The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







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 Bundesländer Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Rhine Province was created in 1824 by joining the provinces of Lower Rhine and Jülich-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 1946, the Rhine Province was divided up between the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.

The Treaty of Versailles (1919) specified the de-militarisation of the entire area after World War I 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.

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 harbored bitterness over French occupation of the Rhineland until 1926.

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