Rhineland

   The terms of the Versailles Treaty* (Articles 42-13) forbade German troops and fortifications in the Rhineland or west of a line running fifty kilometers east of the Rhine River. Through the Rhineland Agreement of 28 June 1919 (separate from the treaty), the Allies agreed to a passive occupation of this region for a fifteen-year period; the region was to be divided into three zones, and evacuation was to proceed at five-year intervals. Administrative re-sponsibility was vested in an Interallied Rhineland High Commission. While Allied occupation was a bitter pill for the Germans, it was a diplomatic defeat for the French. Georges Clemenceau wanted the Rhineland (and the Saar*) sep-arated from Germany and established as a buffer zone, thereby securing France's borders. But endemic efforts at Rhenish separatism, led in 1919 by Hans Dor-ten,* found no support in Britain, Belgium, or the United States. Meanwhile, the Weimar Constitution* made the creation of a non-Prussian Rhineland vir-tually impossible, and America's rejection of Versailles and defection from Eu-ropean security intensified French fears of a resurgent Germany. By 1922, with heavy reductions in British and American troop levels, France was basically the only occupying power in the region. Until the changes effected by the 1925 Locarno Treaties,* the French viewed occupation both as the crucial centerpiece of their security system and as a partial guarantee that the Germans would meet their reparations* obligations. Extremists hoped that by abetting Rhenish sepa-ratism during occupation, the goal of an autonomous Rhineland might yet be achieved.
   The prospect of Germany losing the Rhineland was never greater than during the 1923 Ruhr occupation.* But Premier Raymond Poincare's bid to extend French authority throughout the region was a costly failure. In 1924 the occu-pation was discontinued, and in 1925 the Locarno accords revised the Rhineland Agreement. Security remained the sine qua non of French policy. In the face of an early end to occupation—Locarno ordained removal of the last French troops in June 1930—a permanently demilitarized Rhineland became a linchpin of France's alliance system. For Germans, sovereignty demanded the removal of foreign troops from German soil. Locarno addressed both issues: by guarantee-ing the Franco-German frontier, it assured the Germans that the Rhineland would remain within Germany; likewise, it assured the French that the region would remain demilitarized.
   The DNVP denounced Locarno; indeed, it condemned Gustav Stresemann* for accepting the Rhineland's demilitarization, a step limiting German sover-eignty. Military officers and civilian leaders soon affirmed in disarmament* talks with the West that every nation had a right to adequate military strength. Central to the argument were three issues: the imperiled status of East Prussia,* isolated as it was by the Polish Corridor; the limits on the size and weaponry of the Reichswehr*; and the demilitarized Rhineland. France responded by construct-ing the Maginot Line. When Hitler* remilitarized the Rhineland in March 1936, his action revealed that in evacuating that territory, France had lost both a de-fensive buffer and a staging area for an offensive into Germany.
   REFERENCES:Jacobson, Locarno Diplomacy; Kent, Spoils of War; McDougall, France's Rhineland Diplomacy; Post, Civil-Military Fabric; Schuker, End of French Predominance.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • Rhineland — Rhineland, MO U.S. town in Missouri Population (2000): 176 Housing Units (2000): 68 Land area (2000): 0.341477 sq. miles (0.884422 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.341477 sq. miles (0.884422 sq …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Rhineland, MO — U.S. town in Missouri Population (2000): 176 Housing Units (2000): 68 Land area (2000): 0.341477 sq. miles (0.884422 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.341477 sq. miles (0.884422 sq. km) FIPS code …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Rhineland — [rīn′land΄, rīn′lənd] 1. that part of Germany west of the Rhine 2. RHINE PROVINCE …   English World dictionary

  • Rhineland — The Rhineland ( Rheinland in German) is the general name for the land on both sides of the river Rhine in the west of Germany. After the collapse of the French Empire in the early 19th century, the German speaking regions at the middle and lower… …   Wikipedia

  • Rhineland — /ruyn land , leuhnd/, n. 1. that part of Germany W of the Rhine. 2. See Rhine Province. German, Rheinland. * * * German Rheinland Region of Germany. It is located west of the Rhine River and encompasses the states of Saarland and Rhineland… …   Universalium

  • Rhineland — or German Rheinland geographical name 1. the part of Germany W of the Rhine 2. Rhine Province • Rhinelander noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Rhineland — noun general name for the land on both sides of the river Rhine in the west of Germany …   Wiktionary

  • Rhineland — n. region in west Germany along the Rhine River; town in Missouri (USA) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Rhineland — Rhine•land [[t]ˈraɪnˌlænd, lənd[/t]] n. 1) geg that part of Germany W of the Rhine 2) geg Rhine Province German, Rheinland …   From formal English to slang

  • Rhineland — /ˈraɪnlænd/ (say ruynland) noun that part of Germany west of the Rhine. German, Rheinland …   Australian English dictionary

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