Nathalie Mangin, “The franco-German relations and the baths worldly beyond the Rhine“, History, economy & society, 1994
In the middle of the Nineteenth century and up to 1870, the baths worldly beyond the Rhine (Baden, Ems, Wiesbaden) are the places of resort favored by european elites. The popularity of these baths germans is based on different factors, including the quality of mineral waters often seems to be the first necessary factor. The game, a brilliant social life and artistic and skillful advertising have based the success of the stations beyond the Rhine.
Games of chance are at the heart of the success of the baths worldly. The demands of the station is very clear on this subject, who says : “And the sick, the infirm, those who take the waters ? There is not, or at least they hide, in order not to grieve him, by their presence, these enchanting places “. What appeals to elites, this is not the care of their health, but in obedience, “in power, only one of our days has been able to maintain without challenge : the Fashion queen of the World stylish!”
“Baden, it’s the mundane life bright which attracts the high-life of Europe as a whole “. And before the resort of the court, the luxurious rooms and the attendance aristocratic international, what are the games of chance that are so vivid to the origin of the international success of stations beyond the Rhine. These are the roulette tables and Thirty-and – Forty that allow Baden to attract the crowds, to retain the socialites and fill the aesthetes. The towns of water have always been aware of the tremendous asset represented by the gaming public
The war and the tensions of a thermal addition-Rhine
The franco-prussian war, sounded the death knell of the apparent harmony of franco-German relations, speaking up in 1870 in the large attendance of French beyond the Rhine. In 1871, an ardent patriotic campaign was inaugurated in the press thermal French. It was in April 1871 that the Gazette of the Waters, tribune du thermalisme français, engages his crusade patriotic in favour of the French resorts. “On April 13, 1871, the new credo is reiterated : “II is of interest as much as the duty of establishments of mineral waters in France to divert to their profit the flow of tourists, pleasure-seekers and patients who went each year beyond the Rhine “
This French growth conceals obviously under the dialectic patriotic to important economic issues which are already expressed in the local press on the occasion of the wars of 1859 and 1866. The novelty of 1871, it is that the press is a spa, after having long been one of the best agents for the promotion of the stations beyond the Rhine, echoed the grievances and the wishes of the French resorts, and the funds in a grand argument patriotic. “To keep for France the money of the French”… “promote the French resorts”…, “to compete with the baths germans, adopting their best weapon – the game. . .”, the competitive struggle takes old ideas and legitimise the taste of the day by invoking the patriotic duty.
The paradox of the crusade initiated by the spa French is due to the fact that until the beginning of the Twentieth century, the press thermal does not actually cause the value of German waters and does not hide that the war committed is more the Germans that their thermal waters.
Until the First world War, which will consume the bankruptcy of this life, resort spa, this rivalry will prevent the aristocratic society of the cosmopolitan to find a station that suits everyone international.