Skip to main content

View Diary: How To Tell If Something Is Hitler: A Field Guide for Pundits (25 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Was result of French invasion for AUSTERITY (5+ / 0-)

    French leadership chose to respond to a break in the AUSTERITY REPAYMENT BY GERMANY OF WW1 DEBTS with an occupation of the Ruhr so France would TAKE the reparations itself and therefore resulted in the sorts of economic chaos and disruption everyone had predicted.

    Poincaré decided to occupy the Ruhr on 11 January 1923 to extract the reparations himself. The real issue during the Ruhrkampf (Ruhr struggle), as the Germans labelled the battle against the French occupation, was not the German defaults on coal and timber deliveries but the sanctity of the Versailles treaty.[9] Poincaré often argued to the British that letting the Germans defy Versailles in regards to the reparations would create a precedent that would lead to the Germans dismantling the rest of the Versailles treaty.[10] Finally, Poincaré argued that once the chains that had bound Germany in Versailles were destroyed, it was inevitable that Germany would plunge the world into another world war.[10]

    Initiated by French Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré, the invasion took place on 11 January 1923. Some theories state that the French aimed to occupy the centre of German coal, iron, and steel production in the Ruhr area valley simply to get the money. Some others state that France did it to ensure that the reparations were paid in goods, because the Mark was practically worthless because of hyperinflation that already existed at the end of 1922. France had the iron ore and Germany had the coal. Each state wanted free access to the resource it was short of, as together these resources had far more value than separately. (Eventually this problem was resolved in the European Coal and Steel community.)

    Following France's decision to invade the Ruhr,[11] the Inter-Allied Mission for Control of Factories and Mines (MICUM)[12] was set up as a means of ensuring coal repayments from Germany.[13]

    The occupation was initially greeted by a campaign of passive resistance. Approximately 130 German civilians were killed by the French occupation army during the events. Some theories assert that to pay for "passive resistance" in the Ruhr, the German government began the hyper-inflation that destroyed the German economy in 1923.[9] Others state that the road to hyperinflation was well established before with the reparation payments that started on November 1921.[14] (see 1920s German inflation) In the face of economic collapse, with huge unemployment and hyperinflation, the strikes were eventually called off in September 1923 by the new Gustav Stresemann coalition government, which was followed by a state of emergency. Despite this, civil unrest grew into riots and coup attempts targeted at the government of the Weimar Republic, including the Beer Hall Putsch. The Rhenish Republic was proclaimed at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) in October 1923.

    Though the French did succeed in making their occupation of the Ruhr pay, the Germans through their "passive resistance" in the Ruhr and the hyperinflation that wrecked their economy, won the world's sympathy, and under heavy Anglo-American financial pressure (the simultaneous decline in the value of the franc made the French very open to pressure from Wall Street and the City), the French were forced to agree to the Dawes Plan of April 1924, which substantially lowered German reparations payments.[15] Under the Dawes Plan, Germany paid only 1 billion marks in 1924, and then increasing amounts for the next three years, until the total rose to 2.25 billion marks by 1927.[16]

    But national elites never ever ever ever learn, so today's European elites -- Germany -- are all stiffly demanding that the people of the periphery -- Greece -- suffer so that their bankers' obligations to Germany's bankers are honored.

    And what bad could come of that?

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site