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The Economic Consequences of the Peace

John Maynard Keynes

Book Overview: 

The Economic Consequences of the Peace was a best seller throughout the world, published by John Maynard Keynes. Keynes attended the Versailles Conference as a delegate of the British Treasury and argued for a much more generous peace with Germany. The book was critical in establishing a general worldwide opinion that the Versailles Treaty was a brutal and unfair peace towards Germany. It helped to consolidate American public opinion against the treaty and involvement in the League of Nations. The perception by much of the British public that Germany had been treated unfairly in turn was a crucial factor in public support for appeasement. The success of the book established Keynes' reputation as a leading economist especially on the left.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .dmit; in the sweat of solitary contemplation and with prayers to God be had done nothing that was not just and right; for the President to admit that the German reply had force in it was to destroy his self-respect and to disrupt the inner equipoise of his soul; and every instinct of his stubborn nature rose in self-protection. In the language of medical psychology, to suggest to the President that the Treaty was an abandonment of his professions was to touch on the raw a Freudian complex. It was a subject intolerable to discuss, and every subconscious instinct plotted to defeat its further exploration.

Thus it was that Clemenceau brought to success, what had seemed to be, a few months before, the extraordinary and impossible proposal that the Germans should not be heard. If only the President had not been so conscientious, if only he had not concealed from himself what he had been doing, even at the last moment he was in, a position to have recovered lost ground. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I enjoyed this book. John Maynard Keynes eloquently explains beautifully why Germany cannot pay for the reparation and the demands inflicted upon them by the allies. The reasoning behind Wilson (Vague, nebulous 14 points), Clemenceau (Revanche) and Lloyd George (Politics in winning the 1918 GE) and

While Keynes is generally recognized as one of the greatest economists, this book from 1920 shows just how perceptive his observation and thinking were. The book tells us more than we might want to know about the destructive and vindictive peace that was forced on Germany at the end of the Great War

Very interesting and helpful to anyone trying to understand the fundamental connection between the Treaty of Versailles, the Great Depression, the rise of fascism, and the resultant second world war. It also gives insight into one of the most influential economists of the modern age- always useful.

It is downright scary how accurate JMK was when he predicted that harsh economic sanctions would lead Germany down the path to extremism...another book that should be read by elected officials and military leaders. I see many similar situations occurring right now - and I do believe there is the pot

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