On September 28, 1870, after heavy bombardment, during the Siege of Strasbourg, the French were forced to surrender the heavily fortified fortress. The Municipal Library housed in the Dominican church, with its unique collection of medieval manuscripts, rare Renaissance books and historical artifacts were destroyed by fire, as were many other Gothic buildings in the city center. Of the population of 150,000 people, over 600 were left dead and 3,200 were wounded and left without shelter. Strasbourg was surrendered to the Prussian General August von Werder and thus became part of the German Empire.
In 1919, following the Treaty of Versailles, the city was returned to France in accordance with U.S. President Woodrow Wilson‘s “Fourteen Points.” With this many Germans left Strasbourg and went back to Germany. It wasn’t until in June of 1940 during World War II and after the Fall of France, that Alsace was annexed by Germany again. The final Liberation of Strasbourg took place on 23 November 1944, thus returning the Alsace district to France.
Note that the spelling of the city’s name changed depending on the official language used at the time.
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