Depression and "Réprise des Affaires"
In tracing the history of money, credit and banking in France during the war, we shall give attention to certain large topics, some of which can be treated with considerable detail. Among these are the following: (1) The economic depression that followed the outbreak of the war and the gradual resumption of industrial and commercial activity to which the French have given the name "réprise des affaires." (2) The disturbances in the technique of industry, particularly in the matter of raw materials, labor force and coal, and in transportation, both by land and sea, which have grown out of the war. (3) The moratorium and the efforts to get rid of it. (4) The course of security prices on the French bourse and the main causes affecting them. (5) The rôle of the Banque de France during the war, including an account of its relations with the state, its aid to industry and commerce, its relations with other banks, its gold policy and the main changes in its balance sheet. (6) The effects of the war on the great private banks, the provincial banks and the savings banks. (7) Public finance, with special reference to taxes and public loans, and the reaction of public finance on banking and foreign exchange. (8) The foreign trade of France and the problem of foreign exchange rates and international payments. (9) The changes in the circulating medium in France: the disappearance of gold and silver coin, hoarding, substitutes for coin, the efforts to popularize the use of checks, the extension of the clearing house system. (10) The course of commodity prices in France and the main causes affecting them.
These topics are all interrelated and the order of treatment is more or less a matter of arbitrary choice. It will be convenient, however, to sketch certain general features in large outline before undertaking a detailed treatment of any of them.