Guest lecture: Guilherme Sampaio

The early French reception of John Maynard Keynes’s ideas on war reparations: from the Versailles Treaty to the Dawes Plan (1919–24)

14.11.2019 - 14.11.2019

Dr. Guilherme Sampaio, European University Institute, is a fellow-in-residence at the IAS, invited by laboratory AGORA

On 12 December 1919, John Maynard Keynes’s Economic Consequences of the Peace (ECP) appeared in Britain. Its denunciation of the Treaty of Versailles as imposing a revenge peace on Germany soon made Keynes the most talked-of economist in the Anglophone world. Nonetheless, extant scholarship on the French reception of Keynes’s book has long maintained that ECPwas barely discussed and even wholly ignored by the left.

On the contrary, this presentation demonstrates that Keynes’s criticisms of the international political and economic order designed by Versailles were actively employed by Frenchmen to shape ongoing debates concerning the Treaty’s protection of French security and economic interests. Specifically, I will show how by academic economists, Socialists, and pacifists converged into assisting Keynes to publish his book, as a means to promote an international order organised around free trade, disarmament, and the primate of international law in the regulation of military conflicts.

Based on the first two draft chapters of my book manuscript, the presentation begins by scrutinising how the interaction between Keynes’s French networks and antedating French disapproval of the Treaty of Versailles allowed him to publish ECP in the prestigious Nouvelle Revue française. Then I will examine the reception of ECP in 1920 France before, finally, scrutinising how Keynes’s efforts to circulate his post-ECP journalist writings, by triggering active governmental opposition, shaped French political discussions on reparations up to the Dawes Plan of 1924.

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Date: Thursday 14th November from 12:30 to 14:00

Venue: Maison internationale de la recherche, Neuville-sur-Oise. Access to the MIR

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