"The Man Who Predicted Nazi Germany"

    In 1919, John Maynard Keynes foresaw the chaos that would follow from the Versailles peace treaty.

    Guest op-ed by Dr. Jonathan Kirshner (professor of political science at Boston College) @ NYTimes.com, Dec. 7

    On Dec. 8, 1919, Macmillan Press published a book by a relatively obscure British Treasury official who had resigned from the government in protest over the Versailles treaty that brought the epochal trauma of the First World War to its conclusion.

    The small treatise, the official wrote, sought to explain “the grounds of his objection to the treaty, or rather to the whole policy of the conference towards the economic problems of Europe.” A conservative print of 5,000 copies seemed right for a technocrat’s dissent, which featured meticulously detailed passages that pored over the history and prospects of things like Germany’s coal production and export markets.

    The book, “The Economic Consequences of the Peace,” turned out to be a phenomenon. It swiftly went through six printings, was translated into a dozen languages, sold over 100,000 copies, and brought world fame to its 36-year-old author, John Maynard Keynes [....]


    Keynes was part of the British delegation at Versailles and later described to a Bloomsbury discussion  group how he 

    violated his instructions to resolve a needless impasse.

    In mid stream-sort of a pun- the Admiralty suddenly instructed the negotiators that the German civilian fleet should be turned over to Allied control. Of course the German famine was intense in 1918 and that fleet had been unable to sale for any reason for 5 years.

    (Also discussed  in length in  "Gossip from the forest" the fascinating description of the Nov 1918 armistice  negotiations by the  author of Schindler's List. )

    The Brit negotiators  at Versailles agreed among themselves to interpret the Admiralty instructions as only requiring a pro forma take over.  But not to be revealed  as such to the other side. 

    Meanwhile ,in the discussions to that point Keynes had come to been  impressed by the participation  from one  of the Germans. As he later learned , a Jewish banker.

    When the Admiralty requirement was put on the table it caused an impasse. Keynes was frustrated to see the negotiations stalled  by the introduction of an imaginary issue. 

    Happening to leave  the elevator in parallel with the banker they walked  ,silently as required . Until passing   Keynes room. With a nod he indicated the  banker should join him . Inside ,Keynes  advised him to accept the  fleet take over requirement .The German said that the key German requirement at Versailles was to for those ships to import the food to end the famine.  No fleet , no peace.

    Keynes explained that it was a requirement with substance, Essentially the German harbor pilot  after leaving  port would give the control of the ship to a  Brit officer who would immediately  turn it back to a German.

     The banker used Keynes phone to call the  by then new Socialist Chancellor . He agreed and Keynes and the banker separately returned to the negotiations which were successful.

    Although Keynes had the British upper class genteel anti semitism  he and the banker formed a relationship which lasted for 15 years.  Throughout which both governments used them as a back channel to resolve disputes.

    Until Adolph.


    thank you for spending the time to share that, Flav

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