The Economic Consequences of the Peace eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 207 pages of information about The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

(c) There remains a third provision more sweeping than either of the above, neither of which affects German interests in neutral countries.  The Reparation Commission is empowered up to May 1, 1921, to demand payment up to $5,000,000,000 in such manner as they may fix, “whether in gold, commodities, ships, securities or otherwise."[28] This provision has the effect of intrusting to the Reparation Commission for the period in question dictatorial powers over all German property of every description whatever.  They can, under this Article, point to any specific business, enterprise, or property, whether within or outside Germany, and demand its surrender; and their authority would appear to extend not only to property existing at the date of the Peace, but also to any which may be created or acquired at any time in the course of the next eighteen months.  For example, they could pick out—­as presumably they will as soon as they are established—­the fine and powerful German enterprise in South America known as the Deutsche Ueberseeische Elektrizitaetsgesellschaft (the D.U.E.G.), and dispose of it to Allied interests.  The clause is unequivocal and all-embracing.  It is worth while to note in passing that it introduces a quite novel principle in the collection of indemnities.  Hitherto, a sum has been fixed, and the nation mulcted has been left free to devise and select for itself the means of payment.  But in this case the payees can (for a certain period) not only demand a certain sum but specify the particular kind of property in which payment is to be effected.  Thus the powers of the Reparation Commission, with which I deal more particularly in the next chapter, can be employed to destroy Germany’s commercial and economic organization as well as to exact payment.

The cumulative effect of (a), (b), and (c) (as well as of certain other minor provisions on which I have not thought it necessary to enlarge) is to deprive Germany (or rather to empower the Allies so to deprive her at their will—­it is not yet accomplished) of everything she possesses outside her own frontiers as laid down in the Treaty.  Not only are her oversea investments taken and her connections destroyed, but the same process of extirpation is applied in the territories of her former allies and of her immediate neighbors by land.

(5) Lest by some oversight the above provisions should overlook any possible contingencies, certain other Articles appear in the Treaty, which probably do not add very much in practical effect to those already described, but which deserve brief mention as showing the spirit of completeness in which the victorious Powers entered upon the economic subjection of their defeated enemy.

First of all there is a general clause of barrer and renunciation:  “In territory outside her European frontiers as fixed by the present Treaty, Germany renounces all rights, titles and privileges whatever in or over territory which belonged to her or to her allies, and all rights, titles and privileges whatever their origin which she held as against the Allied and Associated Powers...."[29]

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The Economic Consequences of the Peace from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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