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map of Alemannic speaking areas

Alemannic Separatism is a historical movement of separatism of the Alemannic German speaking areas of Germany, France and Austria (viz., Swabia, Alsace and Vorarlberg), aiming at an unification with the Swiss Confederacy. The historic origins of the movement lay in the Napoleonic era (ca. 1805-1815) and it was briefly revived both after the end of World War I (1919) and after the end of World War II (1946-1952).

The term "Alemannic" for the group of High German dialects was introduced by Johann Peter Hebel in 1803, who named them for the Alamanni tribes of the Migration period. The creation of the new states of Baden, Württemberg and Bavaria in 1805 separated the Alemannic speaking areas of Germany, and the Alemannic dialects began to be subjected to a process of marginalization from a non-Alemannic administration. Alemannic separatism arose in the context of the resistance of the rural population of Baden against Napoleonic rule within the Confederation of the Rhine (1806-1813).

After World War I, on 11 May 1919, the population of Vorarlberg within the short-lived state of German Austria voted for secession to Switzerland with 81% of the popular vote. The request was denier both by the government in Vienna and by Switzerland. Similar tendencies in Baden and Württemberg were repressed before a vote was taken.

After the end of World War II, there was a political movement in southern Alsace and South Baden, originating from resistance movements against the Nazi regime, which aimed for the creation of a separate Alemannic state together with the Swiss canton of Basel. Otto Feger (1946) suggested a decentral organization of a "Swabian-Alemannic democracy" inspired by the Swiss model of direct democracy, while Bernhard Dietrich, mayor of Singen, aimed at a larger "Alpine union" which was to include also Bavarian speaking territories and the German-speaking parts of the Swiss Confederation. Feger's 1946 Schwäbisch-Alemannische Demokratie with 240,000 copies was the most-printed book in French-administered Germany (1945-1949). The organisational backbone of Alemannic separatism was the Schwäbisch-Alemannischer Heimatbund, but the French administration was unsympathetic and refused the permission required for the foundation of a political party with the aim of such an Alemannic state. The current Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg within the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in 1952, effectively ending any serious political scenarios of Alemannic separatism, although the concept remains alive as a nostalgic sentiment rather than a political program particularly in South Baden.

References

  • Otto Feger: Schwäbisch-alemannische Demokratie: Aufruf und Programm. Weller, Konstanz 1946.
  • Heiko Haumann: „Schwäbisch-alemannische Demokratie“ gegen „Staufisch-schwäbischen Imperialismus“? Politische Konzeptionen in Baden und Württemberg 1945–1952. In: Allmende. Zeitschrift für Literatur. Bd. 8, Nr. 20, Karlsruhe 1988, 36–52, ISSN 0720-3098.
  • Manfred Joss: Schwäbisch-Alemannische Demokratie. Vision und Scheitern eines Separatstaats im deutschen Südwesten nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Lizentiatsarbeit, Historisches Institut, Universität Bern 2005.
  • Jürgen Klöckler: „Das Land der Alemannen …“. Pläne für einen Heimatstaat im Bodenseeraum nach 1945. UVK Verlagsgesellschaft, Konstanz 1999, ISBN 3-89669-906-7.

See also

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