Treaty of Frankfurt (1871)

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The Treaty of Frankfurt (French: Le traité de Francfort; German: Friede von Frankfurt) was a peace treaty signed in Frankfurt on 10 May 1871, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War.



The treaty did the following:

  • Established the frontier between the French Third Republic and the German Empire, which involved the ceding of 1,694 villages and cities under French control to Germany in:
  • Gave residents of the returned Alsace-Lorraine region until 1 October 1872 to decide between keeping their French nationality and emigrating, or remaining in the region and becoming German citizens.
  • Set a framework for the withdrawal of German troops from certain areas.
  • Regulated the payment of France's war indemnity of five billion francs (due within three years).
  • Recognized the acceptance of William I of Prussia as German Emperor.
  • Required military occupation in parts of France until the indemnity was paid (to the surprise of Germany, the French paid the indemnity quickly).

The treaty also established the terms for the following:

  • The use of navigable waterways in connection to Alsace-Lorraine
  • Trade between the two countries
  • The return of prisoners of war

Factors that influenced the boundary


The German military spoke up for control of the Alsace region, up to the Vosges (mountain range) and the area between Thionville (Diedenhofen) and Metz as a requirement for the protection of Germany. Most importantly, the German military regarded control of the route between Thionville and Metz as the most important area of control if there were ever to be a future war with France. [1]

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