"Reichsland Alsace-Lorraine" was made an autonomous German federal state in 1947. Austrian Kaiser Otto, had proposed elevating the territory to a full German federal state, as early as 1933 and had proposed a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine as head of a new dynasty, with a formal nomination of Georg, Prince of Hohenberg in 1935. The issue gained momentum in the mid-1940s under Chancellor _ as part of an overall foreign policy initiative broached the subject of modifying the status of the territory, granting French language an equal footing with German in the territory, eliminating border restrictions, granting complete authority to the Straßburg/Strasbourg government, and constitutional equality with the other German federal states. This was together with earlier free trade initiatives with France, between the EEC on the one hand and France on the other, (a unilateral initiative that Germany undertook without consulting the other EEC members despite the Riga Treaty) a demilitarizing of the both sides of the Franco-German frontier, and a restoration of the 1914 French and Belgian frontiers, were also part of the negotiation. France ratified the Riga Treaty in 1951 and joined the EEC.
Kaiser Otto had lobbied for a permanent resolution of the Alsace-Lorraine question for decades as part of his overall initiatives for European peace and integration, and his influence, and the overall change in German foreign policy during the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm III, (who had effectively withdrawn from politics) precipitated this change. After several investigations, Germany was convinced that the death of Kronprinz Wilhelm's son in France in 1940 was the result of an accident and not terrorism. In 1949, France officially denounced the Front de libération Alsace.
Otto had long held that European peace could never be achieved without an accommodation between Germany and France, and that the status quo in Alsace-Lorraine was a hindrance to that effort.
Previous discussions within the German government had always broken down as to whether to leave the status quo in place, create a new "free state" with a republican government or a principality with a new dynasty, annexation of the Reichsland to Prussia or Baden, or a separate ducal state, but in personal union with the Kaiser. (An option proposed by Wilhelm II) The latter two options were the least popular in the German Bundesrat and a republican form of government deemed problematic. A compromise of an elective monarchy was agreed upon in the Bundesrat,
The Reichsland 1911 Constitution, and the 1871 federal constitution were both amended to provide complete membership and representation in the German Bundesrat. Further, the head of state would be an elective office. A unique arrangement provided for the first candidate nominated by France, Germany as a whole, and Austria. Thereafter, candidates would be nominated by France, Baden, Prussia, and Austria. Selection is voted upon by the Parliament in Straßburg/Strasbourg. The parliament may vote to reject all candidates and require new nominations. The candidate need not be from a noble house, and since 1983, may also be female. If non-noble, the candidate shall have some significant accomplishment. If a non-noble is elected, he or she will be elevated to the nobility by the German Kaiser, as the Prince of Alsace-Lorraine, a non-hereditary title. There is a private understanding that nominations shall be from the local nobility, except initially Austria nominated Georg, Prince of Hohenberg, citing the historic ties to the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. France nominated Baron Dominique_de_Dietrich who was elected Duke.
In 2009 a plebiscite for complete independence lost with 47% yeas.