Collapse of post World War I Europe

The Versailles Conference failure led to the consolidation of the colonial intra-wars, as key elements at the meeting walked away from the agreed statement. This group involved the British UK key analyst, John Maynard Keynes, who with the help of the Zionist lobby and British colonizer and illegal usurpers, suggest that the United States should pay everything for the rehabilitation of Europe. The United States rejected this position, making another major war inevitable, along with dozens of wars since then. Ultimately this lead to the second world war, which led to atomic warfare against the Axis Imperial Japanese state.

 

John Maynard Keynes: The Economic Consequences of the Peace (Excerpt)

John Maynard Keynes is best known as the father of Keynesian economic theory which advocates increased government spending and lower taxes to stimulate demand. In classical economy theory, it is assumed that output and prices set the stage for the economies eventual return to a state of equilibrium. However, the Great Depression contradicted this assumption. Keynes rejected the idea that the economy would return to a natural state of equilibrium. He saw economies as being constantly in flux, both contracting and expanding. This natural cycle is referred to as boom and bust. Keynes advocated a countercyclical fiscal policy in which, during the boom periods, the government ought to increase taxes or cut spending, and during periods of economic woe, the government should undertake deficit spending.

The Economic Consequences of the Peace

John Maynard Keynes, C.B.
Fellow of King's College, Cambridge
New York Harcourt, Brace and Howe 1920

Preface

The writer of this book was temporarily attached to the British Treasury during the war and was their official representative at the Paris Peace Conference up to June 7, 1919; he also sat as deputy for the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Supreme Economic Council. He resigned from these positions when it became evident that hope could no longer be entertained of substantial modification in the draft Terms of Peace. The grounds of his objection to the Treaty, or rather to the whole policy of the Conference towards the economic problems of Europe, will appear in the following chapters. They are entirely of a public character, and are based on facts known to the whole world.

J.M. Keynes
King's College, Cambridge,
November, 1919.

Chapter 1: Introductory

The power to become habituated to his surroundings is a marked characteristic of mankind. Very few of us realize with conviction the intensely unusual, unstable, complicated, unreliable, temporary nature of the economic organization by which Western Europe has lived for the last half century. We assume some of the most peculiar and temporary of our late advantages as natural, permanent, and to be depended on, and we lay our plans accordingly. On this sandy and false foundation we scheme for social improvement and dress our political platforms, pursue our animosities and particular ambitions, and feel ourselves with enough margin in hand to foster, not assuage, civil conflict in the European family. Moved by insane delusion and reckless self-regard, the German people overturned the foundations on which we all lived and built. But the spokesmen of the French and British peoples have run the risk of completing the ruin, which Germany began, by a Peace which, if it is carried into effect, must impair yet further, when it might have restored, the delicate, complicated organization, already shaken and broken by war, through which alone the European peoples can employ themselves and live.

In England the outward aspect of life does not yet teach us to feel or realize in the least that an age is over. We are busy picking up the threads of our life where we dropped them, with this difference only, that many of us seem a good deal richer than we were before. Where we spent millions before the war, we have now learnt that we can spend hundreds of millions and apparently not suffer for it. Evidently we did not exploit to the utmost the possibilities of our economic life. We look, therefore, not only to a return to the comforts of 1914, but to an immense broadening and intensification of them. All classes alike thus build their plans, the rich to spend more and save less, the poor to spend more and work less.

But perhaps it is only in England (and America) that it is possible to be so unconscious. In continental Europe the earth heaves and no one but is aware of the rumblings. There it is not just a matter of extravagance or "labor troubles"; but of life and death, of starvation and existence, and of the fearful convulsions of a dying civilization.


For one who spent in Paris the greater part of the six months which succeeded the Armistice an occasional visit to London was a strange experience. England still stands outside Europe. Europe's voiceless tremors do not reach her. Europe is apart and England is not of her flesh and body. But Europe is solid with herself. France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Holland, Russia and Roumania and Poland, throb together, and their structure and civilization are essentially one. They flourished together, they have rocked together in a war, which we, in spite of our enormous contributions and sacrifices (like though in a less degree than America), economically stood outside, and they may fall together. In this lies the destructive significance of the Peace of Paris. If the European Civil War is to end with France and Italy abusing their momentary victorious power to destroy Germany and Austria-Hungary now prostrate, they invite their own destruction also, being so deeply and inextricably intertwined with their victims by hidden psychic and economic bonds. At any rate an Englishman who took part in the Conference of Paris and was during those months a member of the Supreme Economic Council of the Allied Powers, was bound to become, for him a new experience, a European in his cares and outlook. There, at the nerve center of the European system, his British preoccupations must largely fall away and he must be haunted by other and more dreadful specters. Paris was a nightmare, and every one there was morbid. A sense of impending catastrophe overhung the frivolous scene; the futility and smallness of man before the great events confronting him; the mingled significance and unreality of the decisions; levity, blindness, insolence, confused cries from without,—all the elements of ancient tragedy were there. Seated indeed amid the theatrical trappings of the French Saloons of State, one could wonder if the extraordinary visages of Wilson and of Clemenceau, with their fixed hue and unchanging characterization, were really faces at all and not the tragi-comic masks of some strange drama or puppet-show.

The proceedings of Paris all had this air of extraordinary importance and unimportance at the same time. The decisions seemed charged with consequences to the future of human society; yet the air whispered that the word was not flesh, that it was futile, insignificant, of no effect, dissociated from events; and one felt most strongly the impression, described by Tolstoy in War and Peace or by Hardy in The Dynasts, of events marching on to their fated conclusion uninfluenced and unaffected by the cerebrations of Statesmen in Council:


Consequences of Peace: The Versailles Settlement - Aftermath and Legacy. This final volume in the Paris Peace Conference series will evaluate the immediate and later effects of the last great peace gathering which sought to settle the world's affairs at a stroke - something that was not attempted after either the Second World War or the Cold War. The Versailles settlement has not enjoyed a great reputation. It has been blamed for causing a second major conflict within a generation, thus apparently fulfilling Marshal Foch's gloomy prediction that "This is not a peace, it is an armistice for twenty years." More recently commentators have suggested that the post-1989 ethnic disturbances in the Balkans and on the fringes of the former Soviet Union are "the old chickens of Versailles coming home to roost." The contemporary world still struggles to come to terms with the implications of President Woodrow Wilson's troublesome principle of national self-determination, and remains embroiled in the ambiguities and complexities of the Middle East, an area for whose boundaries and problems the Great War and settlement bear significant responsibility. We are also still seeking to realise more effectively some of the nobler ambitions of the peacemakers, expressed in the Covenant of the League of Nations, in their concern for the human rights of minority nationalities left on the wrong side of the new borders that they sanctioned, and in their attempt to extend criminal responsibility for war beyond the operational irregularities of combatants to political and military leaders. Ninety years on, the settlement still casts a long shadow.

 


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