Primary Documents - French Proclamation on Invasion of Alsace, 7 August 1914

French Commander-in-Chief Joseph Joffre With the onset of war in war in Europe in August 1914 France rapidly set about implementing its pre-war plan of retaking Alsace and Lorraine - territories ceded to Germany in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.

Following the entry of French troops into Alsace (at Mulhouse) the French Army Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Joffre, issued the proclamation reproduced below.

The proclamation's triumphant tone was however somewhat premature; in the ensuing Battle of Mulhouse French forces were convincingly evicted from Alsace within two days following the arrival of reserve German forces.

French Proclamation on Invasion of Alsace at Mulhouse
by Joseph Joffre, French Commander-in-Chief

7 August 1914


After forty-four years of sorrowful waiting, French soldiers once more tread the soil of your noble country.  They are the pioneers in the great work of revenge.  For them what emotions it calls forth, and what pride!

To complete the work they have made the sacrifice of their lives.  The French nation unanimously urges them on, and in the folds of their flag are inscribed the magic words, "Right and Liberty."

Long live Alsace.

Long live France.

General-in-Chief of the French Armies,

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. II, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

"Gas Bag" was a slang term for airships.

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