The Ruhr Crisis (1923), Locarno and the Locarno Spring

1.6.1 The Ruhr Crisis

  • France was afraid for its security after the Anglo-American Guarantee was denied and disagreed with Britain about how to deal with Germany. Britain wanted Germany to be able to rebuild its economy so that it could benefit from the trade.
  • France's goal was to weaken the German economy has much as possible through reparations
  • France also needed these reparations to pay its debts to the USA
  • When Germany missed a delivery of timber as part of her reparations, France and Belgium invaded the Ruhr region
  • Britain was strongly against this
  • The goal of France was to collect the missed payment from the Germans by taking the goods from the mines and factories and shipping them to France
  • The German workers did not co-operate with the French, instead they protested by destroying the goods, the mines and the factories
  • The event broke out into a violent conflict and resulted in inflation
  • The Weimar Government which already had a serious inflation problem made things worse by printing more money to help support the workers which resulted in disastrous inflation

1.6.2 The Locarno and the Locarno Spring 1925

  • The appointment of Gustav Stresmann as chancellor of Germany changed everything
  • Stresmann called off the resistance in the Ruhr and announced that Germany would agree to the obligations set by the Treaty of Versailles, it would also accept its current borders with France and Belgium
  • This resulted in the Locarno Treaty which was signed in 1925
  • The Locarno Treaty was an agreement made between Belgium, France, the UK and Germany in which Germany agreed to accept its western boundaries as it was agreed in the Versailles Treaty
  • Germany accepted its borders with France and Belgium and these borders where guaranteed by the UK and Italy. In addition, Germany would become a member of the League of Nations.
  • This was a step towards Franco-German reconciliation and it meant that Germany could start to grow economically again without being a threat to Western Europe
  • It also meant that France and Britain could reconcile over the differences that drove these two apart (how to deal with Germany)
  • The Eastern borders of Germany had not been fixed however as Britain refused to guarantee the countries to the east of Germany. This lead Germany to believe that it could change its eastern borders with little objection from the Allies. 

1.6.3 The Results of the Locarno Treaty

  • The Locarno Treaty resulted in a sense of excitement and optimism
  • Tension between the Allies and Germany was finally resolving which meant that a sense of peace was present 
  • Germany obtained a permanent seat on the League council
  • The Allied troops from the left bank the Rhine where removed
  • The supervision of Germany's disarmament stopped in 1927
  • By 1930 Germany was an independent state again
  • However Germany was still in co-operation with the USSR in the Treaty of Rapallo
  • This meant that Germany could still avoid the disarmament that had been imposed on it
  • Germany had not agreed on its eastern borders and it was co-operating with the USSR who's goal was to redraw the map of Europe
  • This meant that even though the Locarno Treaty had been successful in bringing about peace, the League of Nations was not strengthened and the collective security remained uncertain