That’s one weird map! Welcome to Busingen, the weird bit of Germany stuck in the middle of Switzerland. It’s German territory, but it’s surrounded on all sides by Switzerland.
Formerly Austrian territory, but the Swiss kept trying to conquer it. The Austrians would never give it up, just to spite the Swiss. Finally the Austrians lost it with the Peace of Pressburg in the early 1800’s and somehow it made its way into German hands.
1919 was a particularly horrible year for Germany. A young officer named Adolf Hitler was discharged from the hospital, full of rage at Jews and other “traitors” who sold out his nation and lost the war. There were battles in the streets between the reactionary neo-fascist ultranationalists of the Freicorps (mostly former soldiers) who battled the Socialists and Communists in the streets.
This was the time of Rosa Luxemborg. Revolution was in the air, the Bolsheviks held Russia, but Civil War raged across the East. The Communists were headstrong and cocky. They took Hungary in a short-lived dictatorship under Bela Kun noted for its cruelty.
In Germany, the Communists were armed, set off bombs, engaged in street battles, took over factories, blew stuff up. They were trying to take over Germany via armed revolution. Hundreds died. They ultimately lost, the the end result of this loss, was ultimately the rise of Nazism, the Holocaust and WW2, but that’s another tale. In 1919, things were very much up in the air, and the land was in chaos.
Down in Busingen in that year, a whopping 96% of the citizens voted to join Switzerland. But the Germans demanded land to trade, and the Swiss offered none. The strange exclave remained, and stays to this day. You would think the mellowed-out Germans of today would just hand it over to the mellowed-out Swiss, but nationalism is like a tough old codger who never goes easy or quick, sputtering and gasping till his last.
Exclaves are an interesting concept. The word is similar in German, Italian, Spanish, French and Russian, all derived from the Latin. The parts of the word mean “key” and “locked in.”
Another great map from Strange Maps. I can’t get enough of this site these days!
Another weird site: the Exclaves site. You wonder why such an absurdity as “exclaves” even exist in our rational modern world.
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