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Rhineland

From Academic Kids

The Rhineland (Rheinland in German) is the general name for the land on both sides of the river Rhine in the west of Germany. A geographical term originally, it has also acquired some political and cultural connotations, becoming a political entity as the Prussian Rhine Province, and continuing in the names of the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Rhine Province was created in 1824 by joining the provinces of Lower Rhine and Jlich-Kleve-Berg. Its capital was Koblenz; it had 8.0 million inhabitants (1939). In 1920, the Saarland was separated from the Rhine Province and put under French administration. In the same year, the districts of Eupen and Malmedy were made part of Belgium (see German-Speaking Community of Belgium). In 1946, the Rhine Province was divided up between the newly-founded states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.

Following the Armistice of 1918, Allied forces occupied the Rhineland as far east as the river with some small bridgeheads on the east bank at places like Cologne. This lasted until the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 (formally ending World War I) specified the de-militarization of the entire area to provide a buffer between Germany on one side and France, Belgium and Luxembourg (and to a lesser extent, the Netherlands) on the other side. Allied forces then, more or less promptly, withdrew.

In violation of the Locarno Pact and the Treaty of Versailles, Nazi Germany reoccupied the Rhineland on March 7, 1936. The occupation was done with very little military support and could easily have been stopped had it not been for the appeasement mentality of post-war Europe. The remilitarization of the Rhineland was very popular with locals, however, because of a resurgence of German nationalism and harboured bitterness over the French occupation of the Rhineland until 1926.

Some of the bigger cities in the Rhineland include Aachen, Cologne, Dsseldorf, Duisburg, Koblenz, and Wuppertal.

See also

fr:Rhnanie he:חבל הריין ja:ラインラント nl:Rijnland pl:Nadrenia pt:Rennia sv:Rhenlandet

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