A. Lozovsky

Lausanne and the Ruhr

(13 March 1923)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 25, 13 March 1923, p. 193.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2021). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Is there any connection between the Lausanne conference and the occupation of the Ruhr basin? Without doubt there is. Lausanne was one stage on the road towards the liquidation of the treaty of Sévres, this offspring of Versailles. Lausanne showed the instability of the “eternal peace” created by the allies. The occupation of the Ruhr Valley liquidated the Versailles treaty from another side, and again confirmed the deceptive nature of the new international rights called into existence as consequence of the great war.

But Lausanne and the Ruhr not only prove the instability of European peace, but also the hopeless tangle in which the victorious countries have become involved. what is the real import of the Lausanne conference? That Turkey, contrary to the expectations of the allies, proved herself to be a living force. The revolutionary movement of this peasant country compelled England, the world ruler, to retreat. The questions engaging the Lausanne conference were, the possession of the Dardanelles and the exploitation of the naphtha of Mossul. Naturally, Lord Curzon was in favor of the “internationalization” of the Straits, that is, he would have liked the numerous English warships now defending European civilisation in the Near East to be supplemented by a few French ones, and by one Italian. When this “internationalization” is lit up by naphtha, Lausanne may be seen in its true light. Naphtha does undoubtedly possess the remarkable property of showing things in their true light. At Lausanne, the French were against the English, for the French idea of “internationalization” is a system under which the number of French warships exceeds the number of English. The French would have been inclined to acknowledge England’s “rights” in the Near East, if England had left them a “free hand” in the Ruhr question. “A free hand”, in the euphemistic language of diplomacy, signifying in the present case, – leaving a clear road for French dominion over Europe. What is the real and actual import of the Ruhr occupation? France, thanks to her victory, has become the country richest in iron ore. Her own rich ore mines, from which before the war, she extracted 10 million tons of ore, have now been supplemented by those of Alsace Lorraine, which produced 21 million tons of iron ore. Germany lost 80% of her iron ore, and the French capitalists gained predominance in iron. Possessed of such quantities of ore, France’s coal deficit became greater than ever. Already before the war, France had been importing 20 million tons, and the increased demand for coat brought about by the Versailles treaty could not be covered by the coal from the annexed Saar basin, with its total yearly output of 17 million tons. In addition, coke needed for France’s blast furnaces is in the Ruhr valley.

At the commencement of the war, when the German bourgeoisie was still hoping for victory, it was decided to annex the French ore, for coal has an irresistible attraction for ore. In the same way when France proved victorious, the annexation of the Ruhr basin was decided on beforehand, for iron exercises an equally great attraction for coal. How came it that this annexation did not take place until four years after the treaty of Versailles? The chief reason was that England could not permit the union of iron and coal, and a second reason was that during this period negotiations were proceeding between the German coal barons and the French iron magnates regarding the peaceful alliance of iron and coal. Both parties to this advantageous undertaking desired to have a majority of the shares; as however, this was impossible, the consequence has been the military occupation of the Ruhr basin. Negotiations have now recommenced between the industrial magnates of both countries, with regard to the division of the shares. And where is England in the meanwhile? England is pursuing the wait and see policy, and will not interfere until the two parties have proved themselves incapable of solving the conflict by themselves. And it will only interfere for the purpose of making sure that neither one party nor the other of the Franco-German coal syndicate will acquire a majority of the shares.

And the proletariat? The proletariats of both countries are opposed to war, and if the 2. International and the Amsterdamers were equally opposed to war, it would be possible to break up the whole coke-naphtha combination. But these gentlemen, who recently, at The Hague, swore solemn oaths, that they would proclaim the international strike in the event of war danger, began to weep lamentably, supplicate the liberator and protector of the peoples, the League of Nations. But who is this mysterious protector of the peoples, this impartial defender of eternal and absolute right? what is this League, at whose portal the Amsterdam pacifists knock so humbly? Do you want to know what this League of Nations is? Take Poincaré, add to him Lord Curzon and the Czecho-Slovakian Benes, boil up these ingredients with the royal minister and social democrat Branting, stir all well together with a good pinch of Mussolini, and you have the great protector of the rights of nations, known by the name of the League of Nations.

If the international proletariat had no better friends than the Amsterdamers, the 2. International, and the League of Nations, which protects the rights of the peoples with its fleet, then Europe would again be strewn with millions of fresh corpses. But happily the events of the last few years have not been without their effect on humanity; they have caused millions and millions of proletarians to rise against the capitalist system and against its conscious and unconscious defenders. Every fresh conflict opens the eyes of fresh hundreds of thousands of proletarians. That which neither the Comintern nor the Red International of Labor Unions could accomplish, has been effected by Poincaré and Lord Curzon. Lausanne and the Ruhr are stages on the road to the liquidation of not only the Versailles treaty, but of the whole system which gave it birth. Go on as you have begun, you Stinnes, Poincaré, and Curzon. Divide up the world among yourselves, quarrel as to who is to have the greatest number of shares; the revolutionary proletariat will soon find a way of uniting you ... on the same gallows.

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