Schlageter, von den Franzosen ermordet am 26. Mai 1923
Albert Leo Schlageter, killed by the French 26. Mai 1923
Schlageter was born in Schönau im Schwarzwald to strict Catholic parents.After the outbreak of the First World War he became a voluntary emergency worker for the military. During the war he participated in several battles, notably Ypres (1915), the Somme (1916) and Verdun, earning the Iron Cross both first and second class. Following his promotion to second lieutenant he took part in the Third Battle of Ypres (1917). After the war, and his dismissal from the greatly reduced army, Schlageter described himself as a student of the political sciences; but he studied the subject at the most for one year. About this time he became a member of a rightwing Catholic student group. Soon he also joined the Freikorps and took part in the Kapp Putsch and other battles between military and communist factions that were convulsing Germany. In 1922 his Freikorps unit in Upper Silesia merged with the Nazi Party. During the occupation of the Ruhr in 1923, he led an illegal "combat patrol" that tried to resist the French occupying forces by means of sabotage. A number of trains were derailed in order to disrupt supplies to the occupiers. On 7 April 1923 Schlageter was betrayed, possibly from within his own ranks, and was arrested (on 8 April) by the French. Tried by court-martial on 7 May 1923, he was condemned to death. On the morning of 26 May he was executed on the Golzheimer heath near Düsseldorf.
On 8 May Schlageter had written to his parents: "from 1914 until today I have sacrificed my whole strength to work for my German homeland, from love and pure loyalty. Where it was suffering, it drew me, in order to help… I was no gang leader, but in quiet labour I sought to help my fatherland. I did not commit any common crime or murder." The truth of this statement may be doubted, since he is thought to have been involved in assassinations of presumed "informers".
after Schlageter's death, Rudolf
Höß assassinated his alleged betrayer, Walther
Kadow. He was assisted by Martin
Bormann. Höß was sentenced to ten years but only served four;
Bormann received a one-year sentence.
Rheinland, 1. Juli 1930
Following the Armistice of 1918, Allied forces occupied the Rhineland as far east as the river with some small bridgeheads on the east bank at places like Cologne. Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 the occupation was continued. The treaty specified three occupation Zones, which were due to be evacuated by Allied troops five, ten and finally 15 years after the formal ratification of the treaty, which took place in 1920, thus the occupation was intended to last until 1935. In fact, the last Allied troops left Germany five years prior to that date in 1930 in a good-will reaction to the Weimar Republic's policy of reconciliation in the era of Gustav Stresemann and the Locarno Pact.
Sections of the Rhineland, that had once belonged to the Habsburg Netherlands Duchy of Limburg, were annexed by Belgium in the Treaty of Versailles. The cantons of Eupen, Malmedy and Sankt Vith though, with the exception of Malmedy, German in culture and language became the East Cantons of Belgium against the will of the population. Today German is the third official language, along with French and Dutch.
During the occupation [1919 - 1930) the French encouraged the establishment of an independent Rhenish Republic, banking on traditional anti-Prussian resentments (see: history of Palatinate). In the end, the separatists failed to gain any decisive support among the population.
The Treaty of Versailles also specified the de-militarization of the entire area to provide a buffer between Germany on one side and France, Belgium and Luxembourg (and to a lesser extent, the Netherlands) on the other side, which meant that no German forces were allowed there after the Allied forces had withdrawn. Furthermore (and quite unbearably from the German perspective) the treaty entitled the Allies to reoccupy the Rhineland at their will, if the Allies unilaterally found the German side responsible for any violation of the treaty.
In 1920 the Saargebiet was occupied by Britain and France under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. The occupied area also included portions of the Prussian Rhine Province and the Bavarian Rhenish Palatinate. In practice the region was administered by France. In 1920 this was formalized by a 15-year League of Nations mandate.
In 1933, a considerable number of communists and other political opponents of the Nazis fled to the Saar, as it was the only part of Germany that remained under foreign occupation following the First World War. As a result, anti-Nazi groups agitated for the Saarland to remain under French administration. However, with most of the population being ethnically German and with strong local anti-French sentiments deeply entrenched, such views were considered suspect or even treasonable, and therefore found little support.
When the original
15 year term was over, a plebiscite was held in the territory on 13
January 1935: 90.3% of those voting favored rejoining Germany.