Friday, January 10, 2014
From Gene Sharp's paper on civilian-based defense:
Probably the first case in history of nonviolent resistance as official government policy against a foreign invasion was the German struggle in the Ruhr against the French and Belgian occupation in 1923. The Ruhr struggle is especially complex and covers the period from January 11 to September 26,1923...The French and Belgian invasion was launched to secure scheduled payments of reparations (following the First World War) despite Germany's extreme financial difficulties and to gain other political objectives (such as separation of the Rhineland from Germany).
The occupation was met by the Germans with a policy of noncooperation, which had been decided upon only days before the actual invasion. There had been no preparation, but the resistance was to be fi- nanced by the German government...
Actual noncooperation against the invasion forces developed gradually. The means included the refusal to obey orders of the occupation forces; nonviolent acts of defiance; the refusal of mine owners to serve the invaders; massive demonstrations at courts during trials of resist- ers; the refusal of German policemen to salute foreign officials; the refusal of German workers to run the railroads for the French; the dismantling of railroad equipment; the refusal of shopkeepers to sell to foreign soldiers; the refusal of ordinary people, even when hungry, to use occupation-organized soup kitchens; defiant publication of news- papers in spite of many bans; posting of resistance proclamations and posters; and refusal to mine coal.
Repression was severe...Resistance was complicated by various types of sabotage, including demolitions, which sometimes killed occupation personnel...Widespread unemployment and hunger were severe problems along with continuing extraordinary inflation. The unity of resistance, and to a large extent even the will to resist, was finally broken.
On September 26, the German government called off the noncooperation campaign, but the sufferings of the population increased. Complex negotiations occurred...
Belgians widely protested against their govemment's actions. Some French people became advocates for the Germans, called advocats des boches. Toward the end of 1923, Poincare admitted to the French National Assembly that his policies had failed. Germany could not claim victory, but the invaders finally withdrew, and the Rhineland was not detached from Germany. The invaders had achieved neither their economic nor their political objectives.
Britain and the United States intervened and secured a restructuring of reparations payments. The Dawes Plan was developed to deal with reparations, occupation costs, and German financial solvency, and provided a loan to Germany--all on the assumption that Germany would remain united.
Occupation forces were all withdrawn by June 1925
Would that we had a Department of Peace to study such things. Maybe I should start a petition and other actions to push for one since many in our government still think only in terms of hammers.
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