chapter  XII
11 Pages

Immediate Effects

To those in close touch with the Foreign Exchange Market the announcement of the suspension of the gold standard did not come as a surprise. The British public was, however, taken completely unawares, as until the very end it was considered unbelievable that Great Britain should suspend the gold standard. Even towards the middle of September, when the suspension was merely a question of days, the average intelligent Englishman would have scorned any suggestion that such a thing might ever happen. He trusted the authorities implicitly, and was convinced that, r,in spite of the adverse conditions, they would find a way to maintain the stability of sterling. As for the man in the street, he was convinced that, Great Britain would muddle through somehow, and was not particularly worried al10ut the situation. The Press was not in a position to prepare the public for the change, for any indication as to the possibility of the suspension

would have been regarded as unwarranted defeatism. It is true that in some quarters it was suggested that Great Britain should deliberately abandon the gold standard, but as such suggestions had been made from time to time ever since the war, they were regarded as purely academic. Public opinion abroad was less confident owing to the pessimistic attitude of a large section of the foreign Press, but even in foreign countries many people were inclined to believe that sterling would retain its stability.