Reparations payments (£6,000 million) imposed on her by the allies difficult to meet. Germany did not keep up with her reparations payments, but the French in particular were determined to force Germany to pay what they owed



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Germany’s economy was in ruins after her defeat in the First World War, and she found the reparations payments (£6,000 million) imposed on her by the allies difficult to meet. Germany did not keep up with her reparations payments, but the French in particular were determined to force Germany to pay what they owed.


In January 1923 French and Belgian troops marched into the Ruhr, the richest industrial area of Germany. German troops were ordered by their government to stand aside to avoid bloodshed and allow the French and Belgians to occupy the area. The French and Belgians took over all of the area’s factories and coal mines. Goods and raw materials made by these industries were seized. This action was permitted under the Treaty of Versailles as Germany had fallen behind in her reparation payments.
T

he invasion of the Ruhr was a major crisis for the German government and was directly linked to the Treaty of Versailles as the invasion was as a direct result of the German government’s inability to pay reparations (compensation) to the Allies as agreed in 1919. The German public were furious, especially when stories and rumours were told of French atrocities in the area. The Weimar government could do little to stop the invasion and occupation however, as they had a greatly weakened army due to the Treaty of Versailles and were in no position to confront the Allied Powers again. The old myth of the ‘Stab in the Back’ (where the government were accused of deliberately stopping the Great War and surrendering to the Allies although the German troops could have fought on) was once again rekindled. The Weimar Government appeared weak and willing once again to give in to Germany’s ‘enemies’.


The German workers in the Ruhr responded to the invasion with a policy of passive resistance – simply refusing to work. Across Germany there was great admiration for the action of the Ruhr workers. However, their actions only worsened the government’s plight. The workers still had to be paid, even though they were not working or producing goods that would have benefited the nation’s troubled economy.






This was the final straw for the battered German economy, hyperinflation being the result.





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