“Boycotting French Fashion Goods”

The “Boycott of French Fashion Goods” excerpt from the Weimar Sourcebook focused on French Fashion’s place in German society. This piece encouraged a boycott of all French Fashion. Items could be inspired by French Fashion and made in Germany or other countries, but nothing bought could be of French origin.

It was interesting to discover that this boycott took place in 1933. This was about 15 years after the Treaty of Versailles. The fact that there was still such a level of animosity between the two countries at this point in time is very telling. Fashion was one of the areas of commerce that France was noted for. It was one of the countries that produced the styles that would be worn throughout the world. A boycott from this industry could have had a major impact on the market.

The economic crisis of the early 1930s brought about a series of tariffs in Europe and throughout the world that were meant to protect individual countries’ interests and markets. It could be argued that this boycott was another way to protect German interests. This was probably true; however, this was most certainly not the central reason. If the goal were to protect German markets through tariffs and boycotts, this piece would have encouraged a boycott of clothing from all non-German manufacturers and designers. Instead, this boycott focused on France. This piece specifically cites France’s invasion of the Ruhr Valley as a moment of hostility that made it impossible for Germany to support French businesses as Germans were dying at the hands of these businesses’ countrymen.

The situation between France and Germany was extremely tenuous throughout the Interwar Period due to the Treaty of Versailles and the attitude that the French had when facing the Germans: the idea that Germany was entirely to blame for the war; and that Germany needed to be punished for its actions so that it could never create another grand war again.

This attitude created such animosity between the two nations that Germany sought to punish France in return by attacking important aspects of their economy. Did this impact other areas of the French economy as well? Wine trade for instance? Did this boycott even have a great affect on the French market?