Loans and Debt Resolution - Hitler repudiates the versailles treaty and reparations




In a speech to the Reichstag on 17 May 1933, Adolf Hitler denounced the Treaty of Versailles because, in part, it had imposed such large reparations payments as to leave Germany in economic shambles.

"All the problems which are causing such unrest today lie in the deficiencies of the Treaty of Peace which did not succeed in solving in a clear and reasonable way the questions of the most decisive importance for the future. Neither national nor economic—to say nothing of legal—problems and demands of the nations were settled by this treaty in such a way as to stand the criticism of reason in the future. It is therefore natural that the idea of revision is not only one of the constant accompaniments of the effects of this treaty, but that it was actually foreseen as necessary by the authors of the Treaty and therefore given a legal foundation in the Treaty itself….

"It is not wise to deprive a people of the economic resources necessary for its existence without taking into consideration the fact that the population dependent on them are bound to the soil and will have to be fed. The idea that the economic extermination of a nation of sixty-five millions would be of service to other nations is absurd. Any people inclined to follow such a line of thought would, under the law of cause and effect, soon experience that the doom which they were preparing for another nation would swiftly overtake them. The very idea of reparations and the way in which they were enforced will become a classic example in the history of the nations of how seriously international welfare can be damaged by hasty and unconsidered action.

"As a matter of fact, the policy of reparations could only be financed by German exports. To the same extent as Germany, for the sake of reparations, was regarded in the light of an international exporting concern, the export of the creditor nations was bound to suffer. The economic benefit accruing from the reparation payments could therefore never make good the damage which the system of reparations inflicted upon the individual economic systems.

"The attempt to prevent such a development by compensating for a limitation of German exports by the grant of credits, in order to render payments possible, was no less short-sighted and mistaken in the end. For the conversion of political debts into private obligations led to an interest service which was bound to have the same results. The worst feature, however, was that the development of internal economic life was artificially hindered and ruined. The struggle to gain the world markets by constant underselling led to excessive rationalization measures in the economic field.

"The millions of German unemployed are the final result of this development. If it was desired, however, to restrict reparation obligations to deliveries in kind, this must naturally cause equally serious damage to the internal production of the nations receiving them. For deliveries in kind to the amount involved are unthinkable without most seriously endangering the production of the individual nations.

"The Treaty of Versailles is to blame for having inaugurated a period in which financial calculations appear to destroy economic reason.

"Germany has faithfully fulfilled the obligations imposed upon her, in spite of their intrinsic lack of reason and the obviously suicidal consequences of this fulfillment.

"The international economic crisis is the indisputable proof of the correctness of this statement."

— From Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922–August 1939. Vol. 2. New York, 1969 —

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