Abstract: It is widely believed that John Maynard Keynes wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919) to protest the reparations imposed on Germany after the First World War. The central thesis of this paper is that Britain’s war debt problem, not German reparations, led Keynes to write The Economic Consequences of the Peace. His main goal at the Paris Peace Conference was to restore Britain’s economic hegemony by solving the war debt problem he helped to create. We show that Keynes was responsible for many of the most notorious aspects of the reparations section of the Treaty, and he crafted his proposals in light of mercantilist theories designed to keep Germany relatively poor after the war. His desperate desire to solve Britain’s war debt problem, mixed with his mercantilist ideas, inspired him to write The Economic Consequences of the Peace.
Keywords: John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, First World War, Treaty of Versailles, reparations
JEL Codes: B17, E12, N14
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