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Hot work for steelworkers

Hot work for steelworkers
Source: dpa

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No more guns from the Ruhr!

After two world wars with Germany, the Allies decide that the Ruhr should never again supply the raw materials for arms production. But Germany and other countries depend on coal and steel from the region. Set up by the Allies, the Ruhr Authority controls production and distribution from 28 April 1949.

Canons and the materials needed for weapons of all kinds were produced in bulletthe Ruhr during two world wars. But the Ruhr industrial area is not simply a workshop of German militarism; its heavy industries form the "economic heart of Europe".

France is particularly dependent on German coal - yet France is particularly insistent that restrictions be tough on Ruhr output. No wonder ... after having been invaded twice.

The British, the Americans and the Benelux countries adopt a more pragmatic stance, but in the end France gets her way. The International Ruhr Authority is established to regulate the distribution of coal and steel.

Production quotas are carefully set to strike a balance between Germany's own needs, on the one hand, and foreign demand, on the other. Thanks to its wider powers, the Ruhr Authority effectively exerts control over the German economy as a whole - and its authority extends beyond the immediate period of occupation.

On paper German officials should attend and vote at the Council, its central body, but in practice the Allies exercise that right by proxy until the bulletPetersberg Agreement of 22 November 1949, after which German delegates start attending the meetings.

Lifting the Ruhr Authority's restrictions is one of the most pressing concerns of German politicians. This goal is achieved in 1951 with the foundation of the bulletEuropean Steel and Coal Community.

Walter Kamps

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