100 Years Ago – 22 March 1920

22 March 1920

The media reported that the position in Berlin had improved and that the general strike in Germany was coming to an end, although the situation in Leipzig was still of concern. Some were worried that communists would take over Leipzig, as they already held the cities of Dusseldorf, Essen and Elberfeld.

The Government announced that there had been an incursion into British controlled territory near Cologne by the German army. 1,600 men had entered the area before being disarmed, but it was discovered that the crossing of the border was unintentional and was caused by the men retreating from a communist attack.

A conference took place at the Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, in London on the nationalisation of the railway network. It was organised by the Railway Nationalisation Society which had 730 affiliated groups, of which 135 sent delegates to the meeting. The society claimed that it represented over five million members and that the state should own and operate the railways. The chairman said that “the progressive forces of the country were approaching the time when they might be called to the helm of the State. The workers were at present in the vicious circle of high wages and high prices. Nationalisation would do away with the incentive to put up prices, not merely to catch up with wages, but to go a bit ahead of that, and transport was concerned as much as any other section”. At this stage the railways were still operated by the state following the takeover during the First World War, but the Government decided in 1921 not to nationalise, but to instead regroup the over 100 railways into four new companies.