The declaration by US President Herbert C. Hoover of June 20, 1931 to suspend intergovernmental payment obligations for one year due to the global economic crisis is known as the Hoover moratorium . This meant not only the German reparation payments to the European victorious powers of World War I , but also the inter-allied war debts that Great Britain and France had taken on from the USA during the World War and which they repaid with their reparation income.
Hoover made his proposal at a time when the global economic crisis had hit Europe particularly hard: On May 11, 1931, the Creditanstalt in Austria collapsed. The state and economy in Germany were also on the verge of financial collapse.
Above all, Hoover feared the effects of a financial and political collapse of the German Empire on American capital in Germany. His goal was to relieve the emerging economic growth in its start-up phase of the payment obligations of the states and thereby stimulate it. In Germany, the president's move was welcomed, as the Brüning government saw it as a step towards the lifting of all reparation obligations from the First World War . This was exactly what France feared and, on top of that, felt ignored by the USA, since the government under Prime Minister Pierre Laval, unlike the German and British governments, had not been consulted beforehand. It was only after weeks of negotiations that Laval agreed, after he had been assured that this would not involve any fundamental exemption of Germany from its reparation debts.
Among other things, this resistance meant that the Hoovers initiative barely developed its confidence-building and stabilizing effect. On July 13th the German banking crisis broke out. The consequence of the banking crisis was that for the foreseeable future the Reichsbank would no longer have sufficient foreign currency to resume reparation payments. After two international committees of experts had determined in late summer and autumn 1931 that a resumption of payments would hinder the return of the confidence of foreign donors, the Lausanne Conference on July 9, 1932 agreed to cancel the reparations in favor of a symbolic final payment.
The US refused to come to a similar agreement for the inter-allied war debts. In December 1932, the French parliament decided to suspend repayment of France's debts from the First World War. Britain and France still refuse to pay this debt to this day.
- Helmuth KG Rönnefahrt, Heinrich Euler: Conferences and contracts. Contract Ploetz. Handbook of Historically Significant Meetings and Agreements. Part II. Volume 4: Latest Times, 1914–1959. 2nd expanded and changed edition. Ploetz Verlag, Würzburg 1959, p. 109f.
- Gerhard Schulz: Between Democracy and Dictatorship: From Brüning to Hitler. Volume 3. Berlin 1992. p. 421. ( online )
- Philipp Heyde: The end of the reparations. Germany, France and the Young Plan 1929–1932. Schöningh, Paderborn 1998, pp. 208-212.
- Karl J. Mayer: Between Crisis and War. France in the US's foreign economic policy between the Great Depression and World War II . Historical communications, supplements Volume 33, 1999, Stuttgart ISBN 3-515-07373-6 , p. 31.