.K. Welcome to DCStamps.
      This is a tough area, and there are still strong feelings about the region. I would not believe everything you read, rather check out a lot of your sources.

  2. peter says:

    Hello, I have just come across this site and am looking for information concerning my Grand Father. I am trying to find the name of the village in Alsace-Lorraine where he grew up. His name was Edouard Weiss, born 1 June 1883. He served in North Africa with the French Zouave Regiment roughly between 1901 & 1905. Can anyone advise me about any likely digitized sites such as french military records.
    Bonjour, je viens sur ce site et je suis à la recherche d’informations concernant Mon Grand Père. Je suis en train de trouver le nom du village en Alsace-Lorraine où il a grandi. Son nom était Edouard Weiss, né le 1er Juin 1883. Il a servi en Afrique du Nord avec le régiment des Zouaves français à peu près entre 1901 et 1905. Quelqu’un peut-il me conseiller à propos de tous les sites susceptibles numérisés tels que les dossiers militaires français.
    Many thanks Peter

    • Michael says:

      Hi Peter

      Sorry I cannot help you. I would suggest a genealogy site to get you started. Try, or the Mormon Church genealogy library.

      Good Luck.


  3. Wayne Bonertz says:

    Trying to locate relatives in Trier or Sarrbruchen. There name may be spelled: Bonerhertz, Bonehertz or Bonhertz. Any assistance or direction would be most helpful.

    • Michael says:

      Hi Wayne

      I am sorry, there is not much I can help you with on this. Have you tried contacting someone in the local government or searching for the German Phone directory in Saarbrücken?


  4. Jon alias Blaamand says:

    Michael, that’s so kind. I have seen lots of similar notes in your other albums, and it is really helpful. This really turns your pages into a study and reference source. Keep it up!

  5. Jon alias Blaamand says:

    Excellent stuff – and finally I found an easy way to identify reprints on these issues. I am concerned however that not many of mine will stand the test. Remains to see, almost a bit reluctant to check….
    Thanks for sharing anyway!!

    • Michael says:

      Glad they are helpful. If I know how to distinguish genuine stamps from others I try to include it on the album to help others do the same.

  6. Eddie castaneda says:

    I have some old Argentina stamps how much will you offer me?

    • Michael says:

      Hi Eddie
      Thank you for visiting DCStamps. I don’t collect stamps from Argentina. I would suggest you find a local dealer in your area to give you an estimate of the value of your stamps.
      Good Luck

  7. 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.


  8. 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:

      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.


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