From Rapallo to the Ruhr Crisis, 1922–24
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The Ruhr crisis had a profound diplomatic and economic impact on Europe.1 It brought into focus the lack of trust between Britain and France, as well as the tensions between the Allies and Germany. The occupation of the Ruhr also provided further evidence of the burden of being on the victorious side at the end of the First World War. It sealed the fate of the beleaguered mark and proved that Europe alone was incapable of solving the problem of reparations. D’Abernon, as a financial expert, had the knowledge and opportunity to play a leading role in defusing the crisis. But this did not arise, primarily because of his own approach to the situation. This assessment also suggests that British policy towards Germany continued to lack clarity and that Britain was still willing to go to considerable lengths to preserve the entente with France. The European ‘experiment’ with diplomacy by conference continued into 1922. Nevertheless, the numerous international gatherings that had taken place since the Paris Peace Conference to establish a final total of reparation indemnity had spectacularly failed to predict or prevent the run on the value of the German mark. They demonstrated more clearly than any of the hostile propaganda that was directed against Lloyd George, the League of Nations and other symbols of this style of diplomacy that the use of experts as a substitute for diplomats with more traditional training did not provide a better means of resolving complex diplomatic problems.
KeywordsBritish Government German Government Fair Play Financial Expert Reparation Question
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