4. France occupies the Ruhr:

The Ruhr was an industrial region in western Germany that included the Rhine River, it became important to Germany starting from the mid 1800’s because of the huge coal mines and transportation facilities, and it took a major role in Germany’s industrialization when Germany won almost all control of Alsace-Lorraine in 1871. The area covered about 7330 sq km, and was cornered roughly at Hamm Ludenschleid, Monchengladbach, and Wesel.

When Germany lost in the First World War, Germany’s government were unable to pay a portion of the 33 billion dollars it owed under its obligations signed in the Treaty of Versailles, France forcibly occupied the Ruhr district and began to develop their own coal mines in the January of 1923. The coal extracted was then used to pay for reparations from World War I. Although the Germans were angered by such action, the League of Nations did not do anything about the occupation since it was legal under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

In response to France, the Germany government encouraged workers to follow a policy of passive resistance where the workers would produce as little as possible. This decrease in production had a major effect on the economic life of France and Germany. It paralyzed the Ruhr's economy and triggered hyperinflation which eventually led to the collapse of the German currency. The occupation of the Ruhr finally ended with the agreements of the Dawes Plan in 1924. By then, both countries were headed towards national bankruptcy. However, on September 27th of 1923, Germany ended the policy and because the French had eventually accepted the Dawes Plan along with the city's important harbour in Duisburg-Ruhrort, France saw it was useless to occupy the Ruhr any longer and left by August 1st, 1923.

France and Belgium confronted Germany and demanded that it pay them reparations. This was an attempt by the French to solve its financial problems.

Regional security:
The French had invaded a part of German territory in respect to German government's failure of reparations that year.

The only reason why the French were able to occupy the Ruhr was due to appeasement from the League of Nations. They did nothing to stop France taking over the Ruhr.

Economic security:
France needed to occupy the Ruhr in order to solve its financial problems. However, both France and German economies headed towards national bankruptcy because of decreased production of coal mining; the passive resistance policy.

France and Germany were not on good terms already since Germany disliked the Treaty of Versailles that blamed it for starting World War I.

France and Germany refused to contend with each other. There were always tensions between them, when France forcefully occupied the Ruhr, the German government had told the workers to practice the policy of passive resistance. 

A German poster urges passive resistance under the motto, 'No! You won't subdue me.'
This event contributed to the escalation of tensions between France and Germany leading to World War II later on because France and Germany have been at conflict before over the possession of territories. As well, cooperation and conciliation between the countries seemed impossible During the Napolionic Wars, France had taken over Germany and later on during the Unification of Germany, Germany took back its states. The French were particularly upset over the loss of the Alsace-Lorraine region and wanted revenge. The Treaty of Versailles stated that Germany had to repay for all the damages done in World War I, and because Germany was unable to do so, France and Belgium confronted Germany and forcefully took over the Ruhr. Nationalistic feelings had caused a decrease in the production of coal-mining in the Ruhr.

To Germany's disappointment, the League of Nations did nothing to prevent France taking over the Ruhr. This upsets the people since France was occupying German soil, even though it was because Germany couldn't pay.

Copyright ©2009 by Ben Pi, Tony Fu, Amere Huang, Jeff Fong, Edwin Li, Irena Liu SS 20IB