The Economic Consequences of Peace

The Economic Consequences of Peace addresses the effects of the Versailles treaty on the already fragile German system. It described provisions of the Versailles treaty and then illustrates the tragic effects. Keynes explained how before the war the population was living “without much margin of surplus” (Keynes), and in the aftermath people had to restore this system before starvation became a huge issue. Keynes also issued the warning that “men will not always die quietly”, directing this at politicians and men in power and saying that the negative temperaments brought on by starvation/desperation could be fuel for future issues. Another issue with the treaty was that it limited Germany’s ability to import raw materials, which in turn would cause the industries to collapse. If the industry of Germany were to collapse, it would be another factor in mass starvation and discontent in the population. Essentially Keynes issued a warning to not be rash in the direct aftermath of WWI, saying “some of the catastrophes of past history….have been due to the reactions following [war]”. If a population were to grow beyond what it is able provide food for while the economy is still in a fragile state, there is a higher likelihood of it causing future conflicts. Keynes showed a great understanding of predicting the economic side of the German situation, and approached it from this view instead of becoming personally invested in the political aspects of the war.

One thought on “The Economic Consequences of Peace

  1. This was a great analysis of Keynes’ document, and I especially agree with what you said regarding Keynes’ view of the situation. Rather than focusing his time with the political outcomes of the war, Keynes directs his attention to the economic outcomes, which he proves to much greater than any political issue. By bringing in the idea that Europe is “not self sufficient,” he instills fear inside those reading as he is predicting that Europe, Germany in particular will not be able to feed their people. His ending especially comes off as a warning to the people, claiming that anyone who signs this “will sign the death sentence of many.”

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