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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

32 WAR FINANCE AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

the dispatch with which our Expeditionary Force
was collected from all parts of the kingdom, and
shipped across to France, was a miracle of efficiency
and practical organisation. It is true that we had
not got an Army on a Continental scale, ,but it was
no part of our contract that we should have one.
The fighting on land was in those days expected to
be done by our Allies, assisted by a small British
force on the left flank of the French Army, lhat
British force was duly there, and circumstances
which were quite unforeseen made it necessary for
us to undertake a task which was no part of our
original programme and create an Army on a
Continental scale, in addition to doing everything
that we had promised beforehand to a much greater
extent than was in the bargain.

But in finance there was no evidence that any
thought-out policy had been arrived at in order to
make the best possible use of the nation's economic
resources for the war when it came. The acute
crisis in the City which occurred in August, 1914,
was a minor matter which hardly affected the
subsequent history of our war finance except by
giving dangerous evidence of the ease by which
financial problems can be apparently surmounted
by the simple method of creating banking credits.
That crisis merely arose from the fact that we were
so strong financially, and had so great a hold upon
the finance of other countries in the world, that when
we decided, owing to stress of war, to leave off
lending to foreigners and to call in loans that we
had made by way of accepting and bill-discounting