The Financial Crisis
The financial crisis was delayed in Europe until the early summer of 1931. The first notable failure was that of the Austrian Creditanstalt, a bank deeply committed to capital investments throughout central Europe, in May, 1931. This sent a wave of panic throughout the area, producing large-scale withdrawals of credit, further bank closings, and emergency measures to prevent a complete collapse. Central European financial institutions appealed to their foreign creditors for assistance, and a number of emergency loans were granted. In 1929 the “Young Plan,” put forth by an international committee headed by the American Owen D. Young, had created a Bank for International Settlements to deal simultaneously with transfers of reparation and war-debt payments. The Plan had diminished the total obligation of Germany while retaining the system of annual payments, but had allowed for part of an annual payment to be postponed in case of economic difficulties. But even this new system was unable to withstand the impact of the financial crisis, and on June 20, 1931, the President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, proposed a moratorium of reparation and war-debt payments. However, the Hoover Moratorium applied only to government debts, not to private ones, and further measures were needed.
KeywordsFinancial Crisis Foreign Exchange International Settlement German Export Credit Crisis
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- William S. Myers, ed., The State Papers and Other Public Writings of Herbert Hoover, Vol. 1: March 4, 1929 to October 1, 1931 (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran and Co., 1934), pp. 591–593. Used by permission of the Herben Hoover Foundation.Google Scholar