Racialism on the Left: E. D. Morel and the 'Black Horror on the Rhine'

TitleRacialism on the Left: E. D. Morel and the 'Black Horror on the Rhine'
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1968
AuthorsReinders, Robert C.
JournalInternational Review of Social History
Date Published04/1968

On April 6, 1920 the French government, in reprisal for the entry of German troops into the demilitarized zone of the Ruhr, occupied Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Hanau, and Homburg. During the occupation French Moroccan soldiers fired on a German mob in Frankfurt and killed several. In covering the event the Daily Herald, alone among English newspapers, called special attention to the “race” of the French troops. It headlined: FRANKFURT RUNS WITH BLOOD FRENCH BLACK TROOPS USE MACHINE GUNS ON CIVILIANS On April 10, the Herald followed its accounts of events on the Rhine by a front page article by Edmund Dene Morel under banner leads: BLACK SCOURGE IN EUROPE SEXUAL HORROR LET LOOSE BY FRANCE ON RHINE DISAPPEARANCE OF YOUNG GERMAN GIRLS France, Morel wrote, “is thrusting her black savages …into the heart of Germany.” There “primitive African barbarians”, carriers of syphilis, have become a “terror and a horror” to the Palatinate countryside. The “barely restrainable beastiality of the black troops” has led to many rapes, an especially serious problem since Africans are “the most developed sexually of any” race and “for well-known physiological reasons, the raping of a white woman by a negro is nearly always accompanied by serious injury and not infrequently has fatal results.…” Morel had reports of rapes, “some of them of an atrocious character”, and of “dead bodies of young women discovered under manure heaps and so on”. German municipalities were forced to provide bordellos and white women, and even young boys, for these over-sexed blacks. Master-minding this effort to “ruin, enslave, degrade, dismember [and] reduce to the lowest depths of despair and humiliation a whole people” was a “ruthless” and militaristic French government. Furthermore Morel warned his working class readers, “If the manhood of these races, not so advanced in the forms of civilisation as ourselves, are to be used against the Germans, why not against the workers here or elsewhere?”

Short TitleRacialism on the Left
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