Le Respect des Droits de L'Homme
"In France, the loss of the territories annexed by Germany in 1871 rankled for four decades. The advice of the French patriot Léon Gambetta, 'Think of it always, speak of it never,' rang in French ears. The black cloth which covered the statue of Strasbourg in the Place de la Concorde was a constant visual reminder of the loss of the two eastern provinces. Karl Baedeker's guide for Paris, published in Leipzig in 1900, commented on the draped statue: 'The Strasburg is usually heavy with crape and mourning garlands in reference to the lost Alsace.'"
- Martin Gilbert, The First World War: A Complete History
French soldiers at Verdun.
The War of the Nations Portfolio (New York: The New York Times Co., 1919), 135.
This article from The Philadelphia Press reveals the importance of the disputed provinces to France. It ran on October 15, 1918,in the closing weeks of the war.