German Passport – Allied Occupation Of The Rhineland

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The Allied control of the Rhineland was an outcome of the First World War, in which the German Reich endured a military annihilation against the unified and related forces. As ahead of schedule as in the Compiègne peace negotiation of 11 November 1918, the temporary Reich government needed to concur that troops of the successful forces possessed the territories on the left bank of the Rhine and four “bridgeheads” on the right bank of the Rhine, each with a sweep of 30 kilometers around Cologne, Koblenz, Mainz and 10 kilometers around Kehl.

In addition, the left bank of the Rhine and a 50 km wide strip east of the Rhine was declared a demilitarized zone. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles repeated these provisions, but limited the presence of foreign troops to 15 years. The purpose of the occupation was, on the one hand, to provide France with security against a renewed German attack and, on the other hand, to have a guarantee for the German reparation obligations to be performed. After this was apparently achieved with the Young Plan, the Rhineland occupation was prematurely terminated on June 30,1930.

The administration of the occupied Rhineland was under the control of the inter allied Rheinland Commission, which is based at the head office of the Rheinprovinz in Koblenz.

United States forces

American forces originally provided around 240,000 men in nine veteran divisions, nearly a third of the total occupying force. General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) on the Western Front, established the Third Army for the purpose, under the command of Major General Joseph T. Dickman.

Third Army was assigned to occupy the northern sector of the Coblenz bridgehead. By July 1919, Third Army was disbanded, having been reduced to about 8,400 men, and was renamed the American Forces in Germany. On 24 January 1923, the US Army withdrew from the occupation of the Rhine, vacating the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, which was promptly occupied by the French.

The Passport

This German passport of the allied occupation of the Rhineland is a significant document of German passport history and I have to thank my fellow collector A.S., who bought this item to my attention with the possibility to acquire it.

The passport was issued in Kehl on 23 June 1923, has a 500MK revenue stamp of Baden and a large red stamp “BESETZTE GEBIETE (OCCUPIED TERRITORY).” The travel document was valid till 1925 and has one stamp on page six “H.C.I.T.R – CIRCULATION – CERCLE DE KEHL.”, which was the Haute Commission International des Territoires Rhenans (Internationale Rheinland-Oberkommission / International Rhineland Upper Commission).

The condition of the 94 years old document is just excellent! The document as displayed is very rare and I am happy to have it in my archive.

German Passport - Allied Occupation Of The Rhineland

German Passport - Allied Occupation Of The Rhineland

German Passport - Allied Occupation Of The Rhineland


German Passport – Allied Occupation Of The Rhineland

FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...