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Additional info for Access to History for the IB Diploma. The Great Depression and the Americas 1929-39
People began to invest their money in unseen developments, hoping to sell and make a quick profit. Often they paid on credit, with a 10 per cent deposit known as a ‘binder’. Success stories abounded to fuel the boom. It was said that 31 someone who had bought a parcel of land for $25 in 1900 had sold it for $150,000 25 years later. The land boom could be sustained only as long as there were more buyers than sellers. But demand tailed off in 1926. There were scandals of land advertised as within easy access of the sea that was really many miles inland or in the middle of swamps.
The USA was thus effectively paying itself back with its own money. Indeed, the $250 million it lent to Germany under the Dawes Plan corresponded to the amount Germany actually paid the Allies in reparations, which in turn corresponded to the amount the USA received from the Allies in debt repayments. This situation became even more confused through the Dawes and Young Plans scaling down German reparations. With Germany paying the European victors less, this meant that they in turn could repay less of their own debts to the USA.
America’s priority was for Europeans to repay the loans they had taken out to finance the First World War. ’ Although the quotation is possibly fictitious, it did accurately express the sentiment of many Americans that the countries should repay their loans. However, most European countries, still suffering What was the cycle of international debt and how did it lead to problems in the US economy? 33 from depressed economic conditions arising from the war, could not afford to repay them. In February 1922, Congress created the Debt Funding Commission.