The Rhine before and after 1800: From Common Border Region to Symbol of National Difference


Nationalist mythmaking efforts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries presented the Rhine as a symbol of the Franco-German border. But the perception of the Rhine as an unambiguous border was slow to take hold, and the river continued to be viewed as a shared and divided space well into the nineteenth century. Especially in multilingual regions, people emphasized regional variations that slowly transformed the Rhine from a German space into a French one. It was not until the mid-nineteenth century that the Rhine was regularly marked as a border that identified German and French as opposites. But while writers and painters of historical subjects staged the Rhine as a mythical symbol of Germanness, others caricatured this sort of nationalist pathos.


  1. < What is German Politics? Revolution, Participation, and Public Discourse in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
  2. Nationalizing Anthems >