This video is part of a series of 24 animated maps.

View series: Europe and nations, 1815-1914

An example of an animated map

Annexation of Alsace and Lorraine

This map is part of a series of 24 animated maps showing the history of Europe and nations, 1815-1914.

At the time of the Treaty of Frankfurt, which concluded the Franco-Prussian War, Germany annexes the German speaking lands of Alsace and the north of Lorraine.

This arrangement illustrates two opposing concepts of nationhood: on one hand, the concept resulting from the French Revolution, which bases the nation on the voluntary association of people, and their will to live together; and, on the other hand, the German concept, which bases the nation on a community of language and culture, cemented by a common history, even if this is often largely idealized..

Germany’s annexation of Alsace and Lorraine fosters in France a nostalgia for lost provinces, and prevents any entente between the two countries.