Can an analogy be made between the level of current U.S. debt to China and the French debt as Franco-Prussian War indemnity to the Germans in 1870?
A few years ago I read a book about the Franco-Prussian War. It included a few paragraphs about the aftermath. I wonder if this relates, by analogy, to our own modern situation of debt to China?
–In 1870, the French badly lost a war with Germany. Paris was besieged and forced to surrender (followed by its seizure by the Left as the Commune, requiring recapture by the French Army). Germans crowned their first emperor at Versailles, the French seat of political power, and held a victory parade through Paris, including under the Arc de Triomphe, built as a tribute to Napolean. (The Germans were Prussian-led by Bismark, who as a university student once forced a man who had laughed at his dog to apologize to the dog on his knees or face a duel with Bismark, a well-known and brutal fencer).
–One of the consequences of this crushing defeat was a huge indemnity owed to the Germans by the French to get them to go home. Germans continued to occupy part of France as collateral that the debt would be paid.
–I don’t remember figures, but the author said the debt was absolutely crushing, and the French expected it would take more than a decade to pay it off.
–In fact, the new French Republic set out with a Will to pay it off as soon as they could. Nothing was spared. The government was ruthless. In the end, France paid off this indemnity in a year or two, to the astonishment of all observers. This was said to be a remarkable achievement, one well-worthy of historical note.
So, does anyone know the detailed figures of this event, and can analogy be made to the level of U.S. debt to China today? Can this episode tell us anything useful about our own ability to pay off our massive debt to China if we get as serious about it as did the French with Germany in 1871?