Occupation of the Rhineland
The Occupation of the Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

took place following the armistice
An armistice is a situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but may be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace...

 and brought the fighting of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 to a close on 11 November 1918. The occupying armies consisted of American, Belgian
Belgian Army
The Land Component is organised using the concept of capacities, whereby units are gathered together according to their function and material. Within this framework, there are five capacities: the command capacity, the combat capacity, the support capacity, the services capacity and the training...

, British
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and French
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

 forces. The terms of the armistice provided for the immediate evacuation of German troops
German Army (German Empire)
The German Army was the name given the combined land forces of the German Empire, also known as the National Army , Imperial Army or Imperial German Army. The term "Deutsches Heer" is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the German Bundeswehr...

 from Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 as well as Alsace-Lorraine
The Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine was a territory created by the German Empire in 1871 after it annexed most of Alsace and the Moselle region of Lorraine following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War. The Alsatian part lay in the Rhine Valley on the west bank of the Rhine River and east...

 within 15 days.


  • First Armistice
  • First prolongation of the armistice (13 December 1918 - 16 January 1919)
  • Second prolongation of the armistice (16 January 1919 - 16 February 1919)
  • Third prolongation of the armistice (16 February 1919 - January 1920)
  • Foundation of Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission
    Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission
    The Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission was created by the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919, to supervise the occupation of the Rhineland and "ensure, by any means, the security and satisfaction of all the needs of the Armies of Occupation".. It came into being on 10 January 1920, when the...

American forces

The US
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 forces originally provided around 240,000 men, nearly a third of the total occupying force. General Pershing established the US Third Army for the purpose, under the command of Major General Joseph Dickman.

On 24 January 1923, the US Army withdrew from the occupation of the Rhine, vacating the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, which was promptly occupied by the French.

Belgian forces

This consisted of five divisions with its headquarters at Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

, and its troops stationed in Krefeld
Krefeld , also known as Crefeld until 1929, is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located northwest of Düsseldorf, its centre lying just a few kilometres to the west of the River Rhine; the borough of Uerdingen is situated directly on the Rhine...


British forces

The British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 entered German territory on 3 December 1918. The British Army of the Rhine
British Army of the Rhine
There have been two formations named British Army of the Rhine . Both were originally occupation forces in Germany, one after the First World War, and the other after the Second World War.-1919–1929:...

 was established as the occupying force in March 1919. They were based at Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

 and published The Cologne Post
The Cologne Post
The Cologne Post was a daily paper published for the British Armed Forces from 31 March 1919 to 17 January 1926. It then continued as The Cologne Post and Wiesbaden Times from 28 January 1926 - 3 November 1929. There was also an Upper Silesian edition published from 17 June to 6 August 1921 in...


French forces

The French Eighth Army
Eighth Army (France)
The Eighth Army was a Field army of the French Army during the World War I and World War II.After the armistice it was part of the occupation of the Rhineland...

 and Tenth Army
Tenth Army (France)
The Tenth Army was a Field army of the French Army during World War I. It took part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. After the armistice it was part of the occupation of the Rhineland...

 originally constituted the French forces involved in the occupation. On 21 October 1919, they were combined to form the French Army of the Rhine.

In 1919, there were between 25,000 and 40,000 French colonial soldiers
French Colonial Forces
The French Colonial Forces , commonly called La Coloniale, was a general designation for the military forces that garrisoned in the French colonial empire from the late 17th century until 1960. They were recruited from mainland France or from the French settler and indigenous populations of the...

 based in the Rhineland. The presence of Black
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

 soldiers in the French occupation army led to allegations of rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

 and other atrocities targeting the German civilian population and attributed mainly to Senegalese Tirailleurs
Senegalese Tirailleurs
The Senegalese Tirailleurs were a corps of colonial infantry in the French Army recruited from Senegal,French West Africa and throughout west, central and east Africa, the main province of the French colonial empire...

. The events resulted in a widespread campaign by the German right wing press that dubbed them as "The Black Shame" (Die schwarze Schande or Die schwarze Schmach) and were depicted as a form of French humiliation of the German nation. Furthermore, some German women married African soldiers from the occupying forces, while others had children by them out of wedlock
Wedlock may refer to:* Marriage* Wedlock , an album by Sunburned Hand of the Man* Wedlock , directed by Lewis Teague* Billy Wedlock, an English footballer* Fred Wedlock, an English folk singer...

 (hence the disparaging label "Rhineland Bastards") and were considered to increase the public disgrace. General Henry Tureman Allen
Henry Tureman Allen
Henry Tureman Allen was a United States Army officer known for exploring the Copper River in Alaska in 1885 along with the Tanana and Koyukuk rivers by transversing 1,500 miles of wilderness. His trek was been compared by General Nelson A. Miles to that of Lewis and Clark.Henry was born in...

 reported to the US Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

that "the wholesale atrocities by French negro Colonial troops alleged in the German press, such as the alleged abductions, followed by rape, mutilation, murder and concealment of the bodies of the victims are false and intended as political propaganda".

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