World Economy between Wars
Britain paid an undeserved penalty for having tried to bolster the economy of Central Europe. The treaty "Balkanized" Europe, cutting up larger trade areas to ensure political autonomy to peoples supposed to be culturally and racially homogeneous. American supply in combination with the experience of European bankers in parceling out funds might have worked better except for disabilities of ultimate borrowers and of original lender. Restoration of the gold standard in Europe was incomplete except in Britain, and there the honesty of the action was more dangerous than the dissembling practiced elsewhere. Production, commodity prices, profits, employment, world trade, and international lending all dropped away. The world of trade and trust was thenceforth to be compartmented until it looked like an egg crate. The war distributed German patents, developed critical industries in new countries, frightened nations into adopting plans of economic self-sufficiency.