Hjalmar Schacht Quotes

The memory of war weighs undiminished upon the people's minds. That is because deeper than material wounds, moral wounds are smarting, inflicted by the so-called peace treaties. ... Material loss can be made up through renewed labor, but the moral wrong which has been inflicted upon the conquered peoples, in the peace dictates, leaves a burning scar on the people's conscience. ...

This is an important historical quotation because it suggests some of the thinking, irrational though it may have been, that led many post war Germans onto an irrational and self defeating course of action. Emotional factors such as dignity, fairness, and honor can be significant drivers of irrational and self destructive action. Nazi Germany was a classic example. Many leading Germans thought the Treaty of Versailles that was imposed on them at the end of the First World War was too harsh and unfair. Many from the countries victimized by the German military aggression also thought the treaty unfair as it did not treat Germany harsh enough.
Hjalmar Schacht
Hjalmar Schacht
  • Born: January 22, 1877
  • Died: June 3, 1970
  • Nationality: German
  • Profession: Economist

Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht was a German economist, banker, centre-right politician, and co-founder in 1918 of the German Democratic Party. He served as the Currency Commissioner and President of the Reichsbank under the Weimar Republic. He was a fierce critic of his country's post-World War I reparation obligations.