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6 - Between Cambridge, Paris, and Amsterdam

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 December 2023

Patricia Clavin
University of Oxford
Giancarlo Corsetti
University of Cambridge
Maurice Obstfeld
Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington DC
Adam Tooze
Columbia University, New York
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This chapter examines different styles and contents of attempts to revise the outcome of the Paris Peace Conference. It contrasts the devastating critique of the Economic Consequences, with specific proposals with which Keynes was involved that began in November 1919 with meetings in Amsterdam hosted by the Dutch banker Gerard Vissering, and involving a wide range of international bankers, including some influential Americans. The Amsterdam meeting suggested a plan for leveraging private U.S. finance for the sustainable reconstruction of Europe that anticipated some aspects of the 1924 Dawes Plan. Keynes found his role in the Amsterdam plan undermined by the notoriety of the Economic Consequences and the disapprobrium it attracted. How could he hope to persuade the U.S. government after the attack on Woodrow Wilson mounted in the Economic Consequences? There is a sharp contrast – even contradiction – between the Cambridge world of sharp analysis and polemic and the Amsterdam approach, where market-oriented people tried to devise a solution using financial products/financial engineering. And each of these approaches was also quite different from the diplomatic logic that had produced the Versailles Treaty.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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