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socialism and appeasement

German bad faith between the wars

So few stood firm against the socialist dictatorships of Stalin and Hitler

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German bad faith between the wars is one of a number of documents analysing dysfunctional social, or group, behaviour in modern society.
In this document,
abelard examines the German-Russian alliance and what actually occurred with German reparations

on sociology on socialism 'social' economics supporting resources
and background documents
For more on sociology and socialism:

Introdution - socialism & sociology
sociology - the structure of analysing belief systems

Labour Party pamphlets:
If you want peace, prepare for war.
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 Robert E Lee
It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.

the sociology of appeasement

some relevant dates
allies - russia and germany
a very few were clear-sighted
bibliography with reviews
end notes
related further reading

New translation, the Magna Carta










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Some relevant dates:

11 November 1918 Armistice Day
28 July 1919 Treaty of Versailles
16 April 1922 Treaty of Rapallo
1922-1923 The great German inflation
11 January 1923 French invasion/occupation of the Ruhr, ordered by Raymond Poincaré
26 September 1923 Stresseman proclaims German capitulation to French occupation
1931 the great banking crash starts with the collapse of Creditanstalt
23 August 1939-22 June 1941 Hitler-Stalin Alliance
1 September 1939 World War 2 declared
the night of 10 May 1940 Winston Churchill becomes UK prime minister
5 June 1940 Fall of France
10 July – 31 October 1940 the Battle of Britain
22 June 1941 Hitler attacks Russia
7 December 1941 Pearl Harbour attacked by Japan
  1. Notice that, from the very beginning of the 1918 armistice, Germany was seeking to rearm. They were colluding with socialist Russia from the time of the Treaty of Rapallo, and before. As the French Marshal, Ferdinand Foch, is claimed to have said at the time of the Armistice,
         "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years".
    He was right, it was just over twenty years until the start of World War Two.

  2. From the fall of France in mid-1940 until Hitler’s attack on the Soviet union in mid-1941, Britain stood alone against Hitler’s socialist Germany. The United States of America remained neutral until the end of 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. Hitler then declared war on the United States. The USA did not contribute militarily in any serious fashion to the war in Europe until about March, 1943. Up until that time, their main contribution was in materiel. To read the history in much detail, see The Last Lion.

papal encyclicals and marx - some extracts: on socialism and liberalism


After the First World War, the German establishment never accepted defeat. The Versailles Treaty had hardly been signed, the Germans were seeking revenge and looking for means to rearm and continue with their ambitions to dominate Europe. The narrative that the trouble started with Hitler is mere political myth-making (see the following linked quote). Very soon, the two socialist dictatorships of Germany and Russia were co-operating to build and rebuild their military machines.

The infection of socialism was rampant throughout Western societies:

“If only everyone was nice to each other, there would not be any wars.”
“If only we could kill all the rich people, we could enter the Garden of Eden.”

Envy, hope and grand schemers all just know the best way to bring on the millennium, just as long as you let them be in charge. Obviously, as they know the magic formula, anyone who resisted or even questioned their notions was clearly evil and an enemy of mankind, richly deserving to die.

Cooler heads who cautioned thought and moderation must be harbouring bad intentions or worse.

allies - russia and germany

“The second period, inaugurated by the Rapallo treaty [1922], was a time of friendly political and economic co-operation between Soviet-Russia and the Weimar Republic and of an intimate friendship between the Soviet Government and the German reactionaries round the Reichswehr. During this time Russia was secretly producing for Germany those arms and war materials which the Versailles treaty had prohibited her from producing herself.”
[Quoted from]

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“Odd and unpredictable are the ways of the world. For five years, humanitarians and progressives and would-be psychologists of all sorts had been patting Germany on the back, recommended that she be treated kindly. in these five years Germany had not for a single month desisted from war. These were years of continuous and increasing trouble. Then one man [M. Poincare] came and seized Germany by the throat, and as if by magic, six years of relative reasonableness followed, years of order and hence of prosperity.”
[Quoted from World in Trance, 1942; pp.222-3]

The French moved into the Ruhr on 11 January 1923 and left on 25 August 1925.

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“The Allied Control Commission (ACC).

“After Germany signed the Locarno Pact, the Allied withdrew the ACC (1928). from the final report of the ACC, "Germany has never disarmed, had never had the intention of disarming, and for seven years has done everything in her power to deceive and 'counter-control' the Commission appointed to control her disarmament."
[Quoted from World in Trance, 1942; p. 257]

Strong government efforts were made to suppress this report and to tone it down, including by Chamberlain and Briand.

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“When the Nazis attacked Poland in the morning on September 1, 1939, the Soviets stood by and watched. Two days later, the British declared war on Germany and World War II had begun. On September 17, the Soviets rolled into eastern Poland to occupy their "sphere of influence" designated in the secret protocol.”

“The economic agreement committed the Soviet Union to provide food products as well as raw materials to Germany in exchange for finished products such as machinery from Germany.

“During the first years of the war, this economic agreement helped Germany bypass the British blockade.”
[Quoted from]

Before world War Two, both socialist regimes were arming to the teeth. Here is a summary of military expenditure in 1937:

State %age of national income
spent on defence
Defence expenditure
British Empire 5.7 1,263
France 9.1 909
Germany 23.5 4,000
Italy 14.5 870
Japan 28.2 1,130
U.S.A. 1.5 992
U.S.S.R. 26.4 5,026
Source: Quincy Wright, A study of war, appendix 12, table 60, p.672;
extracted from The Labour Party and the world, vol. 1 by Rhiannon Vickers.

As you will see, Britain, with a whole empire to administer, was spending far less than the belligerent countries. Additonally, you must multiply these numbers by 20 or 40 to reach any where near modern monetary values. The economies in 1937 were also much smaller, when compared to modern productive capacities. Thus, the numbers should be read in conjunction with the GDP (national income) percentages.

a very few were clear-sighted

Written in 1932 by C.F. Melville, in The Russian face of Germany, pp5-6

"...Politically the Prussian mind—with the exception of Bismarck and of Stresemann in his later phase—has rarely shown itself capable of seeing beyond its nose. This Prussian political shortsightedness was strikingly demonstrated when the Berlin military camarilla sent Lenin in a sealed train into Russia, and again, more recently, when Herren Bruening and Curtius essayed their ill-timed project for the Austro- German Customs Union. Both these actions resulted in sub- sequent trouble for Germany, which the German Governments of the day entirely failed to visualise at the time. The Reichswehr chiefs who are conducting the Abmachungen[agreements] delude themselves that they can use Bolshevist Russia to help them in their hoped-for war of revenge against Europe, and then, in the hour of victory, hold the Bolshevists at bay, and keep them in their place. The more subtle psychologists at the Kremlin, of course, know better, but are wise enough to keep their knowledge to themselves. The fact, however, that this German- Russian plot will, in the end, bring about the destruction of Germany, will not in any way reconcile Europe to its own destruction at the hands of Germany and Russia together."

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The next was quoted by Tom Wintringham, a Marxist, on p. 16 of 'Your M. P.', 1944, as an attack on Churchill (the book was written under a pseudonym, ‘Gracchus’).

“An infected Russia, a plague-bearing Russia…the soldiers are incited to mutiny and kill their officers, the mobs are raised against the middle classes to murder them, to plunder their houses, to steal their belongings, to debauch their wives.” (Churchill, 28th July 1920)

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The following was said by Duff Cooper in the U.K. parliament, after Neville Chamberlain had sold out Czechoslovakia in September 1938. This is the final part of his resignation speech, the full speech being available in Hansard.

“The Prime Minister has confidence in the good will and in the word of Herr Hitler, although when Herr Hitler broke the Treaty of Versailles he undertook to keep the Treaty of Locarno, and when he broke the Treaty of Locarno he undertook not to interfere further, or to have further territorial aims, in Europe. When he entered Austria by force he authorised his henchmen to give an authoritative assurance that he would not interfere with Czechoslovakia. That was less than six months ago. Still, the Prime Minister believes that he can rely upon the good faith of Hitler; he believes that Hitler is interested only in Germany, as the Prime Minister was assured. Well, there are Germans in other countries. There are Germans in Switzerland, in Denmark and in Alsace; I think that one of the only countries in Europe in which there are no Germans is Spain and yet there are rumours that Germany has taken an interest in that country. But the Prime Minister believed—and he has the advantage over us, or over most of us, that he has met the man—that he can come to a reasonable settlement of all outstanding questions between us. Herr Hitler said that he has got to have some settlement about colonies, but he said that this will never he a question of war. The Prime Minister attaches considerable importance to those words, but what do they mean? Do they mean that Herr Hitler will take "No" for an answer? He has never taken it yet. Or do they mean that he believes that he will get away with this, as he has got away with everything else, without fighting, by well-timed bluff, bluster and blackmail? Otherwise it means very little.

"The Prime Minister may be right. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, with the deepest sincerity, that I hope and pray that he is right, but I cannot believe what he believes. I wish I could. Therefore, I can be of no assistance to him in his Government. I should be only a hindrance, and it is much better that I should go. I remember when we were discussing the Godesberg ultimatum that I said that if I were a party to persuading, or even to suggesting to, the Czechoslovak Government that they should accept that ultimatum, I should never be able to hold up my head again. I have forfeited a great deal. I have given up an office that I loved, work in which I was deeply interested and a staff of which any man might be proud. I have given up associations in that work with my colleagues with whom I have maintained for many years the most harmonious relations, not only as colleagues but as friends. I have given up the privilege of serving as lieutenant to a leader whom I still regard with the deepest admiration and affection. I have ruined, perhaps, my political career. But that is a little matter; I have retained something which is to me of great value—I can still walk about the world with my head erect."
[From HC Deb 03 October 1938 vol 339 cc29-40]


Amazingly, reparations never happened in the real world, that is they never happened. However, reparations still became a complete economic and political tangle.

“...The net capital inflow, after subtracting all reparations transferred and making generous allowance for the disguised return of German funds, still came to a minimum of 2.1 percent of national income over the same thirteen years.” [1919 to 1931]

“ The "reparations" to Germany allowed the maintenance of living standards in the Weimar Republic at a level appreciably higher than domestic productivity would have justified. Savings and investment remained notably low compared with either the prewar pattern or the long-term trend. The inflow of funds accommodated increased wages and salaries, even in sectors with lagging productivity gains, and despite the more precipitous decline in the length of the work week in Germany and elsewhere. These funds found reflection also in mounting government welfare expenditures before as well as after the onset of the Depression [...] and [...] in the accretion of German assets abroad that would later help finance Nazi rearmament.”
[Quoted from American Reparations to Germany, 1919-33 by Stephen A. Schuker, p.10-11]

Elsewhere Schuker also says, Germany paid 19.1 billion marks in reparations and, in the same time, took in 27 billion marks in loans from the United States. Germany defaulted on these in 1932.
[Quoted by N. Ferguson in The pity of war]

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Paraphrase of World in Trance, p. 184.
Should reparations be used to increase purchases from Germany? Who wanted to increase German exports, let alone do that at the expense of British or other business markets?

Should reparation marks be used to purchase shares in German businesses? No, said the Lefties and Liberals. That would be foreign ‘exploitation’ of Germans, despite that would give Germans work, new businesses, housing etc.

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The great inflation of 1922-23 was another attempt by Germany to undermine and avoid reparations.

“...with over 300 paper mills and some 2000 printing presses working around the clock to produce reichbank notes, it was impossible to provide the notes necessary to insure transactions at the inflated prices...” —
“...although [the Reichbank] president seriously expressed the hope that the new high-speed presses soon to be installed would help to overcome the currency shortage...”
[The political economy of Germany in the twentieth century, p.22]

Depreciation of the mark
Period Index of U.S. dollar rate of exchange (1913=100)
1920   January 1,542  
    July 940  
1921   January 1,545  
    July 1,826  
1922   January 4,569  
    July 11,750  
1923   January 427,900  
    July 8,415,000  
    August 110,000,000  
    September 2,354,000,000  
    October 601,430,000,000  
    November 219,400,000,000,000  

See also the review of The Economic Consequences of the Peace (below, in the Bibliography).

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Lenin, 1917 - central banking (nationalisation) and socialism

"The big banks are the "state apparatus" which we need to bring about socialism, and which we take ready-made from capitalism; our task here is merely to lop off what capitalistically mutilates this excellent apparatus, to make it even bigger, even more democratic, even more comprehensive. Quantity will be transformed into quality. A single State Bank, the biggest of the big, with branches in every rural district, in every factory, will constitute as much as nine-tenths of the socialist apparatus. This will be country wide book-keeping, country-wide accounting of the production and distribution of goods, this will be, so to speak, some thing in the nature of the skeleton of socialist society." [Lenin]

The rouble depreciated about 50 million times by 1923 [Katsenellenbaum, Russian Currency and banking, 1914-24, published 1925].

And again in 1990-3 Russia destroyed the rouble.
Jan. 1990 : $1 was 10.27 roubles
June 1993 : $1 was 1060 roubles, that is inflated by 100 times (source: IMF and World Bank). This was in the Gorbachev-Yeltsin era.)return to the Index on Extracts from papal encyclicals and Marxism


Related further reading
on socialism

Bibliography with reviews
All eyes see the same, yet tell different stories.
Guilty men

Guilty Men


[first published in England by Victor Gollancz, a Left-wing publisher]

by “Cato” [Michael Foot, Frank Owen, Peter Howard]

1940, Frederick A. Stokes Company, Inc

A scurrilous and dishonest piece of propaganda.
The Left was never right The Left was never right

by Quintin Hogg

1945, Faber and Faber Ltd

This dense little book dismantled the nonsense in Michael Foot’s propaganda above [Guilty Men].

Written in 1945, this book also attacks other propagandising tracts by Left and Liberal revisionists.

The book is over 200 pages and measures 12.2 x 19 x 11 cm (4 ¾ x 5 x 3/8 ins). It is printed in a tiny typeface and produced to wartime economy standards - “This book is produced in complete conformity with the authorized economy standards”.

The analysis is very detailed - a fascinating document.

Your MP by Gracchus Your M.P.

by Gracchus

1944, Victor Gollancz Ltd

A ridiculous little book by a Marxist, thumping away at the usual theme, “It’s all the fault of the capitalists”, and the arms dealers.


[Gracchus was Tom Wintringham (15 May 1898—16 August 1949), a rather strange Marxist.]

We're not all weong by Mander We were not all wrong

by Geoffrey Mander M.P.

1944, Victor Gollancz Ltd

A milquetoast apologetic by a Liberal M.P. who could continue to struggle to believe that if only people had been nicer to each other and to Germany, things would have turned out a lot better.

The book ends with “Whatever form of organisation may be established, it must be realistic. It is now clear that war anywhere is the concern of everybody and we must have armed policemen ready instantly to arrest a disturber of the peace...”

Remember, this was written in 1944.

The roots of National Socialism by Butler The roots of National Socialism 1783-1933

by Rohan D’O Butler

1941, hbk, Faber and Faber Ltd

An analysis of the evolution of Prussian militarism, continuing into the Third Reich.
The Russian face of Germany by Melville, 1932 The Russian face of Germany, an account of the secret military relations between the German and soviet-Russian governments

by Cecil Frank Melville

Wishart, hbk, 1932



An early prescient analysis of the likely outcome of the Russian-German socialist alliance. This is an extremely rare book, but there are several scanned copies available on the internet. An example can be found here.
Inspection for disarmament edited by Melman Inspection for disarmament

edited by Seymour Melman

1958, hbk, Columbia University Press

See pp.203-219 : Disarmament and Clandestine Rearmament under the Weimar Republic by E.J. Gumbel.

[Gumbel was a pacifist who helped expose the German rearmament program. He was, as a result, thrice charged with high treason by the Nazis. He fled to France and was almost arrested and extradited after the Germans occupied France, but managed to escape to America.]

world  in trance World in trance from Versailles to Pearl Harbour

by Leopold Schwarzschild, translated from the German by Norbert Guterman

1942, L. B. Fischer Publishing Corp.

A very readable 400-page, blow by blow, outline of the political errors between the two world wars.

Recommended by Winston Churchill, hated by Michael Foot and H.G. Wells (a dedicated fascist).

The 2nd world war vol1: the gathering storm - Churchill

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The 2nd world war vol1: the gathering storm - Churchill

The Second World War volume I: The Gathering Storm

[First published 1948]

by Winston Churchill


Penguin, 2005, pbk|
ISBN-10: 0141441720
ISBN-13: 978-0141441726

£14.28 [] {advert}

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Mariner Books, 1986
ISBN-10: 039541055X
ISBN-13: 978-0395410554

$14.17 [] {advert}

The first half of this book (pp. 3-358) covers the same period, written by the most impressive man of his time.

Not everyone seems to realise that Churchill had up close experience of army life, was on occasions in charge of the Admiralty and had spent much of the thirties studying air warfare.

The Road To 1945: British Politics and the Second World War by Paul Addison The Last Lion : Winston Spencer Churchill,
volume 3: Defender of the realm 1940-1965

by William Manchester and Paul Reid

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Little, Brown and Company; 2012; hbk; 1,232 pp.
ISBN-10: 0316547700
ISBN-13: 978-0316547703
$25.86 [] {advert}
£26.73 [] {advert}

Bantam; 2013; pbk; 1,200 pp.
ISBN-10: 0345548639
ISBN-13: 978-0345548634
$11.25 [] {advert}

Highly recommended.

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Kindle edition:

Bello, 2015
2,264 KB

$5.73 [] {advert}

The Economic Consequences of the Peace by Keynes The Economic Consequences of the Peace

John Maynard Keynes

1920, Hardcourt, Brace and Howe

reprinted by Dodo Press

ISBN 9781406519143

Present as UK economics advisor at the Treaty of Versailles negotiations, Keynes was so outraged at the proposed level of reparations that he went away and wrote this tract. While it helped make his reputation, almost everything in it never occurred, although the resentment generated at the politicking at Versailles did help to poison future political relations.

The reparations finally agreed were about one quarter of what Keynes had described as a feasible maximum, and they were never paid in reality. [Schuker, p.16]

Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed

Lords of Finance: 1929, The Great Depression - and the Bankers Who Broke the World

by Liaquat Ahamed

£15.49 [] {advert}
[] {advert}

William Heinemann Ltd, 2009
ISBN-10: 0434015415
ISBN-13: 978-0434015412

See chapter 19 for an antiseptic review of the Creditanstalt problems leading to the slow-burning world banking collapse of the early 1930s.

Reviewed here
Five GoldenYak recommendation, without reservations. Five GoldenYak (tm) award

American Reparations to Germany, 1919-33 American Reparations to Germany, 1919-33: Implications for the Third World Debt Crisis

(Princeton Studies in International Finance, No 61) by Stephen A. Schuker

1988, pbk, Princeton Univ Intl Economics

An excellent analysis of the 1930s banking crash and the real outcome of the Versailles reparations ambitions.

Five GoldenYak recommendation. Five GoldenYak (tm) award

Short extract: on debt and politics

The political economy of Germany in the twentieth century by K. Hardach The political economy of Germany in the twentieth century

by Karl Hardach

University of California Press, 2005, hbk
ISBN-10: 0520040236
ISBN-13: 978-0520040236

Original German edition: Wirtschaftsgeschichte Deutchlande im 20.Jahrhundert, published by Vandenhoeck & Rupreche, Göttingen, 1976

Reviewed here
Three Golden Yaks for a useful introduction.
three and half GoldenYak (tm) award

A study of war by Quincy Wright
A study of war

by Quincy Wright

University of Chicago Press, 1965, 2nd edn

ISBN-10: 0226909980
ISBN-13: 978-0226909981

The Labour Party and the world by R. Vickers The Labour Party and the world
volume 1:
The evolution of Labour's foreign policy 1900-51

by Rhiannon Vickers

Manchester University Press, 2003

ISBN-10: 0719067448
ISBN-13: 978-0719067440

Kindle edition, 2013:
$20.49 [] {advert}


End notes

  1. Alfred Duff Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich GCMG, DSO, PC (22 February 1890 – 1 January 1954), known as Duff Cooper, was a British Conservative Party politician, diplomat and author.
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