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The Saar Plebiscite, 1935

One of the areas taken from Germany by the Treaty of Versailles was the Saarland, a 2500 square Km region on the border with France. Although small, it was a valuable area, containing coalfields, factories and railway centres.

The Treaty put the Saarland under League of Nations control and allowed the French to run its valuable coal mines for the next fifteen years. At the end of that time the people of the Saar would vote to decide their future. They would have three choices:

  • To remain under League control
  • To return to Germany
  • Or to become part of France

In 1935 the required vote, or plebiscite, was held. Nine out of every ten Saarlanders voted to return to Germany.

For Hitler, this was the first small step towards the union of all Germans in Germany. He was also able to claim that the plebiscite was a demonstration of support for his government.

Germany used propaganda in the form of postage stamps to encourage Saarlanders to return to the Reich