At the beginning of this chapter, which is the concluding chapter in this book, is a shocking fact about the war's consequences that has since been backed up by historians (and is not usually taught in schools). The shocking fact is that Britain (and not Germany) was thrown into economic disarray by the end of World War I. "The paradox was--and still is--that Germany, the loser, was worse off." Ferguson backs up this paradox with many facts supporting his idea before leading into the thought that, without this irony, Germany may not have been able to gain the momentum for World War II.
Germany lost more due to a "blow to their prestige" (such as in the loss of their colonies) than due to actual "economic worth." The reparations Germany was asked to pay, says Ferguson, was unreasonable; therefore, loans were in order. This put Germany in a better position than the reader might expect. In fact, "tax reform was deliberately botched out of the desire to avoid reparations." As a result, reparations were truly avoided by Germany.
Ferguson eventually suggests that the burden of debt was actually more for the British than it was for the Germans. Ferguson provides a very damning graph on page 416 of the reparations Germany was expected to pay vs. the reparations it eventually paid. The results are striking. It becomes obvious to the reader that Germany would recover. Eventually, inflation in Germany actually "stimulated investment" and allowed postwar Germany to stabilize if not to prosper. Eventually, Germany simply found themselves ready to "start working out how to pay for the next war."
Ferguson's views in this chapter, of course, contrast with the usual idea that Germany was completely devastated (both economically, politically, and socially) after World War I.