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When France Came to Germany

Updated: Mar 5

As I mentioned in my posting 20 YEARS OF FRENCH GERMANY, in 1794, French armies occupied Germany up to the Rhine, and then incorporated that territory into France; Napoleon would go on to annex even more.

What did a generation of being French (1794 and 1801 to 1814) do to that stretch of Germany?

Europeans were accustomed to war shifting borders over their heads, but the French Revolution upheaved and changed life like nothing else. French had long been the most prestigious language, but now governance at the higher levels was in French. French law, social leveling, the industrial revolution poured in.

The pace of French words entering German picked up. To sound tony, the old Oheim und Basen und Vetter (uncles and aunts and cousins) become Onkel, Tanten, Cousins (from oncles, tants, cousins).