Great Britain, France, and the German Problem, 1918-1939: A Study of Anglo-French Relations in the Making and Maintenance of the Versailles Settlement

By W. M. Jordan | Go to book overview

The Hague, 3rd-20th January 1930. At this second Conference the question of sanctions in the event of future default was regulated. The Young Plan came into force on 9th May 1930.

The new Plan, the successful operation of which depended on the continued expansion of trade, fell a victim in its very infancy to the world economic depression. On 20th June 1931, confronted by the imminent collapse of German finance, President Hoover launched on a startled world his proposal for a moratorium of one year on all inter-governmental war debt and reparation payments. With the ensuing negotiations, interlinked with the development of the economic crisis, it is not proposed to deal.


CHAPTER IX
REPARATION: THE FACTORS OF DISCORD

IN the five years of disillusionment which followed the signature of the Treaty, reparation played a rôle in Anglo-French relations which far surpassed that of any other problem. In an enterprise the good conduct of which depended on their cordial collaboration, England and France found themselves unable to agree on a concerted policy capable of being carried out over a period of time. A series of false starts, to the accompaniment of increasingly bitter recrimination, ended in an atmosphere of suspicion, and even enmity. Not till 1924, when the Dawes Plan at last gave respite to Allied statesmen from their Sisyphean task, did reparation yield pride of place to other issues in Anglo-French relations. Then for another period of equal length--five halcyon years they appeared in retrospect--reparation was carried through quietly, and kept off the political scene. In 1929 it returned with new venom to the world of politics, and proceeded through circumstances which recalled those of its early years to a premature decease in 1932, which France lamented, while England sighed with relief.

In a study concerned not with the economic aspects, but with the political background of reparation, interest attaches mainly to the first years of controversy, 1920-1924. One major feature of this earlier period is singled out for consideration elsewhere. The British policy of seeking a direct understanding with Germany on reparation found its expression in a series of conferences, the story of which is told in Chapter VII. Here an attempt is made to elucidate the causes of the Anglo-French wrangle which started in the last days of the Peace Conference and terminated with the adoption of the Dawes Plan.

No factor contributed more to the inability of Great Britain and

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