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Heinrich Brüning, "“No More Reparations": Address to the National Party Committee of the German Center Party (November 5, 1931)

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The result has been that people around the world, without exception, judge the issue of reparations much differently than in the past.

(Very true!)

[ . . . ]

I have already said that the budgetary situation in 1932 will be extremely difficult and serious throughout the country. We must accept the fact that we will have to ask the people to make new sacrifices in order to consolidate the public budget. The second point is this: by implementing a series of coordinated measures, which must be supported by the groups enlisted in the consultations, we must and will succeed in ensuring that the process of negative growth in the economy is halted and that this termination of the process of negative growth in small and medium-sized industry and in the skilled trades is quickly achieved by having the banks adjust their policy one way or another. We must consolidate the cooperative system and quickly return to the absolutely sound principles of the prewar period in all public and private credit institutes. This is the decisive point and much more important than constantly providing state support to individual institutes or larger organizations.

[ . . . ]

Ultimately we will have to carry out these tasks only if the one development takes place that I have always emphasized as being at the center of all the problems. Without creating an atmosphere of trust at home and abroad, we will not achieve our desired goals. The biggest problem in the world today is not difficulties with this or the other bank; it is the fact that depositors and capitalists have grown extremely nervous throughout the world, although in my opinion there is no reason for this degree of nervousness. An atmosphere of trust cannot be created at home or abroad through constant political agitation or by preaching experiments. The German people must understand this, and I am convinced that we will succeed in making the German people understand it. After all, it is only possible to produce a result that is acceptable in all the foreign-policy negotiations I have mentioned if the world is certain that no political experiments will be conducted in Germany.


[ . . . ]

Source: Heinrich Brüning, Reden und Aufsätze eines deutschen Staatsmanns, edited by Wilhelm Vernekohl with the support of Rudolf Morsey (Münster: Verlag Regensburg, 1968), 66–85. Translated by Adam Blauhut.

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