Young Plan

The Significant Aspects in the Futile Young Plan of World War 1

Written in 1929, the Young Plan was written to settle the issue of German reparations post-World War I. Read on to know more about this influential plan...
After the culmination of World War I, Germany was humiliatingly forced to make payments and transfers of property as well as equipment according to the Treaty of Versailles. A plan for the settlement of these reparations devised in 1929, by a committee led by Owen Young. This came to be known as the Young Plan.

Background

The precursor to the Young Plan was the Dawes Plan, which was a lukewarm attempt to deal with the large-scale economic depression, massive inflation, and unemployment. This was an effect of the Treaty of Versailles, and the reparations imposed under it. The Young Plan proposed a reduction in the reparations imposed on Germany. What exactly happened was that it was pretty evident that in the state Germany was in, it couldn't cope with the payments levied in the Dawes Plan. Thus a committee was formed by the Allied reparations Committee, led by Owen Young and JP Morgan Jr., a prominent banker, who represented the USA. This committee submitted its first report in June 1929. That plan was criticized vociferously by the UK. Hence, it was reworked and finalized on August 31. In a Hague Conference in January 1930, the plan was finally adopted.

Summary

The following suggestions and recommendations were made under this plan.
  • This plan decreased the payments for Germany to 112 billion gold Marks (8 billion USD in 1929) over a period of 59 years.
  • It divided the annual payment, which was set at two billion gold marks, into two components―unconditional part equal to one third of the sum, and a portion of the remaining two-thirds of the amount, the payment of the latter of which could be postponed.
  • The total amount due was set at 26.36 billion USD, or 121 billion Reichsmarks, payable over a term of 58 and a half years.
  • In Germany, new tax programs were to be introduced as a means to generate revenue.
  • A bank for international settlements was to be set up to collect and distribute the payments.
  • Any form of Allied control over the German economy was to be taken off.
The words and the complicated figures apart, it will be easy to just remember that the Young Plan reduced a huge share from the already huge amount of reparations to be paid by Germany.

Consequences

The plan was received with fierce opposition by Germany. Opposition to this plan was used by the conservatives in Germany, who were the most outspoken with regards to it.

This plan, the complicated financial conditions created by it, and the public unrest due to the consequences was one of the important causes of the Second World War.
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