Courtesy Reuters

German Trade and German Debts

THE foreigner who wishes to understand Germany's present situation must first of all remember the disasters which have overtaken the German people during the last twenty years. For four and a half years Germany waged war against almost the entire world, and in the end lost. The sacrifices in manpower and materials which this war demanded were terrific. These sacrifices Germany had to bear alone; she did not, like the victorious nations, receive any partial compensation.

The Versailles Diktat tore away portions of Germany's land and people which were of vital importance to her existence -- West Prussia, Posen, Danzig, Memel, Upper Silesia, Alsace-Lorraine, Eupen-Malmedy, North Schleswig. She was deprived of all her colonies, whose finances were in a satisfactory condition at the beginning of the war, and which were not only an important source of raw materials but also offered an increasing outlet for exports. All German private capital invested abroad was stolen, thereby depriving us of one of the most important sources of revenue from which we had formerly maintained our balance of payments. To these losses must be added the monstrous deliveries of materials which Germany had to make after the war: machinery, coal, railroad equipment, cattle, chemical products, etc. We had to surrender almost the entire German merchant marine. Finally, under the name of "reparations," cash payments for war damages were imposed in excess of anything ever heard of before.

In reparations alone Germany paid $12,000,000,000 up to the end of the Ruhr struggle, and a further $4,000,000,000 after the Dawes Plan came into effect. For the costs of occupation, the destruction of industrial plants, etc., she had to produce $2,000,000,000. Confiscated private property abroad amounted to $4,000,000,000. The lost colonies represented a value of between $32,000,000,000 and $40,000,000,000. In addition to all this, Germany had her own war costs, some $60,000,000,000 in round numbers.

Almost more hard to bear than these material losses was the Versailles Diktat's moral discrimination against Germany, which in many respects last up to the present day. After being

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.