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Territory of the Saar Basin

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Territory of the Saar Basin
Saarbeckengebiet, Saarterritorium  (German)
Territoire du Bassin de la Sarre  (French)
Flag of Saar
Coat of arms of Saar
Coat of arms
Map of the Territory of the Saar Basin (purple).
Map of the Territory of the Saar Basin (purple).
StatusTerritory under League of Nations protection
Common languagesFrench
Rhine Franconian
Moselle Franconian
GovernmentSpecial territory
Commission Chairman 
• 1920–1926
Victor Rault
• 1926–1927
George W. Stephens, Jr.
• 1927–1932
Sir Ernest Collins Wilton
• 1932–1935
Sir Geoffrey Knox
Historical eraInterwar period
10 January 1920
13 January 1935
• Disestablished
1 March 1935
• 1933
CurrencySaar franc
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Free State of Prussia
Rhenish Prussia
Free State of Bavaria
Circle of Rhine
Gau Westmark
Today part of Germany

The Territory of the Saar Basin (German: Saarbeckengebiet, Saarterritorium;[1] French: Le Territoire du Bassin de la Sarre) was usually called the Saar or the German: Saargebiet. It was a territory governed by the League of Nations under the Treaty of Versailles[2] for 15 years from 1920.

Its population in 1933 was 812,000, and its capital was Saarbrücken.[3]

It was made up of parts of the Prussian Rhine Province and the Bavarian Palatinate of the Rhine. It was slightly smaller than the modern German state of Saarland.[4]

Commission of Government[change | change source]

According to Treaty of Versailles the highly industrialized Saarland was to be governed by the League of Nations for a period of 15 years, and its coalfields given to France. The Commission of Government, which represented the League of Nations, had five members. At least one member had to be French and one a native of the Saar.[5]

At the end of the 15 year period, in 1935, the people of the Saar voted on how they wanted their country. They voted to become a part of Nazi Germany.

It had a currency, the Saar franc, and its own postage stamps during this period.

Chairmen of the Commission[change | change source]

The League of Nations' control to the region was represented by the following Chairmen of the Commission of Government:[3]

Plebiscite[change | change source]

In 1933, many anti-Nazi Germans fled to the Saar, as it was the only part of Germany left outside the Third Reich's control. As a result, anti-Nazi groups wanted the Saarland to remain under control of League of Nations as long as Adolf Hitler ruled Germany. However, France had a lot of power in the Saar, including control of the coal mines. Not many Saarlanders liked France, and in the plebiscite on 13 January 1935, 90% of the voters wished to join Germany, and 8.86% wanted to stay with the League of Nations. Only 0.40% (that is, four voters in every thousand) wanted to join France.

Nazi rule[change | change source]

Germany in 1941. The Saar and part of Occupied France was called Westmark. It is shown in a dark yellow tone.

On 17 January 1935, the territory's re-union with Germany was approved by the League Council. On 1 March, the Nazi Germany took over the region, and appointed Josef Bürckel as Reichskommissar für die Rückgliederung des Saarlandes, "Reich Commissioner for the re-union of Saarland".

Many former politicians and office holders of the Saargebiet were changed or arrested by the Nazis.

When re-incorporation was completed, the governor became Reichskommissar für das Saarland, "Reich Commissioner of Saarland" on 17 June 1936.

Related pages[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. 1952 (in German). Walter de Gruyter. 2000-01-01. ISBN 9783486718324.
  2. Article 45-50 with Annex, Treaty of Versailles
  3. 3.0 3.1 Saarland in the page about Germany on WorldStatesmen.org
  4. The extent of the territory is specified in Article 48, Treaty of Versailles
  5. Paragraph 16-17, Chapter II, Annex to Article 45-50, Treaty of Versailles

Other websites[change | change source]