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Europe/Germany : Saar / Saarland

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HockeyNut
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26 Jun 2020
05:53:15am
German : Saarland / French: Sarre
is a state of Germany in the west of the country.
With an area of 2,570 km2 (990 sq mi) and population of 995,600 in 2015, it is the smallest German state in both area and population apart from the city-states of Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg.

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Saarbrücken is the state capital and largest city; other cities include Neunkirchen and Saarlouis.
Saarland is mainly surrounded by the department of Moselle in France to the west and south and the neighboring state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany to the north and east;
it also shares a small border approximately 5 miles long with the canton of Remich in Luxembourg to the northwest.

Saarland was established in 1920 after World War I as the Territory of the Saar Basin, occupied and governed by France under a League of Nations mandate.
The heavily industrialized region was economically valuable, due to the wealth of its coal deposits and location on the border between France and Germany.
Saarland was returned to Nazi Germany in the 1935 Saar status referendum.
Following World War II, the French military administration in Allied-occupied Germany organized the territory as the Saar Protectorate from 1947.
After the 1955 Saar Statute referendum, it joined the Federal Republic of Germany as a state on 1 January 1957. Saarland used its own currency, the Saar franc, and postage stamps issued specially for the territory until 1959.


Before World War I
The region of the Saarland was settled by the Celtic tribes of Treveri and Mediomatrici.
The most impressive relic of their time is the remains of a fortress of refuge at Otzenhausen in the north of the Saarland.
In the 1st century BC, the Roman Empire made the region part of its province of Belgica.
The Celtic population mixed with the Roman immigrants. The region gained wealth, which can still be seen in the remains of Roman villas and villages.

Roman rule ended in the 5th century, when the Franks conquered the territory.
For the next 1,300 years the region shared the history of the Kingdom of the Franks, the Carolingian Empire and of the Holy Roman Empire.
The region of the Saarland was divided into several small territories, some of which were ruled by sovereigns of adjoining regions.
Most important of the local rulers were the counts of Nassau-Saarbrücken.
Within the Holy Roman Empire these territories gained a wide range of independence, threatened, however, by the French kings, who sought, from the 17th century onwards, to incorporate all the territories on the western side of the river Rhine and repeatedly invaded the area in 1635, in 1676, in 1679 and in 1734, extending their realm to the Saar River and establishing the city and stronghold of Saarlouis in 1680.

It was not the king of France but the armies of the French Revolution who terminated the independence of the states in the region of the Saarland.
After 1792 they conquered the region and made it part of the French Republic. While a strip in the west belonged to the Département Moselle, the centre in 1798 became part of the Département de Sarre, and the east became part of the Département du Mont-Tonnerre.
After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the region was divided again.
Most of it became part of the Prussian Rhine Province. Another part in the east, corresponding to the present Saarpfalz district, was allocated to the Kingdom of Bavaria.
A small part in the northeast was ruled by the Duke of Oldenburg.

On 31 July 1870, the French Emperor Napoleon III ordered an invasion across the River Saar to seize Saarbrücken.
The first shots of the Franco-Prussian War 1870/71 were fired on the heights of Spichern, south of Saarbrücken.
The Saar region became part of the German Empire which came into existence on 18 January 1871, during the course of this war.


Interwar history
In 1920 the Saargebiet was occupied by Britain and France under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles.
The occupied area included portions of the Prussian Rhine Province and the Bavarian Rhenish Palatinate.
In practice the region was administered by France. In 1920 this was formalized by a 15-year League of Nations mandate.

In 1933, a considerable number of communists and other political opponents of National Socialism fled to the Saar, as it was the only part of Germany that remained outside national administration following the First World War.
As a result, anti-Nazi groups agitated for the Saarland to remain under French administration.
However, with most of the population being ethnically German, such views were considered suspect or even treasonous, and therefore found little support.

When the original 15-year term was over, a plebiscite was held in the territory on 13 January 1935: 90.8% of those voting favoured rejoining Germany.
Following the referendum Josef Bürckel was appointed on 1 March 1935 as the German Reich's commissioner for reintegration (Reichskommissar für die Rückgliederung des Saarlandes).
When the reincorporation was considered accomplished, his title was changed (after 17 June 1936) to Reichskommissar für das Saarland.
In September 1939, in response to the German Invasion of Poland, French forces invaded the Saarland in a half-hearted offensive, occupying some villages and meeting little resistance, before withdrawing.
A further change was made after 8 April 1940 to Reichskommissar für die Saarpfalz; finally, after 11 March 1941, he was made Reichsstatthalter in der "Westmark" (the region's new name, meaning "Western March or Border").
He died on 28 September 1944 and was succeeded by Willi Stöhr, who remained in office until the region fell to advancing American forces in March 1945.


History after World War II
After World War II, the Saarland came under French occupation and administration again, as the Saar Protectorate.
Under the Monnet Plan France attempted to gain economic control of the German industrial areas with large coal and mineral deposits that were not in Soviet hands: the Ruhr and the Saar area.
Attempts to gain control of or permanently internationalize the Ruhr area (see International Authority for the Ruhr) were abandoned in 1951 with the German agreement to pool its coal and steel resources (see European Coal and Steel Community) in return for full political control of the Ruhr.
The French attempt to gain economic control over the Saar was more successful at the time, with the final vestiges of French economic influence not ending until 1981.
France did not annex the Saar or expel the local German population, as opposed to fate of Upper Silesia which was annexed by Poland in 1949 in accordance with the peace treaty between Poland and the GDR/East Germany (see also Allied-occupied Germany).

In his speech "Restatement of Policy on Germany", made in Stuttgart on 6 September 1946, United States Secretary of State James F. Byrnes stated the U.S. motive in detaching the Saar from Germany:
"The United States does not feel that it can deny to France, which has been invaded three times by Germany in 70 years, its claim to the Saar territory".
From 1945 to 1951, a policy of industrial disarmament was pursued in Germany by the Allies (see the industrial plans for Germany).
As part of this policy, limits were placed on production levels, and industries in the Saar were dismantled just as in the Ruhr, although mostly in the period prior to its detachment
(see also the 1949 letter from the UK Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin to the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, urging a reconsideration of the dismantling policy).

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(Flag of Saar from 1947 - 1956)

In 1948, the French government established the Saarland University under the auspices of the University of Nancy.
It is the principal university in the Bundesland, the other being HTW.
The Saar Protectorate was headed by a military governor from 30 August 1945: Gilbert Yves Edmond Grandval (1904 – 1981), who remained, on 1 January 1948, as High Commissioner, and January 1952 – June 1955 as the first of two French ambassadors,
his successor being Éric de Carbonnel (1910 – 1965) until 1956.
Saarland, however, was allowed a regional administration very early, consecutively headed by:

a president of the Government:
31 July 1945 – 8 June 1946: Hans Neureuther, Non-party
a chairman of the (until 15 December 1947, Provisional) Administration Commission:
8 June 1946 – 20 December 1947: Erwin Müller (b. 1906 – d. 1968), non-party
Minister-presidents (as in any Bundesland):
20 December 1947 – 29 October 1955 Johannes Hoffmann (b. 1890 – d. 1967), CVP
29 October 1955 – 10 January 1956 Heinrich Welsch (b. 1888 – d. 1976), Non-party
10 January 1956 – 4 June 1957 Hubert Ney (b. 1892 – d. 1984), CDU

In 1954, France and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) developed a detailed plan called the Saarstatut to establish an independent Saarland.
It was signed as an agreement between the two countries on 23 October 1954 as one of the Paris Pacts, but a plebiscite held on 23 October 1955 rejected it by 67.7%.
On 27 October 1956, the Saar Treaty declared that Saarland should be allowed to join the Federal Republic of Germany, which it did on 1 January 1957.
This was the last significant international border change in Europe until the fall of Communism over 30 years later.

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(Flag of Saarland since 1956)

The Saarland's unification with the Federal Republic of Germany was sometimes referred to as the Kleine Wiedervereinigung ("little reunification", in contrast with the post-Cold War absorption of the GDR (Die Wende)).
After unification, the Saar franc remained as the territory's currency until West Germany's Deutsche Mark replaced it on 7 July 1959.
The Saar Treaty established that French, not English as in the rest of West Germany, should remain the first foreign language taught in Saarland schools; this provision was still largely followed after it was no longer binding.

Since 1971, Saarland has been a member of SaarLorLux, a euroregion created from Saarland, Lorraine, Luxembourg, Rhineland Palatinate, and Wallonia.



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HockeyNut
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26 Jun 2020
05:55:35am
re: Saar / Saarland

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HockeyNut
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26 Jun 2020
05:57:58am
re: Saar / Saarland

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HockeyNut
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26 Jun 2020
06:01:42am
re: Saar / Saarland

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HockeyNut
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26 Jun 2020
06:03:09am
re: Saar / Saarland

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avro748
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26 Jun 2020
06:39:02am
re: Saar / Saarland

hello hockeynut. what a nice display, and informative history of Saarland, must of took you some time to put the collection together, congratulations, all the best ken.

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HockeyNut
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26 Jun 2020
01:09:06pm
re: Saar / Saarland

Hi Ken,

First of all, thank you for your compliment.
I actually stopped actively collecting in 2006.
The modern German Post issues too much stamps and related garbage in the recent years, which costs a lot of money.
And that is the case in many countries.
I had started collecting about 50 years ago and at that time I also visited many stamp fairs.
Now I find it much more fun to know the history behind the various stamps.

And I share that knowledge here on the forum.

Henry

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