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Occupation de la France

et annexion de l’Alsace-Lorraine par l’Allemagne

Timbres-poste et affranchissements 1870-1872

”Occupation of France and annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by Germany - Stamps and postage 1870-1872”
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This book is essential to understand the double franking of mails in Alsace-Lorraine.

The Franco-Prussian war of 1870 ended with the occupation of the northern half of France, in particular Alsace and Lorraine, by the coalition forces of Prussia and other German states. The occupied territories were immediately placed under the control of the Prusssian administration. For the postal services, this resulted in the issue of German occupation stamps and the postal regulations and postage rates of the Post Office of the North German Confederation.

During the hostilities, the interruption of all forms of relations between the belligerents led to the complete cessation of direct postal exchanges between France and the German states. However, within the Occupied Zone, the circulation of mail franked with occupation stamps continued under the control of the North German Confederation Post Office. This situation lasted until February 2, 1871, date of the first Franco-German postal agreement signed a few days after the armistice of January 28, 1871. Several postal agreements evolved over time according to the progress of the peace treaty negotiations, signed in Frankfurt on May 10, 1871, and the changes in postal rates. During this period, and until May 1872, the mail between France and Germany was subjected to a "double port" ("Doppel-Porto") characterized by a double taxation of the mail by the French Post for the routing on the French territory, and by the German Post for the routing on the German territory. This double postage is sometimes materialized by a "double franking" ("Doppel-Frankatur") with French and German postage stamps on the same mail. The regulations, postal conventions and postal rates are analyzed in detail in the book.

The progressive withdrawal of the occupation forces after the peace treaty resulted in the return of French postal services, except in Alsace and Moselle which were annexed to the German Empire. From May 1872 the situation finally normalized with the end of double postage and the establishment of new postage rates between France and Germany. From this moment on, the postal services of the country of departure collected the price of the total routing, national as well as foreign, as it was the case before the war, instead of being paid separately by the users during the period of the double port.

This book offers a glimpse into the diversity, complexity and immense richness of the postal history of Alsace-Lorraine during this period. It is the merit of Jean-Pierre Bournique to have synthesized this history with great clarity. This book remains an absolute reference in French for those who are interested in this troubled period.

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