On February 1920 Dr. Harty, technical advisor for the Reparations Commission, described the effect that the German Dye industry was having on the US. With large-scale production it was charging ‘extortionate prices’ for those dyes, which the US did not produce and undercutting American prices on the dyes, which it did produce.
Dr. Harty was immensely impressed by the German dye manufacturers he visited (‘his plants are even greater than before the war’) as well as by the bustling economic climate in Germany. ‘Everywhere there were signs of activity’, he wrote, ‘The same confidence characterised the industrial German as had been recorded by the military German in his first advances on Belgium.’ p.80
On the very day that Germany requested a moratorium (on paying war reparations) the New York Times sent a special correspondent, T Walter Williams, to Germany to see whether it was deceiving the Allies in declaring that it was poor.
In an article entitled Prosperity Seen in German Journey, Williams commented on the pretty and luxurious things to be seen in shops in the big cities. He was impressed with the clean and comfortable trains. He also noticed that there were freight trains on every siding loaded with machinery, ranging from ploughs to locomotives, waiting to be exported. Goods for Turkey, Greece and Asia Minor, where German exports were forbidden, were shipped to Rotterdam with French trademarks on them. p.92-3
The Times Financial and Commercial Review (of 1922) asserted that ‘without impugning the doctrine that worse currency may, and sometimes does, accompany worse economic conditions, it must be repeated that 1922, witnessing as it did an unexampled decline in the foreign exchange and home purchasing power of the Reichsmark, witnessed simultaneously national recovery in every other economic domain. p.99
By 1922 Germany was the second largest shipbuilder in the world. p.108
The New York Times had given irrefutable evidence of Germany’s economic strength. The newspaper expressed its astonishment that despite all the suffering on the Ruhr, Germany was still America’s best customer for cotton. It had imported ‘approximately double’ the amount of cotton than had either France or England in the first eight months of the year. Its imports of copper were also larger than that of any other country. And, amazingly, Germany was also one of America’s ‘best customers for meat products. The New York Times had these words to say on the figures the next day.
We must sharply distinguish between the severe financial embarrassments from which Germany is undoubtedly suffering, and her assured economic strength …’ p 113-4
The newly founded Institute for Business-Cycle Research in Germany found that the German national income (as opposed to the dreadfully low income of its workers) was higher in 1925 than it had been in 1913 despite the 1.8 million acres of land and 1.6 million people who had been removed from the country under the terms of the Versailles Treaty. p.133
Endnote. 18. In 1926 Germany exported twice the amount of coal that it had exported on average pre-war when the German Reich encompassed the whole of coal-rich Silesia. p.249
His (Dr Schacht’s) fellow Young Plan negotiator Dr. Albert Vögler was director general of Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG, which employed over 250,000 people and was the second largest iron and steel company in the world. p.149
Dulles maintained that … Germany’s exports were now greater than those of Great Britain … He accused some Germans of deliberately talking up Germany’s economic problems’. p.180
Germany’s … chemical industry was estimated to be the most powerful in the world. … Germany also had secret armaments factories in many different countries. p.181
… Between 1923 and 1931 British local authorities had borrowed 80% more than the German states and local authorities put together. p.134
There existed a paradoxical situation in Germany at this time with a record number of bankruptcies, increased personal taxation, unemployment and wage reductions, which persuaded foreigners to believe that Germany was in dire straits. Yet the Reichsbank was sitting on a mountain of cash. In 1924 in order to avoid another Great Inflation, it had been ordained that the Reichsbank should hold gold and foreign currency reserves to cover at least 40% of the value of notes in circulation. This edict was never rescinded before the banking crisis in 1931, despite the persistent appeals of the redoubtable head of the Weimar Statistical Office, Ernst Wagemann.
In 1931 Germany’s exports reigned supreme. It was the world’s ‘leading export country’. While the quantity of world trade remained stationary, Germany’s share doubled. In August France was forced to fix import quotas to keep out German goods. In September Poland raised its tariffs. Italy, France and Holland followed and finally Britain imposed emergency duties. p.188