The Versailles system was imposed on the defeated countries and countries around the world according to the will of the ruling group of the victorious countries.
It is based on many contradictions, so it is extremely unstable.
There are contradictions between victorious countries and defeated countries, between victorious countries, between imperialist powers and weak countries and oppressed nations.
Some contradictions have been forcibly suppressed, some contradictions have temporarily achieved some compromise, and others have arisen or intensified.
Fierce struggles exist everywhere, both openly and secretly.
New crises and events may break out at any time, endangering the stability of international relations and undermining the peaceful order of the imperialist powers.
In January 1921, the representatives of Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Belgium and other countries, the allies, proposed a compensation scheme to Germany, paying a total of 226 billion gold marks (equivalent to US $56.
5 billion) in fixed compensation and 12% of the annual export value of each year, which was rejected by the German government.
On March 8, the Allied forces occupied three towns in the Ruhr region, including Dusseldorf, and imposed sanctions.
On April 27, the compensation commission of the Allies stipulated that the total amount of compensation was 132 billion gold marks (equivalent to US $33 billion), which was divided into fixed compensation of 2 billion gold marks per year and non fixed compensation of 26% of the annual export value.
Germany was forced to accept it, but after paying the compensation in 1921, it expressed financial difficulties and requested an extension of payment.
Since March 1922, the exchange rate of the mark has decreased significantly.
In August of the same year, the exchange rate with the pound fell to 5% in May 1921.
The UK proposes to reduce the total amount of compensation to 50 billion gold marks and delay payment for four years.
France and Belgium opposed the reduction of compensation and only agreed to postpone the repayment period for two years.
During this period, Germany and Belgium should bear the expenses of the occupying forces.
A series of events in international relations in the early post-war period proved the fragility of the Versailles Washington system.
On September 12, 1919, the Italian poet Deng nanzha led a volunteer army composed of veterans and nationalist fanatics to occupy fum city and announce that fum city was incorporated into Italy.
This incident reflected the contradiction between the victorious imperialist countries from one side.
On April 23, 1919, Italian Prime Minister Orlando temporarily withdrew from the Paris Conference due to the refusal of the heads of state of the United States, Britain and France to fulfill the territorial promise given to Italy by the London secret treaty at the big four meeting of the Paris conference, and asked for the transfer of the city of fum, which is a hub in the Adriatic Sea, to Italy.
It was not until the signing of the peace treaty with Germany that he re attended the meeting on May 10.
Italy is one of the top five victorious countries and paid a huge price in the war.
However, most of the promises made to its territory after the war have not been fulfilled.
The Italian government and public widely believed that they had been deceived and had launched a political movement against the peace treaty of Versailles.
Dengnanzha’s occupation of fum City pushed nationalist fanaticism to the extreme.
The problem of fum city was not basically solved until 1924.
Therefore, Italy is deeply dissatisfied with the United States, Britain and France, and the proliferation of its extreme national democratic thought has become one of the important factors for the rapid rise of Italian fascism.
From April 10 to May 19, 1922, an international economic conference attended by representatives of 34 countries and regions was held in Genoa, Italy.
The conference, called to discuss the issue of reviving the European economy, in essence was that after the failure of the imperialist powers’ armed intervention in Soviet Russia, they turned to exert pressure on Soviet Russia diplomatically and economically, trying to force Soviet Russia to make concessions as much as possible, so as to solve the old debt problem of tsarist Russia, abolish the nationalization decree, sign the enslavement treaty, and then restore the old system in Soviet Russia.
At first, the meeting was based on the proposal of Soviet Russia.
On October 28, 1921, the Soviet government proposed to convene an international conference to study issues related to the establishment of European peace and economic cooperation in a note to Britain, France, the United States, Japan, Italy and other countries.
The note said that as long as all countries officially recognized the Soviet government and provided loans to it, Soviet Russia was willing to bear the foreign debt borrowed by the Czar government.
This shows that Soviet Russia hopes to conclude a comprehensive peace treaty with the west by making appropriate concessions.
On January 6, 1922, representatives of Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, Japan and other countries held a meeting of the Supreme Council of the allies in Cannes, France, to discuss the convening of the economic conference of European countries including Soviet Russia.
After prior consultations between British Prime Minister Lloyd George and French Prime Minister Berian, the Cannes conference immediately adopted a resolution to hold the meeting in Genoa and “asked prime ministers of all countries to attend in person as much as possible”.
The US representative who attended the Cannes conference as an observer stated that the US government did not deal with the Soviet government and refused to participate in the Genoa conference.
However, it was still represented by observers.
During the Genoa conference, the Allies submitted the memorandum on the revitalization of Europe and the Russian economy to the Soviet Russia, requiring the Soviet government to repay the Czar, the interim government and local authorities with a total debt of 18.
496 billion rubles (including 9.
65 billion rubles of pre war old debt and 8.
846 billion rubles of war debt), and to return or compensate the property of foreigners in Russia returned to the state, The monopoly system of foreign trade was abolished, foreigners were allowed to enjoy extraterritorial jurisdiction in Soviet Russia, and the financial affairs of Soviet Russia were supervised by the allies.
The Soviet Union firmly opposed the memorandum as the basis of the agreement, and put forward opposition demands to the allies, pointing out that the Allies bear unshirkable responsibility for the losses caused to the Soviet Union by armed intervention and civil war, and should compensate the calculated losses of 39.049.7 billion rubles.
As a result, the two sides failed to reach any agreement.
The Genoa conference was the first international conference attended by the Soviet government after its establishment.
The allies took Soviet Russia as the negotiating object, which means the de facto recognition of the new socialist country by the capitalist powers.
Soviet Russia not only publicized its foreign policy, but also reached an agreement on concerted action with Latvia, Estonia and Poland before the meeting, and negotiated with Germany on the establishment of normal political and economic relations between the two countries, which achieved significant results in diplomacy.
On the contrary, the Allies openly exposed their internal contradictions.
Also during the Cannes conference, the German representatives attending the meeting asked the Genoa conference to discuss the reduction of German compensation.
After the Cannes conference, the French president and the ministers of the army and finance were greatly dissatisfied with the Cannes resolution and opposed inviting Soviet Russia and Germany to participate in the Genoa conference, especially the discussion of German compensation.
Most members of the French parliament violently attacked Prime Minister Berian, which led to his resignation and replaced him with PUEN Calais.
The latter immediately sent a note to the UK requesting that the meeting be postponed for at least three months.
If the Soviet Union does not recognize Cannes in advanceFrance will not send a delegation to attend the meeting in accordance with all the conditions put forward by the meeting.
The heads of state of Britain and France held talks for this purpose.
The British side agreed to hold the Genoa meeting as scheduled in exchange for abandoning the discussion on German compensation and amending the peace treaty.
During the meeting, in the process of negotiations with Soviet Russia, the Allies drafted a memorandum of May 2 to reply to Soviet Russia.
At the request of Britain, France objected to the inclusion of the contents of companies and individuals that owned industries in Russia before the promulgation of the nationalization decree as “original owners” entitled to compensation in the memorandum and refused to sign it.
The United States openly opposes the explanation of the “original owner” problem.
It turns out that at this time, the struggle of British and American companies for the lease right of Soviet Russian oil fields has become white hot.
Anglo Dutch Shell oil company has owned large oil fields in Russia before the Russian Revolution.
If it is the “original owner”, it will take priority in the competition for the lease right.
Observers from the United States attending the meeting were ordered to declare that it will never tolerate the conclusion of any agreement with Russia that undermines the open door policy or the property rights we demand in Russia.
Before the end of the Genoa conference, another major event took place in international relations.
On April 16, 1922, Soviet Russia and Germany successfully negotiated in labalo, a suburb of Genoa, and signed the agreement between Germany and the Russian Soviet federal Socialist Republic, commonly known as the labalo treaty.
The two countries decided to recognize each other in law, resume diplomatic relations, waive compensation claims, develop trade and carry out economic cooperation in accordance with the principle of most favoured nation treatment.
Soviet Russia broke through the anti Soviet united front that the imperialist powers attempted to establish and improved its international status.
Germany also got rid of its isolation after the war and began to break free from the shackles of the Treaty of Versailles and look for an economic outlet from the East.
Since then, the Soviet Union and Germany have experienced a period of cooperation for 10 years, providing examples of peaceful coexistence between countries with different social systems.
The Treaty of labalo had a great impact on the countries of the group of allies.
They had no choice but to send notes of protest and carry out insignificant retaliation.
Since then, from 1924 to 1925, Britain, Italy, France, China, Japan and other countries successively recognized Soviet Russia in law.
This incident shows that the contradictions between countries with different social systems are not completely irreconcilable, and the existence of contradictions among imperialist countries often makes them consider their own interests.
On January 11, 1923, France and Belgium sent troops to Ruhr under the pretext that Germany failed to fulfill its obligation of compensation, almost covering the whole Ruhr Basin in the heart of German industry.
The contradiction between Germany and France and the contradiction between Britain, America and France intensified rapidly.
For a time, the Ruhr incident became the focus of international contradictions in Europe in the early post-war period.
On January 11, 1923, France dispatched three divisions, accompanied by a detachment of the Belgian army, to occupy Ruhr in the name of sanctions imposed on Germany for its intentional failure to pay compensation for timber and coal.
The occupation of Ruhr by French and Belgian troops aroused great indignation in Germany.
In addition to serious protests, the German government encouraged and supported the residents of Ruhr to carry out the “active resistance” movement.
The government expressly prohibits paying taxes to the occupying authorities and trading with France and Belgium.
The inhabitants refused to cooperate with the occupiers and to obey any orders of the occupying authorities.
Acts of sabotage against the occupiers have emerged one after another, and on some occasions have even developed into bloody conflicts.
The workers of the kruber factory in Essen were shot by the French army, killing and wounding 65 people.
The focus of the struggle is coal delivery and railway transportation.
The occupation authorities took over the coal mines, recruited miners from France and Belgium, and used more than 10000 engineers to directly operate the railway, all with little success.
In January 1924, the French army took advantage of the American withdrawal to enter the former American occupied area on the left bank of the Rhine River and expand its occupation of the bridgehead on the right bank of the Rhine River.
The occupation of Ruhr made Germany lose 80% of steel production, 85% of coal production and 70% of railway transportation and mine transportation.
Foreign trade decreased sharply and the economy collapsed.
During the year of the “negative resistance” movement, nearly 150000 German residents were expelled from Ruhr.
Financial support for the “negative resistance” movement has increased the unbearable burden on the German government.
Mark fell to the point where it was equivalent to scrapping money.
The lives of the vast majority of Germans were dealt a near devastating blow.
The economic and political crisis is deepening and social unrest.
The German government was forced to revoke all regulations supporting the “negative resistance” movement in September.
At the beginning of 1924, the “negative resistance” movement in Ruhr and Rhine ended.
For France, sending troops to Ruhr is actually not worth the loss.
It has not only fallen into political isolation, but also failed to obtain the expected benefits economically.
The net proceeds from the looting of Ruhr, excluding the costs of the occupying forces, were only 500 million francs.
The occupation of Ruhr led Germany to stop paying compensation, while France accounted for more than half of the total compensation, which in turn seriously damaged its financial credit.
Between 1923, the value of the franc in domestic and foreign financial markets fell by 25%.
The situation of British and American francs will deteriorate sharply in the face of sharp selling pressure and financial pressure.
Ruhr, who was initially asked by Britain and the United States to reconsider the issue of German occupation, also supported Ruhr’s original request to stop the British and American occupation.
Britain and the United States were extremely dissatisfied with the French occupation of Ruhr.
The British government is not only concerned about claiming compensation from Germany, but also hopes that Germany will restore its economy, so as to promote the “revival” of the European economy conducive to the British monopoly bourgeoisie.
It began to support Germany politically to restrict France and surround Soviet Russia.
Although the United States implemented the “isolationist” policy after the war, it still intervened in European affairs in a way conducive to itself, especially affecting the European economy.
The United States believes that the Ruhr incident caused the collapse of the German economy and seriously hindered the “rejuvenation” of the European economy, which is extremely harmful to the economic interests of the United States.
Whether the Ruhr issue and the German compensation issue can be resolved or not is also related to whether the United States can recover more than $10 billion of war debt owed by the European allies.
Britain and the United States are more worried about the continued deterioration of the situation in Germany, the danger of subverting the Weimar parliamentary democracy, and the serious damage to the existing social and political structure and imperialist international system in the European continent.
Ending the Ruhr incident has become the most urgent matter for the United States and Britain in diplomacy.
In May 1924, French fanatical hegemonist poungale stepped down because of his defeat in the general election, which marked the bankruptcy of French policy towards Germany.
On August 16, representatives of the United States and Germany attended the London meeting of the allies.