• France in WW2

Why did France occupy the Ruhr in 1923?

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βˆ™ 2009-05-22 01:50:11

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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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