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Ruhr Territory (Twilight of a New Era)

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Ruhr Territory
Ruhrgebiet (German)
Région de la Ruhr (French)

Timeline: Twilight of a New Era

OTL equivalent: Ruhr Territory
Flag Ruhr Territory
Flag of Commission of Government of the Ruhr Territory (used since 1922)
Capital Essen
Largest city Dormund
Other cities Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg and Bochum
Language
  official
 
German
  others French (Administrative usage)
Religion
  main
 
Secular state
  others Lutheranism, Roman Catholic and Judaism
Government Territory under League of Nations protection
Chairman of the Commission of Government
Area 4.435 km²
Established 1920
Independence from German empire
Currency Deutsche Papiermark (until 1924), Deutsche Rentenmark (1924-1925, legal tender until 1934) and Deutsche Mark (since 1925)

The Ruhr Territory, along the Territory of the Saar Basin, was created by the Treaty of Versailles in 1920. Although under a League of Nations (LoN) mandate, it is under French, Dutch and Belgian economic influence. The later has a form of war payment and to cripple economically Germany. A referendum, in a date not determined by the Treaty would be called to establish its status has: union with Germany or keep its present status.

Being the former key industrial zone of Germany, there have been calls for its return to the Federal Republic of Germany, who pressed for a definition of the date for the referendum.

History

In 1921 the Commission of Government approved, France and Belgium voting against, to establish a partial economic and customs union with Germany. Also full freedom of movement and residence was established with Germany.

A campaign of passive resistance, and a few incidents of sabotage (1924-1925) eased the terms of the occupation and allowed full administrative control by Germany in the Ruhr and eased war payments. In 1925, again with the rejection for France, Commission of Government ruled that the State of Prussia would have full administrative and police powers in the Ruhr, under revision of the Commission of Government and Territorial Administrator. In no case can Germany station troops or military bases in the Ruhr or within demilitarized zone.

In 1926 on proposal of Netherlands, UK and Austria-Hungary it started a construction plan of working-class estates and improvement of health conditions. This with an improvement of railroad and road networks for cargo and passenger transport. This in collaboration with Prussian State Government.

At odds are the terms of the cuasi-integration of Saar to France (non negotiable according to Paris), different from the Ruhr that functions like common economic territory but with limited German sovereignty. In 1925 on request of Germany, the Commission of Government clarified that the status of the Ruhr ... is territory simultaneously defined has a) of limited and restricted sovereignty by Germany has specified by the Treaty of Versailles and b) an international territory that is economically linked to Germany, France, Netherlands and Belgium by series of agreements of the Council and protocols and treaties between the said states. and the task of the Commission are .. of promoting and easing industrial and economical development of the Ruhr and promoting the welfare of its habitants considering points a) and b).

The proposal of an International Authority for the Ruhr by the LoN has not been widely accepted by France and Germany. The Ruhr and Saar Question has also been one of the reasons for the breakdown of the Conference on European Unity.

Administration of Ruhr

Ruhr area-administration

Map of the administration of the Ruhr area, Germany

The administration of Ruhr is in charge of the Commission of Government. Its seven members are nominated by the League of Nations (LoN) every 4 years. It must include at least one French person, at least one Belgian or Dutch person, least one German resident of the Ruhr. It appoints a Territorial Administrator in charge of daily management and has liaison with the State of Prussia. Military Inter-Allied Commission of Control is in command of the occupying forces under instructions of the Commission. The army battalions are from France, Belgium, Netherlands, UK and Italy.

Following the norm of German states, the Ruhr is organized in districts (Landkreise), towns and municipalities. Ample local government autonomy is given within the limits of the articles of the Treaty. In 1926 the Prussian State established the Siedlungsverband Ruhrbezirk (SVR, Settlement Association of the Ruhr District) has the mandatory association and coordinating body of districts and local governments in the Ruhr. Among its task are public transport coordination, urban planning and health and welfare services integration. Local police and fire authorities are also integrated.

Politics of Ruhr

Flagge Cisrhenanische Rep (Variante)

Unofficial Flag of the Rhenish Republic. Used by the VRB and separatist groups

The Ruhr is a stronghold of Zentrum (social catholicism), Social Democrats (SPD) and communists (KPD). The Rhenish People's Party (Rheinische Volkspartei, RVP) is a regional, anti-Prussian and liberal party that calls for the reincorporation of the Ruhr has a new Lander. Opposite to the RVP is the United Rhenish Movement (Vereinigte Rheinische Bewegung, VRB) formed from a merging of several existing separatist groups. The goal of the VRB is the complete independence of the Ruhr from Prussia and Germany, and the establishment of a Rhenish Republic under French protection.

These five parties are usually elected to local government bodies and hold seats in the SVR.

Also present are the liberal parties, until 1930 German Democratic Party (DDP) and German People's Party (DVP), from 1930 the German Democratic People's Party (DDVP). The main right wng parties are the German National People's Party (DNVP, nationalism and conservative) and German Conservative Party (DKP, conservative).

Economy

Ruhr's coal industry is directly administered by France and Belgian. The steel and iron mills, metal manufacturing, energy production, machine and tool building and automotive industry are in hands of German companies (Krupp, Thyssen, RWE, Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG, Hoesch AG and Mannesmann) and cartels. The Commission of Government has repeatedly rejected the demands of France and Belgian to have more control of them. The armament building facilities have been dismantled. The electrical grid is fully integrated with border states and Germany through out the Energy Committee of the Ruhr that is in charge of the energy distribution.

Yearly the Commission of Government establishes the exportation quotas of coal, iron and steel for France, Netherlands and Belgian. Between 1921 and 1925 it was of 60% of the production, revised in 1926 to 40%.

From 1920 to 1925, an Inter-Allied Mission for Control of Factories and Mines (MICUM, in french) integrated by France, Belgium and Netherlands, administered and controlled the mining and production quotas.

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