France in WW2

Why did France occupy the Ruhr in 1923?

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2009-05-22 01:50:11

The French (and Belgians) claimed that Germany had defaulted on

reparations by delivering 100,000 telegraph poles ten days late in

January, 1923. The German government replied that weather

conditions had been unusually bad in the last two months of 1922

and that this had caused the delay, a point accepted by Britain.

However, the French (and Belgians) occupied the Ruhr. For some

years the French had wanted to separate the Ruhr and the Rhineland

from Germany and set up a satellite French state there. The

occupation of Germany's industrial heartland was met by passive and

active resistance. In some case where factories refused to let

French troops in, the latter just sprayed the works with

machine-gun fire without further ado. The occupation of the Ruhr

united Germans right across the political spectrum, from the

various nationalist groups to the Communists. The occupation and an

earlier attempt by armed Polish groups to seize part of Upper

Silesia in 1921 enraged the Germans even more than the Treaty of

Versailles itself. The occupation triggered the final, frenetic

round of Germany's post-World War I inflation, and by September and

October 1923 prices were rising at 26% a day! France's action

caused immense resentment in Germany. It was a flagrant attempt to

go beyond the Treaty of Versailles. The occupation also led to a

serious rift between France and Britain, as the British government

dissociated itself from the French action, criticized France and

withdrew co-operation in some spheres.

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