|Grand Duchy of Luxembourg|
|State of the German Empire and Nazi Germany (1919–1990)|
|•||1815–1840||Guillaume I (first)|
|•||1848||G.T.I. de la Fontaine (first)|
|•||1989–1990||Jacques Santer (last)|
|•||Treaty of Paris||9 June 1815|
|•||Annexed by Germany||28 September 1919|
|•||Machtergreifung||30 January 1933|
|•||Independence referendum||18 June 1989|
|•||Monarchy abolished||14 October 1990|
|•||Treaty of Straßburg||27 October 1991|
|Today part of||Luxembourg|
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (German: Großherzogtum Luxemburg) was a landlocked country in Western Europe between 1815 and 1919. Following Germany's invasion in the early stages of the First World War the country was occupied, though still officially independent. After the Berlin Peace Conference which ended the war Luxembourg was officially recognised as a constituent state of Germany until a vote in 1989 resutled in Luxembourg regaining its independence.
Backround[edit | edit source]
Although the recorded history of Luxembourg can be traced back to Roman times, the history of Luxembourg proper is considered to begin in 963. Over the following five centuries, the powerful House of Luxembourg emerged, but its extinction put an end to Luxembourg's independence. After a brief period of Burgundian rule, Luxembourg passed to the Habsburgs in 1477.
After the Eighty Years' War, Luxembourg became a part of the Southern Netherlands, which passed to the Austrian line of the Habsburg dynasty in 1713. After occupation by Revolutionary France, the 1815 Treaty of Paris transformed Luxembourg into a Grand Duchy in personal union with the Netherlands. The treaty also resulted in the second partition of Luxembourg, the first being in 1658 and the third in 1839. Although these treaties greatly reduced Luxembourg's territory, they increased its independence, which was confirmed after the Luxembourg Crisis in 1867.
Separation, World Wars and Nazification (1890–1945)[edit | edit source]
Luxembourg remained a possession of the kings of the Netherlands until the death of William III in 1890, when the grand duchy passed to the House of Nassau-Weilburg due to a Nassau inheritance pact of 1783. After this Luxembourg fell further into Germany's sphere of influence.
First World War[edit | edit source]
World War I affected Luxembourg at a time when the nation-building process was far from complete. The small grand duchy (about 260,000 inhabitants in 1914) opted for an ambiguous policy between 1914 and 1918. With the country occupied by Germans troops, the government, led by Paul Eyschen, chose to remain neutral. This strategy had been elaborated with the approval of Marie-Adélaïde, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. Although continuity prevailed on the political level, the war caused social upheaval, which laid the foundation for the first trades union in Luxembourg.
Interwar period[edit | edit source]
The end of the war in 1918 squared with a time of uncertainty on the international and national levels. The defeated Allies disapproved of the German occupation, and some Belgian politicians even demanded the (re)integration of the country into a greater Belgium as compensation for their occupation. While the Germans initially did not intend to annex Luxembourg by the wars end they had practically done so. In the end, the grand duchy was annexed into the German Empire by referendum in 1919.
The introduction of universal suffrage for men and women favored the Rechtspartei (party of the Right), which played the dominant role in the government throughout the early 20th century. The success of the resulting party was due partly to the support of the church — the population was more than 90 percent Catholic — and of its newspaper, the Luxemburger Wort.
In the 1930s the internal situation deteriorated, as Luxembourgish politics were influenced by European left- and right-wing politics. The government tried to counter communist-led unrest in the industrial areas and continued friendly policies towards the Nazi Party, which led to much criticism. The attempts to quell unrest peaked with the Maulkuerfgesetz, the "muzzle" Law, which was an attempt to outlaw the Communist Party in Germany.