The First World War and the International Economy

The First World War and the International Economy

Edited by Chris Wrigley

This book provides a fresh assessment of the impact of the First World War on the international economy. Leading academics offer new perspectives on the effects of the War on the long-term growth rates of the belligerent countries and examine its impact on individual sectors within these economies.

Chapter 6: Legacy – War, Aftermath and the End of the Nineteenth-Century Liberal Trading Order, 1914–32

Andrew Marrison

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, international economics


Andrew Marrison The 1920s were a decade of heightened national insecurity in which the legacy of the First World War was manifest not only in the interminable politico-economic wrangle over German reparations, but also in currency instability and an increased desire for economic autarky. Such factors were given further impetus by unequally rapid technological change and capacity extension in the emerging mass-production industries of the leading nations, at a time when export markets had lost their pre-war dynamism. Persistent conferences to liberalize trade relations under the auspices of the League of Nations yielded little beyond pious expressions of intent by participating countries, and by the later 1920s cynicism abounded. Policy-makers turned inwards even more violently as the world crisis of 1929–32 unfolded and ushered in what for most countries was a period of state intervention and control in the economy unparalleled in time of peace. BEFORE THE WAR In the 1920s, many, especially in Britain and America, looked back on the Edwardian years as an ideal in terms of economic stability and prosperity. World trade and world production had increased fairly steadily between 1870 and 1914, as the countries of Europe industrialized and as new primary producers overseas joined an expanding international economy. Expansion was underpinned by stable exchange rates during the relatively short heyday of the international gold standard, and a tremendous export of capital from Europe, especially from Britain. The image of an open international economy was reinforced by a virtual absence of regulation of the movement...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information