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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

Category: Economic history
November 11, 2014 at 10:58 AM

After the first Veterans Day

Veterans Day has its origins in the commemoration of the Great War, which ended in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. In Commonwealth countries, it is Remembrance Day. America had enjoyed spectacular economic growth during the war, even before entering as a combatant on the side of the allies…

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Comments | Topics: Herbert Hoover, John Maynard Keynes, World War I

November 11, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Veterans Day, and the economic issues of the world wars

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the Great War ended. This is the origin of Veterans Day. In Great Britain and many countries of the former empire, it is Remembrance Day. World War I cost more than 16 million lives, another 50 million to 100 million from the war-related 1918 flu pandemic, toppled four empires and birthed the Soviet Union.

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the war’s beginning, attention should be paid, even to the economic issues.

Following the end of the war, the Versailles peace conference imposed a highly punitive peace against Germany, even though the Kaiser had abdicated and the new social democratic government had adopted President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points. But Wilson, although well meaning and beloved, was rolled by the more calculating French Prime Minster Georges Clemenceau and his British counterpart, David Lloyd George.

Two men who left the conference disgusted were John Maynard Keynes, a British Treasury official, and Herbert Hoover, the future American president who had led Belgian relief during the war and fed much of Europe afterward. He had earned his nickname, “The Great Humanitarian.”

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Comments | More in Economic history | Topics: Herbert Hoover, John Maynard Keynes, World War I