When the Ruhr was taken, inflation got out of control. The German mark had already been spiraling down in value. During World War I, the Germans had put 160 billion marks into their military. Now they were 156 billion marks in debt and owed 132 billion marks in reparations. With the Ruhr taken, they had lost one of the main forces in their economy.
The inflation in Germany was unbelievable. In 1914, before the war started, US$1 was worth 4.2 German marks. By 1923, the year the Ruhr was taken, US$1 was worth 4.2 trillion marks.
People across the country were starving. Money became completely worthless, and every penny a German had in savings was worth no more than kindling. People started to insist on being paid with food because nothing else had value.
In that year—1923—emigrations from Germany tripled. People were fleeing the country in which they’d lived. The suicide rate was skyrocketing. And in Germany’s darkest year, a young man named Adolf Hitler began his rise to power.