Reconstruction of France in the Postwar of a Victory of the Central Powers

Hello everyone, perhaps I am a bit pedantic with the topic since most of my publications have revolved around that topic, but today I would like to see something deeper instead of the classic discussions about a victory of the central powers, about their possible peace or how the PCs could achieve such a feat. Today I would like to ask about how France would develop, primarily in socioeconomic matters after the conflict.

First, let's assume that the United States does not enter and Germany manages to win the war by 1918, obtaining some colonies and recognition of Brest Litovsk in exchange for not expanding in Western Europe, perhaps some minor fixes in Lorraine, but it depends in general if the Germans pressed for them or not.

Having discussed this, I am intrigued to know what the economic perspective of France and its post-war reconstruction would be. It is a fact that it will be complicated and difficult, especially in a scenario where they will not obtain the German reparations that helped the efforts in OTL. He ruled out a communist or fascist France due to the fact that I believe that the moderates could prevail, although with a very likely shift to the left in the first years of peace.

Once this is clarified, it strikes me what direction France would take after the war. Would it try to return to pre-war economic liberalism as was attempted in OTL? Or would new groups push for a change in economic policy to try to reverse the deplorable state in which France finds itself? By the latter I am referring to associations similar to X-Crise, formed by students and graduates of the École Polytechnique after the Great Depression and how France could address it.

I believe that there are three fundamental issues when addressing French reconstruction in a defeat and they are iron and coal deposits, French demographics and the financial situation. Certainly in these three areas France will have problems and it seems interesting to me how successive governments could try to address them once the political instability subsides and the revolutionary risk is ruled out.
 
My personal expectation would be that the French would, at least initially, attempt to return to pre-war economic liberalism, and more broadly to as much as possible of the pre-war status quo, at least in economic terms. After all, whoever the initial leaders of France are in this scenario, they've just negotiated an absolutely humiliating (not in terms of contents, necessarily, but in terms of French popular perception) peace treaty. A return to happier days seems to me one of the few things which the government could still credibly point to as justification for their continued position.

However, I would expect France to be rapidly under immense strain in this scenario, with military spending likely to be extremely high and politically untouchable (unless the peace treaty contains some kind of limits on the French Army, but in that case I'd be more worried about internal French politics). Worse, all of Europe would be scrambling to either pay off, collect, or both vast amounts of war debt. Add in what I suspect would rapidly become a profound diplomatic isolation- with Russia likely either in chaos or in the German pocket and Britain having strong motivation to play the Navalist Isolationist- and limited opportunities for international trade made even more difficult as American and German mass production continues to pull ahead- and fewer colonies to try to play protectionist with to boot.

This would generate the conditions for younger politicians to begin advocating for relatively extreme economic ideas, especially if the sense of crisis is increased by a major recession. As to what sort of ideas such Deputies would pursue? Communism is well-established in French politics at this point, so left-wing economic plans likely at least somewhat resemble those of OTL; but the French right wing will be trying to define its own path, and the international right wing milieu in a world without the defeat of the Central Powers would be extremely difficult to predict. OTL's Italy in the 1920s, with its incoherent yet radical politics extending in all political directions as a result of a national sense of martial and political glory denied might give a sense of how confused the situation could become- but of course that's no help for prediction.
 
My personal expectation would be that the French would, at least initially, attempt to return to pre-war economic liberalism, and more broadly to as much as possible of the pre-war status quo, at least in economic terms. After all, whoever the initial leaders of France are in this scenario, they've just negotiated an absolutely humiliating (not in terms of contents, necessarily, but in terms of French popular perception) peace treaty. A return to happier days seems to me one of the few things which the government could still credibly point to as justification for their continued position.
Certainly, I imagine in the first instance a kind of moderate coalition to stop any extremism on the left in the first post-war years, possibly led by politicians from the radical party and the PRS.

However, I would expect France to be rapidly under immense strain in this scenario, with military spending likely to be extremely high and politically untouchable (unless the peace treaty contains some kind of limits on the French Army, but in that case I'd be more worried about internal French politics). Worse, all of Europe would be scrambling to either pay off, collect, or both vast amounts of war debt. Add in what I suspect would rapidly become a profound diplomatic isolation- with Russia likely either in chaos or in the German pocket and Britain having strong motivation to play the Navalist Isolationist- and limited opportunities for international trade made even more difficult as American and German mass production continues to pull ahead- and fewer colonies to try to play protectionist with to boot.
I don't really see the military being untouchable, unlike Germany, they don't have a version of backstabbing that might work on the French public. I see it likely that the High Command will be restructured with more moderate spending, with politicians recognizing behind closed doors that revanchism will fail and France will no longer defeat Germany. The war debt is a problem and, in my opinion, together with the Briey-Logwny issue, it is what would delay French reconstruction. In OTL they already had complications paying the debt using the representations, so in case of defeat, they will have a pretty tough situation. I imagine a fairly harsh austerity policy along with campaigns for citizens to have quick money and meet their financial obligations.

Commercially I also see them limited, South America possibly becoming the territory of the Americans and the Germans, with the British in retreat due to the war. Africa, although they wouldn't lose as much, is not a market that compensates Russia (unless the French want/can deal with whoever is in Moscow) and Asia would be mostly dominated by the Japanese and British, at least economically speaking . Personally, I see that they could try deals with the British, I doubt that they are necessarily going to go towards isolationism when in the peace negotiations, they would still have the ability to limit the Germans, but I also do not think that they are willing and/or in a position to do so. many favors to the French outside of diplomatic and military support in the colonies.
This would generate the conditions for younger politicians to begin advocating for relatively extreme economic ideas, especially if the sense of crisis is increased by a major recession. As to what sort of ideas such Deputies would pursue? Communism is well-established in French politics at this point, so left-wing economic plans likely at least somewhat resemble those of OTL; but the French right wing will be trying to define its own path, and the international right wing milieu in a world without the defeat of the Central Powers would be extremely difficult to predict. OTL's Italy in the 1920s, with its incoherent yet radical politics extending in all political directions as a result of a national sense of martial and political glory denied might give a sense of how confused the situation could become- but of course that's no help for prediction.
This is precisely what I meant when I gave the example of Perhaps proposing that if France wants to rebuild its industrial capacity it should opt for dirigisme and indicative planning in its economy? I don't know, but those kinds of ideas could spread rapidly in political circles as it becomes clear that a return to pre-war liberalism is not possible.
 
I don't really see the military being untouchable, unlike Germany, they don't have a version of backstabbing that might work on the French public. I see it likely that the High Command will be restructured with more moderate spending, with politicians recognizing behind closed doors that revanchism will fail and France will no longer defeat Germany.
I suspect that High Command will become the target of a French version of the stab-in-the-back myth; with responsibility for France's defeat placed on incompetent generals failing the heroic poilu.
Unfortunately, I suspect that that won't lead to lowered military spending. Even OTL France in the 1920s/1930s launched the construction of the Maginot Line, a spectacularly expensive program, and TTL I'd expect at least some efforts to compensate for demographic weakness vis-a-vis Germany with longer conscription terms as well; unlike OTL the German army will remain a potent threat for the whole of the immediate postwar period instead of needing to be rebuilt and with an immediate precedent of Germany (in France's eyes) starting an expansionist war and ending it well-compensated (even if no French territory is annexed, the Germans will likely do well out of Russian territories...)
 
Hello everyone, perhaps I am a bit pedantic with the topic since most of my publications have revolved around that topic, but today I would like to see something deeper instead of the classic discussions about a victory of the central powers, about their possible peace or how the PCs could achieve such a feat. Today I would like to ask about how France would develop, primarily in socioeconomic matters after the conflict.

First, let's assume that the United States does not enter and Germany manages to win the war by 1918, obtaining some colonies and recognition of Brest Litovsk in exchange for not expanding in Western Europe, perhaps some minor fixes in Lorraine, but it depends in general if the Germans pressed for them or not.

Having discussed this, I am intrigued to know what the economic perspective of France and its post-war reconstruction would be. It is a fact that it will be complicated and difficult, especially in a scenario where they will not obtain the German reparations that helped the efforts in OTL. He ruled out a communist or fascist France due to the fact that I believe that the moderates could prevail, although with a very likely shift to the left in the first years of peace.

Once this is clarified, it strikes me what direction France would take after the war. Would it try to return to pre-war economic liberalism as was attempted in OTL? Or would new groups push for a change in economic policy to try to reverse the deplorable state in which France finds itself? By the latter I am referring to associations similar to X-Crise, formed by students and graduates of the École Polytechnique after the Great Depression and how France could address it.

I believe that there are three fundamental issues when addressing French reconstruction in a defeat and they are iron and coal deposits, French demographics and the financial situation. Certainly in these three areas France will have problems and it seems interesting to me how successive governments could try to address them once the political instability subsides and the revolutionary risk is ruled out.
Someone else?
 
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