School of History, UCC
Dr Detmar Klein, School of History, UCC
Thursday 31 March 2022, 16.00 (4 PM)
The paper will be delivered through MS Teams. Links can be obtained from Dr Jérôme aan de Wiel, School of History, UCC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paper This presentation explores ‘le ridicule’ in Alsace under Imperial-German rule from two angles: 1) the insensitive and often heavy-handed but ridiculous German policies in administering Alsace-Lorraine, policies which aimed at a thorough Germanisation and were driven by a German radical-nationalist agenda; and 2) the Alsatian responses to such Germanisation in the form of using humour as a ‘weapon’ to fight back. Alsace thus became a battleground of a culture war before real war broke out in 1914 – with ‘Frenchness’, ‘Germanness’ and ‘Alsatianness’ as the protagonists of an identity war that tells us about the national identity of Alsatians as much as it does about the aggressive yet strangely insecure nationalism of a Germany that could not tolerate any expressions of ‘Frenchness’ on the part of their ‘reclaimed German brothers of 1871’. Dr Detmar Klein is Lecturer in Modern European History at University College Cork and is currently working on a monograph on ‘Alsace and Imperial Germany, 1871-1918’.