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A Constitution for Alsace-Lorraine (1911)

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The Prussian government can justify the proposed arrangement with the consideration that the governor, if his instructions to the Alsace-Lorraine votes create a serious conflict with the presidential power, would be in a position, at most, to request his dismissal. For that reason, it must be explicitly stipulated through a law protected by the guarantees of Article 78 of the Reich Constitution that the proposed granting of voting rights shall be valid only as long as the position of the Kaiser and his governor, as it currently stands under state law and is maintained in the bill, remains unchanged.

Even if the Alsace-Lorraine votes, in view of the proposed restrictions, will not be completely equal to the votes of the federal states, the granting of this voting right will result for Alsace-Lorraine in an extraordinary increase in its influence within the Reich. There will be a compelling necessity to pay greater heed to the wishes of Alsace-Lorraine than is currently the case. Above all, Alsace-Lorraine, by virtue of its participation – with voting rights – in the committees of the Bundesrat, the detailed regulation of which can be reserved to later considerations, will be put in a position of exercising influence on the shape of Bundesrat decisions already in their formative stages.

There is thus reason to expect that the granting of Bundesrat votes to Alsace-Lorraine under this arrangement will be received with satisfaction, and will prompt the Reichstag to set aside more far-reaching demands.

Source: Denkschrift des Reichsamts des Innern zur elsaß-lothringischen Verfassungsfrage [Memorandum from the Ministry of the Interior on the Question of a Constitution for Alsace-Lorraine] (1911), Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, E 74 Bü 163.

Original German text reprinted in Hans Fenske, ed., Quellen zur deutsche Innenpolitik 1890-1914 [Sources on German Domestic Politics 1890-1914]. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellchaft, 1991, pp. 389-92.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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