The Financial Cost of War
The First World War was fought on a scale unheard of in human history. It cost over $3.8 Trillion Dollars, leaving Europe massively in debt. Britain spent the most, helping to finance France and Italy, and borrowing massively from America, making the USA the richest country in the world. Many industries that once thrived during peacetime had been redesigned for war production. When the war was over, governments did not help factories retool or recalibrate for what they used to produce, thereby pushing many industries and factories into financial ruin. Also, due to the high toll of death and injury, many countries lost their skilled tradesman, such as printers, smiths, and carpenters, trades that took a long time to learn. Because post war recovery required these skills, the infrastructures of nations were ruined. The estimated costs for WWI for each participating nation are listed below (in US dollars). All the costs of the Great War from 1914 to the present, include: Debt servicing, veterans and surivors benefits, lost human capital and productivity, reconstruction requirements, expenses due to subsequent catastrophes caused by the Great War.
Britain still pays for the First World War. Goverment's raised £1.7 billion in War Loans between 1914-1919 (about £105 billion in today's money). In 2015, there were still 11,000 registered holders of these war bonds, who are owed £1.9 billion. Interest payments on these War Bonds costs the United Kingdom £75 million every year.
(Note: a US Dollar in 1918 was worth about $17 dollars today. Also £1 GB Sterling in 1918 = $2.879 US Dollars)
|The Financial Cost of World War 1 in 1918|