4066L THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.--RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD.
famine and cold should do their appointed
It had been held by many neutral
observers that if France and Belgium continued to hold the Ruhr, Germany, deprived of three-fourths of her coal supply,
must in the end inevitably yield. That she
did not do so was no doubt due, as Premier
Poincare asserted in a reply to Baldwin, to
a hope that British and other outside
influence would bring about a modification
of the French and Belgian policy.
As winter drew near, the Germans at
last realized the futility of such hopes and
decided to give way. A change in the
German Government took place, and on
September 24, the new Chancellor, Stresemann, announced the unconditional abandonment of "passive resistance" to the
French and Belgian occupation of the Ruhr.
Continuance of resistance would mean, he
said, that Germany would "bleed to death"
and that the relations of the occupied districts with the Republic would be threatened. "In the course of battle," said he,
"it sometimes becomes necessary to evacuate
a fortress because it requires too many
men, too much food, and too much ammunition to defend it."
Meanwhile, economic conditions in Germany had gone from bad to worse. The
cost of sustaining the idle workmen in the
Ruhr was estimated at eight quadrillion
paper marks, and much more serious was
the prostrating effects of that occupation
upon various forms of German industry.
The value of the mark had sunk so low as
to be infinitesimal. By October a dollar
was worth 160,000,000 marks, and a street
car ticket cost 10,000,000 marks. The
total amount outstanding had reached
figures beyond any real human understanding. It seemed incredible that such
money could pass at all. Grave disorders
took place in various parts of the Republic.
Dictatorial powers were given to Herr
Gessler, the Minister of Police.
General anarchy seemed to threaten the
whole country. On the one hand stood the
extreme Communists, who held that the
revolution had never gone far enough; on
the other hand stood the Monarchists, who
wished to restore a monarchical form of
government. The strength of the Monarchists was revealed in many ways, notably
by a great meeting at Nuremberg, Bavaria,
early in September. Two hundred thousand
persons were reported to have attended,
and the exercises centered around a field
mass held over the bodies of those who fell
in the Great War. Prominent in the
gathering were the gray-shorted Fascisti
led by Herr Hitler.
Field Marshal Ludendorff reviewed the
marching multitude, and turning from the
review to Prince Ferdinand, eldest son of
the former Kaiser, he presented him with a
silver goblet filled with wine and said:
"I hail your Majesty." Herr Hitler sounded
the keynote of Bavaria's "Monarchy Day,"
saying: "We need another revolution in
Germany, not like the Socialist, Bourgeois
and Jewish revolution of 1918, but a
Nationalist revolution of today, to restore
Germany's might and greatness. We can
save Germany from internal and foreign
foes only through blood and sword. We
need a revolution, bloodshed, and a dictatorship."
Separatist movements developed in Bavaria and the Rhine region. In the last
week of October rebels seized a number of
the Rhine cities, and an independent
Republic was proclaimed at Aix la Chapelle
and other places. French influence had
undoubtedly fostered this Separatist movement, for the French were anxious to break
up Germany and to erect an independent
Rhenish state to serve as a buffer against
any new German war upon France.
If the Separatist movement triumphed
it would undo an accomplishment that had
for centuries been the dream of German
patriots. During the Middle Ages and
down to the third quarter of the nineteenth
century Germany was split up into many
mutually jealous and often hostile states,
and Germany was an easy prey to foreign
invaders like the Swedes and the French.
As early as the time of Martin Luther
Germans like Ulrich von Hutten and
Franz von Sickingen dreamed of uniting all
Germans into one great nation, but many
generations passed before the dream could