Today’s session will start at 2:00 p.m. and end at 4:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. Lecture. France shares borders with Belgium, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, and — most significantly in relation to Alsace — Germany. The original inhabitants were conquered by Rome in the 1st Century BCE. They, in turn, were overrun by Germanic peoples who were later conquered by the Franks. In the modern era, the last change of nationality was after World War II. We will learn about this tangled skein of borders and identities over the centuries and how they have affected those who live there. 2:30 p.m. Virtual field trip. Our exploration today will help us understand more about the “border” concept as we examine some of the most significant monuments, memorials, and significant places. We’ll reach the summits of the Grand Ballon — Großer Belchen in German — the highest peak in the Vosges Mountains; Mont Sainte-Odile — Odilienberg in German — with its renowned abbey and enigmatic pagan wall; and pause atop Donon, the “sacred mountain” that was the site of heavy fighting between French and German troops during World War I. We’ll also see other fortified places of the past overlooking the Rhine, among which the most sensational is the Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg, built in the 12th Century. We will mark the memory of two World Wars in Alsace as we see Le Linge, with its remains of German trenches; the necropolis of Kaysersberg; the Memorial of the Ligne Maginot in Markolsheim; and the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in Schirmeck. We will end our field trip at the Memorial d’Alsace Moselle, a fascinating museum exhibiting the history and memories from the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 to the present day. 3:30 p.m. Break. 3:35 p.m. Q&A, wrap-up, and notes for tomorrow. 4:00 p.m. This concludes our program.