Inspecting a Barge along the Rhine-Herne Canal during the Occupation of the Ruhr Region (February 3, 1923)
With an economy in the grips of hyperinflation and no viable military options, the government of Chancellor Wilhelm Cuno (1876-1933) responded to the French occupation of the Ruhr with a campaign of passive resistance. French military authorities retaliated with a blockade that isolated the region from the rest of unoccupied Germany. Although food imports were exempted from the French blockade, deliveries into the heavily urbanized Ruhr district were severely disrupted, and the population suffered as food confiscated by customs officials rotted in rail yards, on trucks, and in barges on the Rhine. The shortages of food and other vital supplies ultimately led to the evacuation of more than 200,000 starving and undernourished children from the occupied region.