World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0003583110
Reproduction Date:

Title: Saargebiet  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Wallerfangen, Allied-occupied Germany, Free State of Prussia, Waggonfabrik Fuchs, Census in Germany
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Territory of the Saar Basin
Saarbeckengebiet  (German)
Le Territoire du Bassin de la Sarre  (French)

Flag Coat of arms
Map of the Territory of the Saar Basin (purple).
Capital Saarbrücken
Government Special 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 era Interwar period
 -  Treaty of Versailles 10 January 1920
 -  Plebiscite 13 January 1935
 -  Disestablished 1 March 1935
 -  1933 est. 812,000 
Currency Saar franc
Today part of  Germany

The Territory of the Saar Basin (French: Le Territoire du Bassin de la Sarre; German: Saarbeckengebiet ), also referred as the Saar or Saargebiet, was a region of Germany occupied and governed by the United Kingdom and France from 1920 to 1935 under a League of Nations mandate. Initially, the occupation was under the auspices of the Treaty of Versailles.[1] Its population in 1933 was 812,000, and its capital was Saarbrücken.[2] The Territory closely corresponds with the modern German state of Saarland, but was slightly smaller in area.[3] After a plebiscite was held in 1935, it was restored to Germany.

Commission of Government

Under the Treaty of Versailles, the highly industrialized Saarland was to be occupied and governed by the United Kingdom and France under a League of Nations mandate for a period of fifteen years. Its coalfields were also to be ceded to France. During this time, the Saarland was governed by a five-person Commission made up of representatives of the occupation forces. Under the terms of the mandate, the Commission had to include at least one French person and one German resident of the Saar.[4] After that time, a plebiscite would be implemented to determine the Saar's future status.

The Territory comprised the portions of the Prussian Rhine Province and the Bavarian Palatinate of the Rhine and the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, with had a significant number of the miners, working in the Saar coal mines, among the population. It issued its own postage stamps and currency (the Saar franc).

Chairman of the Commission

The Saar region was governed by the following Chairmen of the Commission of Government:

  • Victor Rault, France (26 February 1920 – 31 March 1926)
  • George Washington Stephens, Canada (1 April 1926 – 9 June 1927)
  • Sir Ernest Colville Collins Wilton, United Kingdom (9 June 1927 – 31 March 1932)
  • Sir Geoffrey George Knox, United Kingdom (1 April 1932 – 28 February 1935)


Main article: Saar status referendum, 1935

In 1933, a considerable number of political opponents of National Socialism moved to the Saar, as it was the only part of Germany that remained under foreign occupation following World War I. As a result, anti-Nazi groups agitated for the Saarland to remain under British and French occupation under a League of Nations mandate. However, as most of the region's population was German, the mandate was unpopular. A plebiscite was held in the territory on 13 January 1935.

With Adolf Hitler anxious for the propaganda advantages of the return of the Saar to Germany, Joseph Goebbels designed a concerted campaign to sway voters. The support of the local Catholic authorities for a return also helped, as did concerns about Bolshevism, against which Hitler was seen as a bulwark.[5] With a voter participation of 98%, the result of the plebiscite was that the overwhelming majority, 90.8%, voted to re-join the German Reich, with only 8.8% wanting to retain the status quo, primarily as they did not wish to be ruled by Nazis. A third option of joining France received 0.4% of the vote.

Following the vote, Hitler announced that Germany "had no further territorial demands to make of France".[5]

Nazi rule

On 17 January 1935, the territory's reunion with Germany was approved by the League Council. On 1 March, Germany re-integrated the region into the German Reich, appointing Josef Bürckel as Reichskommissar für die Rückgliederung des Saarlandes, "Reich Commissioner for the reincorporation of the Saarland".

Many opponents of Nazism who had taken refuge in the territory and former politicians and office holders of the Saar who had collaborated with the occupation were imprisoned.

When re-incorporation was considered complete, the governor's title was changed again to Reichskommissar für das Saarland, "Reich Commissioner for the Saarland", on 17 June 1936. As the new Gau was extended to the Rhine, including the historic Palatinate, the region's name was changed again on 8 April 1940 to Saarpfalz, "Saar-Palatinate".

After the Battle of France, the re-annexed territory of Lorraine was incorporated in the Reichsgau. The region's name was finalized on 11 March 1941 as Westmark, meaning "Western March" or "Western Boundary", with its governor styled as Reichsstatthalter in der Westmark, "Reich Governor in the Western March". On 28 September 1944 Josef Bürckel committed suicide, and he was succeeded by Willi Stöhr until 21 March 1945, when the region was again occupied by France.

French protectorate

Main article: Saar (protectorate)

After World War II, a French protectorate was established within borders similar to those of the Territory. A referendum was held on 23 October 1955 which ended French rule and influence. Shortly thereafter, the Saarland once again re-joined Germany.

See also

Germany portal


External links

  • Saarland: Heads of Administration: 1920-1935
  • Saarland in the page about Germany on
  • Part III - Political Clauses for Europe, Treaty of Versailles

Coordinates: 49°23′N 6°50′E / 49.383°N 6.833°E / 49.383; 6.833

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.