Confessions of "The Old Wizard," by Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht
In Medieval demonology, a wizard was the male equivalent of a witch, a man who had sold his soul to the devil. Thus far we need not quarrel with the title of the American edition of Dr. Schacht’s autobiography. But “confessions”? Only if acknowledging unfailing rectitude of purpose and infallible judgment in oneself may be called a “confession”; to these Dr. Schacht is ready to confess, even if nobody else accuses him of them.
Yet the Confessions can be a useful source of information, if we read them with our eyes open. In some instances Schacht convicts himself out of his own mouth. Thus, in explaining why he signed the Young Plan modifying the terms of Germany’s World War I reparations, and then later denounced it, he writes: “The question at issue was whether one was justified in refusing to sign, since to do so would give rise to the danger of serious new political entanglements; or whether, having signed, one should continue steadily to resist reparations in general until the occasion arose which would enable them to be put an end to once and for all. I had decided in favor of the second method.” The alternative of making an honest attempt to fulfill an agreement which he had negotiated—and as a part of which, not mentioned by Dr. Schacht, Germany received a large international loan—seems never to have occurred to him.
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