Did French economic policies contribute to, or even cause, the Great Depression of the 1930s?
This is the provocative question posed by historian Douglas A. Irwin (Dartmouth College) in an article on History News Network (HNN), which is an outgrowth of his latest book, Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011).
Irwin concludes that: “economic historians have traditionally focused on the tightening of U.S. monetary policy as the origin of the Great Depression. These findings suggest that the French contribution to the worldwide deflationary spiral deserves much greater prominence than it has thus far received.”
NIU students of Modern French History may be interested in this article.