Talk:World War I reparations

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Effects on the world economy[edit]

Does anyone know what the effect of reparations had on the economy of the other state except Germany? What did the Entente states (France, UK or Italy) with the goods they got from Germany for free? Did they sell them on the own market? What effect had this cheap business competion to companies in those nation? A bad one? A good one? Please tell me if somebody knows informations about that. Maxian D-C (talk) 12:06, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

I express a personal point of view: I think the importation of “excessively” cheep goods from one country to another damages the recipient countries economy. There are a number of things that effect the economy of a country, perhaps, the most important are the (1) amount of money in circulation (2) its distribution and (3) it's velocity, how quickly it changes hands. “Paper money” is in reality a human construct, has no real value and is in fact a promissory note. True wealth is crated by people at work, example; if farmers don't grow food we all starve. If people are unemployed no wealth is crated. If no wealth is created then the promissory notes we call money is just a piece of paper and its promise is false one. I believe Hitler understood this which is why in 1933, when he came to power, he put people to work building the autobahns and his war machine, interestingly in the early day he did not allow industry to use labour saving machines. This is counter intuitive, but in this way he put money in the hands of working people, who create wealth, this increasing the amount of money in the real economy improved its distribution and increased its velocity. Today we see the effect that “excessively cheep” goods, first from Japan and now China, are having on the economies of American and European. Buying these cheep imports removes money from the real economy concentrates it in the hands of the few and reduces its velocity. Let me make it clear I am not a fan of Mr Hitler's however the fact is came to power January 1933 by 1939 just a little over six years the German economy was strong enough to fight another war and he nearly won.

2020? 2010?[edit]

German wikipedia has contradicting information regarding by when payment of reparations will have finished; accd to them, all payments should be over by 2010. And they have good sources, as they link to the article by German Ministry of Finance. Anyone knows who's right and who's wrong?agnus (talk) 13:19, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Germany is officially done paying reparations. I don't remember when, but now we can talk about it as a past occurence. (talk) 01:57, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

It means that germany had to pay reparitions. It matters when they have finished, and it when it is done, it will be put in. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:36, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

POV tag[edit]

This article seems to have been the target of POV pushing. Note especially these two sets of edits: [1], [2].

  • The first enlarged the article from 17,243 bytes to 37,476 bytes and, some minor copyediting aside, the enlargement is almost exclusively due to stating over and over again that the Germans could have paid the reparations and did not do so out of political calculations.
  • The second doubled the section titled "As viewed within Germany", such that now 1/2 of the section consists of a story about planned French (and allied) reparation to be paid to Germany (totally unrelated to the section title). Another 1/4th is made up describing the view of the tiniest minority of Germans (It would be interesting if there are any other contemporary German sources at all putting forward that view), leaving only 1/4 to the actual view that was shared by virtually all Germans at the time.

The POV pushing can also be learned from the sources used: John Maynard Keynes, eminent economist and financial representative for England in Versailles is used for 3 sentences. Meanwhile Sally Marks (who is that?) is used as a source a whooping 43(!) times, for a total of several paragraphs. The unknown french economist Étienne Mantoux is also cited at length to disprove Keynes calculations (a ridiculous excercise, since data is taken from years when the original reparations had already been reduced).

Or look at another source that is widely used to back up the pushed POV: A lengthy paragraph is made out of Niall Ferguson's claim that Germany could have easily paid the reparations. Take a look at some other claims made in that book (taken from the wiki page):

  • Ferguson claims Germany was Europe’s most anti-militarist country
  • Ferguson claims Germany posed no threat to Britain before 1914, and that all British fears of Germany were due to irrational anti-German prejudices
  • Ferguson claims if Germany had been victorious, something like the European Union would have been created in 1914, and that it would have been for the best if Britain chose to opt out of war in 1914
  • Ferguson argues the British routinely killed German POWS

Calling this guy controversial is a huge understatement.

At the moment this article is hugely unbalanced and needs a lot of changes. --Xeeron (talk) 16:23, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Good point. The POV issue is very obvious. If I know more about this subject I'd change it myself. But as it stands I have to wait for someone more competent in this area.Mittermeier (talk) 08:03, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the article is unbalanced and the opinions of Marks and Ferguson are given undue weight. I do, however, think their opinions need mentioning (I am a little surprised that we don't have an article on Sally Marks). There probably is, though, a consensus among historians that the amount of reparations was overstated and that Germany attempted to escape its treaty obligations, so we should avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water. We probably need to condense the parts about the provocative views of Marks and Ferguson and add more about the views of Keynes (not just so as to shoot them down) and of other contemporaries and later historians. --Boson (talk) 14:59, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
I already considerably shortened the "view in Germany" section and will shorten the next one soonish (unless someone wants to beat me to it). While doing so, I noticed that the article is completely lacking info on allied discussions about the size of reparations, a section on this should be added. Additionally, the article does not so much as lose one word on the other war losers (austria-hungary and ottomans). These countries should be mentioned. --Xeeron (talk) 18:44, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
Keynes has probably had the greatest influence on the creation of the reparations "myth" and certainly he was the most influential of the contemporary commenters. Marks and Mantoux seriously revise Keynes assertion with the benefit of hindsight . Mark's scholarship on the issue has not been seriously contradicted since publication. Perhaps a section on contemporary views followed by a section on subsequent historiography would be a good way to approach it. ?gray (talk) 13:50, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like a good idea, Graymca. But just as an aside here, why is the fact that Keynes is so much better known than Mantoux used to prove Keynes right and Mantoux wrong? Surely, it is the quality of the ideas, not the relative fame of the authors that really matters. By the same token, we have to give greater credence to the views of a very famous, but ignorant Hollywood star on economic issues while ignoring the views of professional economists. Or to take even better example. Tom Cruise has claimed that the teachings of Scientology led him to overcome Dyslexia. Most, if not all experts on dyslexia would disagree with Cruise's theory that Scientology is the best cure for dyslexia, but since Cruise is so much more famous than any of the various obscure experts on dyslexia (pop quiz everybody, name 10 dyslexia experts), we would have to accept Cruise's claims over those of the dyslexia experts. The level of one's fame is not gauge to the accuracy of one's views.

Moreover, John Kenneth Galbraith, (who was a friend and an admirer of Keynes) writing in his memories in 1986 stated in retrospect Keynes was wrong and Mantoux was right. The same goes even more with Marks. To answer the question, who is Sally Marks? She is the Professor Emerita of History at Rhode Island College, Providence, and one of the most respect historians working on the field of international relations in the 1920s. It is a very strange procedure that because Keynes is so much famous than Marks that must prove him and her wrong. Marks wrote that essay, which everyone around here finds so objectionable in 1978, and thus had much better access to all sorts of sources that Keynes did not have in 1919. How very odd that the fame of the individual as opposed to what they actually have to say just be used as the basis for who is right and who is wrong on this issue. If I understand the rules correctly here, what an article is supposed to say is what the current scholarly consensus is, not just citing the most famous person who on a subject. I resent that charge I was engaged in POV-pushing, through perhaps I did use somewhat aggressive language. I just merely trying to this article up to reflect what is the current consensus on the subject, by citing some well regarded sources that must people had never heard of, let alone used--A.S. Brown (talk) 03:05, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

The article should be edited (preferably pruned) to give appropriate weight (and length) to the differing views (not depending on how much credence individual Wikipedia editors give to them). More consideration should also be given to use of "believed", "argued", and "asserted", as opposed to "noted" and "established", which give the appearance of favouring one point of view. Since Keynes was an important historical figure, his views are also noteworthy per se, regardless of any current consensus as to their accuracy. --Boson (talk) 07:08, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, The Economic Consquences of the Peace is undoubtly the best known book on the subject, and it should be included here. What I am objecting to is the claim that because Keynes is certainly the best known person to write on this subject, that makes him the last word on it. At least, one of the problems of treating The Economic Consquences of the Peace as the definative work on the subject is that book was written in 1919 before the any reparations had paid, indeed two years before the London Conference of 1921 had even decided how much Germany was to pay. Keynes tried to prove that reparations were impossible to pay by making the most extreme claims on what the Allies planned to collect, which is certainly in the sense that nobody could had paid the amounts that Keynes talked about in The Economic Consquences of the Peace. But at the London conference, the Allies actually decided on much smaller sum than what Keynes estimated in The Economic Consquences of the Peace. So as someone who wrote a very well known book, by all means let us mention Keynes. But let us take into account some of the more recent work on this subject rather treating a book published two years before reparations were collected as the last word on the subject. A really good book for anyone who got the time is The End of French predominance in Europe : the Financial Crisis of 1924 and the Adoption of the Dawes plan by Stephen Schuker, which handles both the economic and political aspects of this matter very well. Also worth checking out is The Weimar Republic : the Crisis of Classical Modernity by Detlev Peukert which as its title implies is about the Weimar Republic, not repartions in general, but has a good summary of the more recent German work on this subject. --A.S. Brown (talk) 08:27, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Who has claimed that Keynes is the last word on the subject? Above, Keeron says that Keynes was used for 3 sentences and Sally Marks was used as a source 43 times. It was also suggested that Ferguson held (very) contraversial views. Others agreed that undue weight was given to certain positions. I have not seen a claim that Keynes was "the last word" on the subject. Keynes's views are of interest for two purposes: (1) to present the views of all eminent scholars with due weight, to enable the reader to form an opinion; (2) to tell the reader what a notable, contemporary economist published on the subject (information which is noteworthy in its own right).--Boson (talk) 10:35, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

I understand and agree with the need for balance. Certainly one area that might add balance is that Germany was politically unwilling - perhaps unable - to pay the reparations. They did make a conscious choice to inflate their currency and that choice was political, not economic. The French annexation of the Ruhr seemed the pivot point that led to Von Havenstein printing money at the Reichsbank. While it was a political calculation, it was a calculation driven by reparations. Most of my information is coming from Liaquat Ahamed's book Lords of Finance. Hawesg (talk) 01:11, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

With all due respect, Boson, what else is meant by the sentence by "The POV pushing can also be learned from the sources used: John Maynard Keynes, eminent economist and financial representative for England in Versailles is used for 3 sentences. Meanwhile Sally Marks (who is that?) is used as a source a whooping 43(!) times, for a total of several paragraphs. The unknown french economist Étienne Mantoux is also cited at length to disprove Keynes calculations (a ridiculous excercise, since data is taken from years when the original reparations had already been reduced)." The implication here is clearly that Keynes is "eminent economist" while Sally Marks is a nobody (apparently the fact that she does not have a Wikipedia article proves she is obscure fringe source: a very biogted way of going about things), so we should pay no regard to what she has to say. It is clearly implicated by this sentence that more weight should be given to the views of Keynes than the views of Marks. For the record, Sally Marks is the Professor Emerita, Rhode Island College, Providence and she was writing some 50 years after the fact while Keynes published his book in 1919 (which is before the Allies actually attempted to collect reparations). This seems to me to be a very strange method in which a book published by someone two years before reparations who were attempted to be collected should be given more weight than an article written by a leading historian some 50 years after the fact. If the fact that Keynes is not cited enough proves this article is unneutral, I will be happy to add about Keynes's arguements against reparations to this article. Through I must admitt that I am rather confused by the claim that Keynes is not being cited enough as proof of bias. There is a links to the article on Keynes and on his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace, so if anybody wants to know about Keynes's arguments against reparations, they could easily click on these links. Indeed, a summary of Keynes's arguments against reparations should probably should on the page on The Economic Consequences of the Peace rather on this page. Having two summaries of Keynes on Wikiepdia seems like overkill to me. But that as it may, I add some of Keynes's arguments to this page in the comming year, so for those who are addicted to the view that French bankrupted Germany in the 1920s should be happy, which is clearly what everyone wants this page to say. That is not what more recent historical work says, but evidently it was my mistake to bring to this page into accord with current historical work, because nobody wants to hear about that. I hope this will settle this dispute. --A.S. Brown (talk) 06:02, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Saying that Sally Marks is less notable than John Maynard Keynes, or indicating that she does not have a Wikipedia article, is hardly bigoted and is not the same as saying that she is an "obscure fringe source". That does not mean that we accept what Keynes says as gospel and is nothing like saying that he is "the last word" on the subject.--Boson (talk) 12:35, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
As I wrote before, one of the problems with the article is the use of certain words when describing one point of view and other words when descibing opposing points of view ('. . . use of "believed", "argued", and "asserted", as opposed to "noted" and 'established', which give the appearance of favouring one point of view"). Some of these words may have been changed, but Schuker and Marks still note (rather than claim), while Keynes believed or asserted, and we still have the use of the word "established" in the sentence "The French economist Étienne Mantoux in his 1946 book The Carthaginian Peace, or the Economic Consequences of Mr. Keynes established [my emphasis] that Germany could have paid all of the reparations had they wanted to, and that the problem was not the Germans were unable to pay, but rather that they were unwilling to pay.", implying that this is established fact. But Gerald D. Feldman, for instance, in Boemecke et al., writes "Indeed, apparently the only people who really believed that the Germans could fulfill their reparations obligations . . . are some historians. I emphasize some historians . . ." --Boson (talk) 13:47, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
this debate seems to have died out. The complainants seem to not known the work of Sally Marks and Niall Ferguson --they are leading 21st century specialists in the diplomatic and economic history of the era. Rjensen (talk) 10:16, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

As I see it, the reparations were two things: 1) an Allied demand for German money (or goods), and 2) an important element of the scolding and punishment of Germany. Keynes discusses both of these in the "Economic Consequences"; the Wikipedia article, only the first.RobLandau (talk) 19:17, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Gold Mark/Dollar conversions[edit]

I corrected an obvious discrepancy (probably a typo) between the "Evolution of Reparations" chart and the text. I'm assuming that the table should have read 28.35 as in the text, rather than 8. However, the numbers still seem inconsistent. For example, 28.35/112 = 0.253. However, this conversion factor suggests that 2 billion gold marks should equal $506 million as opposed to the figure provided. This may be the result of a change in the conversion rate, but it would be helpful if this could be clarified. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:07, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

The best conversion rate to use is probably that based on the gold standard. The gold mark was 12790 kilograms of gold, while the U.S. dollar was 23.22 grains. That makes an equivalence of 23.79 U.S. cents to the gold mark, or 4.203 marks to the dollar. Physchim62 (talk) 14:31, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
This smacks of WP:OR to me. The sources say a specific number when discussing conversion rates and never mention any gold standard conversion. It seems like you're doing OR and claiming that the gold standard converstaion should be used when the sources don't use your personal conversion standard. Also there seems to be some confusion on the initial amounts.

On pg 447 the initial amount is 226 billion gold marks which in the source says 55 billion dollars:[3]

On p. 261 the initial amount is 225 billion gold marks which in the source says 56.25 billion dollars:

But then it appears that London Ultimatum of May 1921 fixed Germany's aggregate liability at 132 billion gold marks:

On p. 410 the initial amount is 226 billion gold marks which in April of 1921 was changed to 132 billion gold marks[4]:

  • Boemeke, Manfred Franz; Feldman, Gerald D.Franz; Gläser, Elisabeth (1998). The Treaty of Versailles: a reassessment after 75 years, Volume 1919 (1998 ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521621328.  - Total pages: 674

On p. 61 the initial amount is 226 billion gold marks which in April of 1921 was changed to 132 billion gold marks or 33 billion dollars in 1921: [5]:

Therefore I'd like to edit the article to show that in early 1921 the initial amount was about 226 billion gold marks or $US 56 billion (US$ 740 in 2014) but after the London Ultimatum of May 1921 fixed the German amount at 132 billion gold marks or $US 33 billion (US$ 436 in 2014). -- Esemono (talk) 00:30, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

It seems as if you're pointing out a separate problem, which is that sources differ quite widely as to the level of the reparations. I agree with you on that: I tried to find sources at the start of the month when the issue was in the news, but gave up because of the huge discrepencies and my general lack of knowledge in the area. Do you agree that it is reasonable to convert the currencies on the basis of the gold standard (which was in force among the Allies until 1933)? Physchim62 (talk) 00:55, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
The sources say that it is a specific amount nothing about gold standards or if they were already applied. We should avoid WP:OR and just add what the sources was the dollar amount without changing that number. So if the sources say it was X amount of dollars in 1921 then that is the amount.-- Esemono (talk) 01:05, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Well I'm glad the sources agree with my exchange rate, and not the one that was in use in the article before the problem was pointed out. The sources also agree that the amount of the reparations were expressed in gold marks: that is the "original figure". As both the pound and the dollar were tied to the gold standard throughout the period of interest, the exchange rate with the gold mark did not change over that time: it's not WP:OR to say that, it's simple logic. I've no problem changing the amount of the reparations in gold marks, but I think we should have a consistent way of converting it into pounds or dollars: there are several possible ways of making the convertion, as gold marks were no longer in circulation after the War, but we should not be using multiple methods of conversion in a single article. Physchim62 (talk) 01:27, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Article is fantastic as it is. No need for change, it is backed with fact and historical representation. There is weight, and this is appropriated with different opinions. (talk) 02:55, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Bibliography or References[edit]

I renamed the "Bibliography" section to "References." I'm guessing that is ok because all other articles have "References" as its bibliography section. Please do correct me if I am wrong (and reply to this message). --Michaelzeng7 (talk) 00:22, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Mixture of date formats and spelling conventions[edit]

This article currently has a mixture of "British" and American spelling and formatting. I propose standardizing on (non-OUP) British spelling and formatting, and flagging this to request maintenance of consistency.

  • "British" dates:
    • 11 January 1923
    • 3 October 2010
  • "British" spelling:
    • favour
    • labour
    • totalled
    • totalling
  • American dates:
    • June 20, 1931
    • September 1, 1929
  • "American" spelling:
    • totaled
    • labeled
    • industrialized

--Boson (talk) 18:22, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

No mention of the class system?[edit]

In 1921, the Reparation Payment figure was established at 132,000 million gold marks seperated into three caterogies. 80,000 million marks were classified as class C. Class C "amounted to indefintate postponement of about 80,000 millions...".(Bell, The Origins of the Second World War in Europe, pp. 22-23) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:51, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

"was not the 132 billion marks cited in 1921 but rather the 50 million marks stipulated"...50.million or billion?[edit]

Can someone who has access to the Sally Marks reference please check whether the 50 million stated is correct? 132 Billion to 50 million does not seem plausible given the statements later in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pmarshal (talkcontribs) 10:18, 11 January 2013 (UTC) I changed the 50 million to 50 billion, since later in the article it is quoted that the A and B bonds together valued 50 billion marks.Pmarshal (talk) 10:30, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

agreed--it was 50 Billion as in 10^9, not million as in 10^6. Rjensen (talk) 11:19, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

unreferenced information removed from article[edit]

In many ways, the Versailles reparations were a reply to the reparations placed upon France by Germany through the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt, signed after the Franco-Prussian War.[citation needed] Indemnities of the Treaty of Frankfurt were in turn calculated, on the basis of population, as the precise equivalent of the indemnities demanded by Napoleon after the defeat of Prussia.[citation needed]

- the above needs solid sourcing before being reintegrated into the article

Infrastructure damage caused by the retreating German troops was also cited. In her book, Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War, Margaret MacMillan described the significance of the claims for French and Belgium: "From the start, France and Belgium argued that claims for direct damage should receive priority in any distribution of reparations. In the heavily industrialized north of France, the Germans had shipped out what they wanted for their own use and destroyed much of the rest. Even as German forces were retreating in 1918, they found time to blow up France's most important coal mine".(MacMillan, p. ?)

- the above has mostly been sourced through other books and is largely within the article. The point that the French and Belgians wanted reps for damages and the Germans transported material they did not destroy, should be added back into the article. However, having checked the history of the article for the last three years, no page information has ever been given. Can anyone verify MacMillan stated these things?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:28, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

What I actually found was this – slightly different, including the plural "coal mines" (which probably should not be wikilinked within a quotation):
  • "France, and Belgium, had argued from the start that claims for direct damage should receive priority in any distribution of reparations. [. . .] In the heavily industrialized north of France, the Germans had shipped out what they wanted for their own use and destroyed much of the rest. Even as German forces were retreating in 1918, they found time to blow up France's most important coal mines." p. 202
in Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War" (2003), MacMillan, M., ISBN 9780719562372, John Murray Paperback.
--Boson (talk) 00:42, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks very much. I have reintegrated the above into the article.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:07, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Young Plan question[edit]

I am aware that the main feature of the Young Plan was sorting out how much Germany had to pay per year and for how long. However, looking back through the article it notes that it also reduced - by 25 per cent - the sum of reparations Germany had to pay from 132 to 116 billion. As we all know, the Germans only needed to pay 50 billion of the former sum. Did the Young Plan take into account the A, B, and C Bonds? Did the Young Plan actually increase the amount Germany was obliged to pay?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 00:13, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Bulgaria reparations question[edit]

Until a better source is found that deals with the issue as a whole, the following two discuss what Bulgaria paid. Would use, in something akin to the below, breech WP:SYN?

Example: Between the signing of the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine and April 1922, Bulgaria paid 173 million gold francs in reparations.(1). In March 1923, the Bulgarian reparation figure was lowered to 555 million gold francs. Between 1925 and 1925, Bulgaria paid a further 41 million gold francs, before reparations were abandoned at the Lausanne conference.(2)EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:44, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

Notes: Gold francs converted to pound sterling

Bulgarian reps were very reasonable : on the other hand they produced a heavy economic burden


German (132bil) and Bulgarian reps in pound sterling:

collapse of Hungarian and Austrian economy meant it paid nothing:

Strain on Bulgarian economy:

brief history of Bulgarian reps:

"The Protocols applying the Hoover Moratorium to the reparation payments of Bulgaria and Hungary were not signed until January 22, 1932":

temp storage[edit]

To deal with the implementation of the Dawes Plan, a conference took place in London in July–August 1924.[1] The British Prime Minister J. Ramsay MacDonald, who accepted Keynes's view of reparations as impossible to pay successfully pressured the French Premier Édouard Herriot into a whole series of concessions to Germany.[2] A British onlooker, the diplomat Sir Eric Phipps commented that “The London Conference was for the French “man in the street” one long Calvary…as he saw M. Herriot abandoning one by one the cherished possessions of French preponderance on the Reparations Commission, the right of sanctions in the event of German default, the economic occupation of the Ruhr, the French-Belgian railroad Régie, and finally, the military occupation of the Ruhr within a year.”[3]

Request for verification[edit]

"Frustrated at Germany's unwillingness to pay reparations, Poincaré hoped for joint Anglo-French economic sanctions against Germany in 1922 and opposed military action. However by December 1922 he was faced with Anglo-American-German hostility and saw coal for French steel production draining away. Poincaré was exasperated with British failure to act, and wrote to the French ambassador in London:"

Is this supported by Schwarzschild, p. 140? EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:15, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

The above is supported by Sally Marks, ‘1918 and After’ in Gordon Martel (ed.), The Origins of the Second World War Reconsidered. Second Edition (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 26. The Poincaré quote immediately after is quoted in Schwarzschild, p. 140 (I have the book).--Britannicus (talk) 13:43, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks very much, I will insert the relevant inline citation.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 06:53, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Mantoux no longer considered valid[edit]

Mantoux was a Frenchman seeking a new round of German reparations after WW2. His polemics are not accepted by scholars, for as Feinstein (1995) has pointed out there were deep flaws in Mantoux's argument. He made all sorts of unhistorical assumptions regarding the Allies (he assumed they would not raise reparations as the German economy grew) and he underestimated the reluctance of the Germans to pay more taxes when they already saw reparations as oppressive and unjust. Feinstein concludes, "The payments were a paramount cause of instability and a barrier to international economic co-operation." see Feinstein, Charles H. (1995). Banking, Currency, and Finance in Europe Between the Wars. Oxford UP. p. 32.  This is serious scholarship that has to be included or readers might think that Mantoux had the last word and is still considered valid by scholars. Rjensen (talk) 16:42, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Feinstein is merely rehashing the outworn arguments of the old orthodox consensus that reparations were an impossibility. Sally Marks (who has written extensively on WWI reparations for decades) in a September 2013 article ('Mistakes and Myths: The Allies, Germany, and the Versailles Treaty, 1918-1921', The Journal of Modern History 85, pp. 632-659) says: "For nearly forty years, historians of twentieth-century diplomacy have argued that the Versailles treaty was more reasonable than its reputation suggests". Also, she says: "There are those, not all German, who claim reparations were unpayable. In financial terms, that is untrue...Of course Germans did not want to pay; nobody ever wants to pay, and Weimar was determined not to do so...Raising taxes would have provided ample funds...Weimar could have borrowed from the citizenry, as France did after 1871 [to pay its indemnity to Germany]". She also cites in support Stephen Schuker's The End of French Predominance in Europe. The Financial Crisis of 1924 and the Adoption of the Dawes Plan (University of North Carolina Press, 1976). William R. Keylor concurs with Marks' views and claims the popular non-academic view of the Versailles Treaty as harsh and that reparations were unpayable should "finally succumb to the archive-based discoveries of scholars". Marc Trachtenberg's book Reparations in World Politics (Columbia University Press, 1980) utilised previously unavailable archives and concluded that Germany could have paid but lacked the political will to do so. Since the 1970s, with access to archives unavailable to previous historians of the outdated Keynesian consensus, historians now largely concur that Mantoux's central thesis that Germany was capable of paying was correct. Peter Liberman wrote in 1996 (Does Conquest Pay? (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996)) that the French view, "that Germany could pay and only lacked the requisite will", has "gained support from recent historical research".--Britannicus (talk) 17:46, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
All of which is why I believe, as I have been trying to point out in the edit summaries and placement of information, that the mostly pre-war info should be kept in one section - contemporary. Let Keynes have his say, let Mantoux have his say (after all he was the biggest critic for the period as far as I am aware. The information surrounding him is rather minimal too, considering the length and what could probably get even lengthier info highlighting Keynes arguments). Then, in the modern section, paragraphs can be built around the various back and forth arguments by modern scholars over weather the information is valid or not. For example, as RJensen has highlighted Feinstein believes Mantoux was wrong and as Britannicus has noted other historians rather support his arguments while others take swiped at Keynes.
Slapping a sentence on the end saying Mantoux is wrong, by a modern scholar when it is not exactly consensus among all, is somewhat POV imo when the same has not been done to Keynes.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:46, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Request for verification 2[edit]

Mantoux said that Germany could pay for the whole damage caused by the war, and he set out to prove that many of Keynes' forecasts were not verified by subsequent events. For example, Keynes believed European output in iron would decrease, but by 1929 iron output in Europe was up 10 per cent from the 1913 figure. Keynes predicted that German iron and steel output would decrease, but by 1927 steel output increased by 30 per cent and iron output increased by 38 per cent from 1913 (within the pre-war borders). Keynes also argued that German coal mining efficiency would decrease but labour efficiency by 1929 had increased on the 1913 figure by 30 per cent. Keynes contended that Germany would be unable to export coal immediately after the Treaty but German net coal exports were 15 million tons within a year and by 1926 the tonnage exported reached 35 million. He also put forward the claim that German national savings in the years after the Treaty would be less than 2 billion marks; however, in 1925 the German national savings figure was estimated at 6.4 billion marks and in 1927, 7.6 billion marks. Keynes also believed that Germany would be unable to pay the more than 2 billion marks in reparations for the next 30 years, but Mantoux contends that German rearmament spending was seven times as much as that figure in each year between 1933 and 1939. Mantoux, however, ignores numerous intervening factors, such as the relaxation and eventual suspension of reparations payments, and the frequent defaults of Germany, and the serious economic consequences when these payments were carried out on time.

The above has been pulled from the article due to a lack of citations. Can anyone help with citing? Regards EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:06, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

It's in pages 162-163 of Mantoux's book.--Britannicus (talk) 14:54, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Britannicus. I do not have Mantoux's book or access to it, is the above pretty much accurate for those pages? Additionally, the final few sentences appear as a critique of Mantoux's work: do we have a source for that?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:31, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I would say so. I could take a picture of the pages if you like and you could judge. The last sentence I have no sources for and it should be left out.--Britannicus (talk) 12:49, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the help, the photos are not necessary. I will reintegrate the above, minus the last sentence.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:04, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
The above text does not make sufficiently clear what is being said in Wikipedia voice, what is being stated as Mantoux'x argument, and what is being stated as Mantoux's representation of what Keynes stated. So, before reintegration, the text should be edited to make those things clear (for instance, reconsider "Keynes believed . . .", "Keynes predicted . . .", "Keynes also argued . . . ", "Keynes contended . . .", "[Keynes] also put forward the claim that . . . ", "Keynes also believed that . . ." .
If the last sentence is removed, special care should also be taken to avoid the appearance of accepting or supporting any argument that Keynes was wrong where Keynes' predictions about what would happen if the treaty provisions were enforced are contrasted with statements about what did happen (according to Mantoux) under conditions in which the treaty provisions were not enforced (so reconsider multiple use of "but" and "however" which implies Wikipedia's acceptance of an incompatability between Keynes' predictions assuming certain conditions and reality under different conditions. --Boson (talk) 22:03, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the advise. I should have some free time later on, so I will try and get this incorporated into the section.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 06:17, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
I have reinserted the text, minus the unsourced parts and other minor bits. I have taken care, per Boson's advise above, in regards to the wording. However, I am not 100 per cent satisfied with the flow of the paragraph (probably due to me being half awake). If anyone wants to give it the once over, otherwise I will give it another look in a day or two to see what can be done.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:04, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

and another[edit]

"Historians, such as the Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan in her 2001 book Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War, have since disagreed with this analysis made by Keynes."

I only have access to the preview of this work via google books. From what I can preview, I can only see her commenting about what Keynes' thought, published, or said. I do not see any analytical comments. Can anyone provide a particular page for me to look at, or a quote to use?

Removed text[edit]

From "Modern", per WP:COATRACK (article is about reparations, not Keynes vs. Mantoux:

Robert Cord comments that until the release of Mantoux's work, "nobody seemed capable of mounting a serious challenge to his economic arguments." Despite Mantoux mounting a "convincing broadside" against Keynes' work, his "attack came far too late to do any real damage to Keynes's reputation".[4] Ruth Henig notes that while Mantoux did not rival Keynes' "in terms of immediate impact or huge sales" his "arguments have been supported and reinforced in more recent historical writing" resulting in the scholarly consensus now resting on the position that Germany was capable of paying what had been asked for.[5]

  1. ^ Marks 1978, p. 248
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference Marks_p._245 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference Marks_p._249 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference Cord41 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference Henig63 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

Cheers, Baffle gab1978 (talk) 02:04, 9 June 2014 (UTC)