The transferred area corresponded to the French départements of Moselle, Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin. While the two latter corresponded to nearly all of the historical province of Alsace, most of the traditional Lorraine remained within France. French desire to recover the provinces was a major cause of the tragic alliance system that led to World War I.
Under the German Empire of 1871-1918, the territory constituted the autonimous Reichsland or Imperial Province of Elsass-Lothringen. The area had considerable autonomy under the federal German Empire, and had its own legislature and laws. These priveleges were partly lost when the area was restored to France.
To this day, the territory enjoys laws different from the rest of France on certain issues, see the statute of Alsace-Moselle.\n