THE ECONOMIC ADMINISTRATION DURING THE ARMISTICE
BY HERBERT HOOVER
During the course of the war itself the economic difficulties in every direction were dominant factors in its. conduct. With the moment of the armistice we were confronted with a host of new and unprecedented difficulties. These difficulties flowed not only from the overnight reversal in the whole alignment of economic machinery built up steadily during the war, but also from the added burden of our being confronted with economic and social currents from the enemy countries that threatened immediately to overwhelm Europe in chaos. The danger to civilization from militarism was at once replaced by the imminent danger from economic collapse. I propose to enumerate some of the major problems that lay before us.
A. Some 160,000,000 people in liberated and enemy nations were face to face with the most terrible famine since the Thirty Years' War, when a third of the people in those areas died. Their food-supplies had steadily degenerated through the war, by blockade and diversion of man-power, until the consequent breakdown of morale in the civil population had contributed more than any other one factor to their revolutions and subsequent surrender.
All the four old empires were in the midst of revolution, from which fourteen states emerged in a month.