Debts Without Redemption
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Old war debts never die, they just fade away In 2015, Britain finally paid off a large war loan issued in 1917 to finance the First World War. In 2010, Germany made the last payments on some 80-year-old debts originally used to finance part of its reparations bill imposed by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. These were exceptions. The vast majority of the debts made during the Great War have never been paid back, including billion dollar loans from the US to western allies. These debts were the result of four years of almost unlimited spending by belligerent governments. This is the first book that provides the reader with an overview of the financial aspects of the Great War from the French reparations after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 to the present day. Apart from financing of the war itself, the author also covers the aftermath and the entanglement of inter-ally debts and German reparations. It emphasises differences between countries in payment ethics, illustrated with striking examples and original graphs. The human interest of finance is not forgotten, by means of short but captivating biographies of the financial leaders of the time, men who made decisions that were at least as far-reaching as those of the generals on the battlefields. The author, Aris Gaaff (1949), has specialised in public finance, social cost-benefit analysis and policy evaluation. He is an active member of the Western Front Association Nederland. He has published and lectured on First World War topics of finance and political decision-making.
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