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The Economic Consequences of the Peace Paperback – October 17, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Keynes' book remains highly readable in many sections. He was not only a brilliant economist, but a superb writer with a keen eye for the foibles of the great men of his time. However, some sections of the text, such as the one dealing with reparations, are abstruse and less suitable to the modern audience. These are still brilliantly told, but unless you are a grad student or a scholar with a particular interest in the many details of Germany's economy in the early part of the century as well as the demands put on it by the treaty, you are not likely to find these sections as gripping as the others.
The book must be read by those interested in the Versailles Peace Treaty and the aftermath of its signing. Even today, the power of Keynes' argument is evident. I've just recently finished reading Margaret MacMillan's "Paris, 1919," and while I enjoyed the book, I found her arguments against Keynes to be unconvincing. MacMillan says the actual collection of economic claims against Germany was rather modest, less, for example, than Germany collected from France in the aftermath of the 1870 war. But Keynes admitted the allies might not hold Germany to all the economic terms of the treaty.Read more ›
Keynes book provided a fulcrum for British doubt about the treaty and an avenue for British sympathy with the fledgling German Republic. Keynes made treaty revision a thing of morality and enlightened self interest to avoid 'sowing the decay of the whole of civilised life of Europe'.
But the negotiating politicians had absolutely no vision. Clemenceau wanted a Carthaginian peace, President Wilson was essentially a theologian and Lloyd George yielded to national electoral chicane.
The victors had no magnanimity. `The future life of Europe was not their concern; its means of livelihood was not their anxiety. Their preoccupations related to frontiers and nationalities, to imperial aggrandizements, to the future enfeeblement of a strong and dangerous enemy, to revenge and to the shifting of their unbearable financial burden on to the shoulders of the defeated.
But for Keynes, the policy of reducing Germany to servitude for a generation was abhorrent and detestable: `Nations are not authorized, by religion or natural morals, to visit on the children of their enemies the misdoings of parents or of rulers.'
Keynes had the decency to leave the negotiations from the moment he saw the looming disastrous results.
Keynes brilliantly calculated that Germany could not pay the imposed debt. He foresaw the coming German hyperinflation. He clearly recognized the danger of `a victory of reaction' (the right) in Germany, because it would endanger the security of Europe and the basis of peace.
Eventually that's what happened with all its disastrous consequences for Europe.
His prediction of millions of dead from starvation in Germany didn't occur.
This sometimes rather technical book is still a very worth-while read. His author was a visionary.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An important classic predicting that the economic punishment of Germany after WW1 would result in WW2.Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
Archduke Franz Ferdinand murdered in a cafe drive-by shooting? INDEED..., that may have sparked World War 1. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Richard Bush
Absolutely a must read in today's days of conflicts and their restitution.Published 1 month ago by Adnan A. Khan
Keynes was a legendary economist, and this book provides an insightful glimpse into the consequences of the ill-conceived Treaty of Versailles, as well as the implications it may... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Justin B.
Despite what is perhaps the most boring title imaginable, you don't have to be an economist to read this book. Keynes is very clear and very direct. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Thirdman47
On every page, John Maynard Keynes shows the inevitability of World War II with minute detail. The politics of war did not stop on Armistice Day. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tom Z.