document information

Primary Source Analysis

Andrew Papalia


Type of document


Date of document

April 1998


Albrecht Ritschl, born March 1822 died March 1889

The intended audience for the document

The document is addressed to Economics scholars who belong to the same school of thought as Keynes and support his Economics assumptions.

Document information

The document on reparation transfers tries to point out that the German depression after the First World War was not a result of the Treaty of Versailles. The document puts forward an argument that a possible cause for the economic regression was internal or domestic factors within the German economy. Further, in explaining the regression, the document postulates that large borrowings by the government of the day were a significant contributor to the regression since Britain was experiencing unusually high labor cost similar to German’s but did not suffer economic slump of magnitude as Germans. Also, the writer argues that high labor costs were just setting a stage for the slump.

The document was written to explain the outcomes of responsibilities of war that were heaped on Germany in the treaty of Versailles that resulted in the fall of Germany’s economy.

This paper examined the effects of Germany’s inter-war reparation agreements in the framework of the Keynesian transfer problem.

This document was written after the First World War at a time when the great depression had rocked the world and with greater intensity, Europe. In this period Germany was blamed for triggering the world war and thus had to take responsibility under what came to be the Treaty of Versailles. During this period, Germany suffered economic slump that was more severe compared to other nations such as Britain who had equally participated in the First World War.


Ritschl, Albrecht. “Reparation transfers, the Borchardt hypothesis and the Great Depression in Germany, 1929–32: A guided tour for hard-headed Keynesians.” European Review of Economic History 2, no. 1 (1998): 49-72.

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