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100 years ago: French policy on Germany

29 September 2023

September 28th, 1923.

IT WOULD seem that the more the French policy in the Ruhr appears to succeed, the more it really fails. The Ruhr is subdued, but half ruined. France has brought Germany to the point of admitting that passive resistance can no longer be maintained, she has brought her also to the verge of revolution; a struggle between democrats and monarchists seems to be imminent, and it may affect the whole of Central Europe. That is not a condition of things from which France can easily gain either of the two things upon which she properly insists, reparations, and the security of her frontiers. There must be few who do not now see — what few at first clearly saw — that the spirit of hatred in the victors has ruined the chances of a lasting peace. Germany in defeat had many elements to which France and her Allies might have effectively appealed. She had accomplished her own revolution easily, and without terrorism. She had seen the evils of militarist monarchism, but she had refrained from avenging herself upon kings and princes. The action of France has helped to rehabilitate the cause of monarchy in Germany. But that is perhaps what France desires, in part. The return of the House of Wittelsbach to the throne of Bavaria would in some ways serve the interest of France, who, though she prefers a republic for herself, does not necessarily desire to see republics everywhere, as President Wilson did.

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