chapter  VIII
26 Pages

Payments Agreements and Policies in Western Europe

If there is one thing more than any other which illustrates the proposition that reconstruction after 1 945 was not reconstruction from the aftermath of the Second World War alone but from the problems left by the failure of recon­ struction after 1 9 1 8, it is the concentration of international effort on rebuilding a method of conducting international trade and payments which, for the developed economies at least, would function as easily and successfully as the one which had existed before 19 14 . Before 19 14 the assumption that inter­ national trade and exchanges would continue to expand had been almost universal . Yet there had been only a brief period in the 1920s in Europe when this had been so. The expansion that took place then scarcely regained the volume lost between 19 14 and 1 924, and in the 1930s the volume of inter­ national trade, investment, and other forms of exchanges remained lower than before 1 929 in spite of the fact that many countries , Germany most notably, greatly increased their national output and income.