GHDI logo
German History in Documents and Images
return to system

Geographical Distribution of Protestants and Catholics (1890)
This map shows why Catholics in the German Empire [Reich] felt marginalized – figuratively and literally. Areas in which Catholics constituted a high proportion of the population included most of Bavaria, the Rhineland, and the provinces (Alsace, Lorraine) taken from France in 1871. In the east, a more heterogeneous mix of confessions reflected the interpenetration of ethnic Germans and Poles. Because Catholics were most prevalent in these “borderlands,” it was all the easier for Bismarck and German liberals to stigmatize them as “enemies of the Empire" [Reichsfeinde]