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Germany still paying off WWI reparations

DDP/The Local · 2 Dec 2009, 08:10

Published: 02 Dec 2009 08:10 GMT+01:00

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A spokesperson for the German Finance Agency, the country’s authority on debt management, told the paper that millions of euros are still being transferred to bond holders.

“The still-open contract for interest and amortisation payments is around €56 million,” spokesperson Boris Knapp said.

When the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, Germany accepted blame for the war and agreed to pay 226 billion Reichsmarks, a sum that was later reduced in 1921 to 132 billion Reichsmarks. Up until 1952 Germany had paid some 1.5 billion Reichsmarks in war reparations to Allied countries. But in 1953 the balance was suspended pending a reunification of East and West Germany.

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On October 3, 1990, the old debts went into effect again with 20 years for payment. Germany plans to pay off its World War I debts by October 3, 2010.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:11 December 2, 2009 by cleavage
Germany is really a conquered nation. You can see it in the culture. The strong have been killed and only the meek are left to grovel and slave away. There is no backbone left to say what is right. I have nothing but pity for the nation unfortunately. Paying for a war after almost 100 years is indeed generations born with guilt / sin. Only when Germans stop saying sorry for something they didn't do will Germany be a country again.
09:48 December 2, 2009 by Celeon
@ gordonthemoron

Britains ww1 debts should be long paid by now.

As far as i know the UK paid off its ww2 debt to the United States by mid 2006.

The "lend&lease" program for the UK costed it around 31 billion us dollars and it also had a second lend&lease contract with Canada and to a cerain amount also with other commonwealth countries which figures i dont know at all.

Thats 31 billion us dollars of the 1940's of course which, taking inflation into account, would be much much more today. MUCH more !

So its hard to say how much the UK has paid overall. Brown was once responsible for the treasury so he might know the exact figures.

With that the UK was the nr.1 debtor of 36 countries that lend, vehicles, tanks, guns ,airplanes , equipment and ammunition from the USA during ww2.

On place 2 was the Soviet Union with purchased war goods worth around 11 billion 1940's dollars.
10:42 December 2, 2009 by mprulez
so, is US going to pay such war reperations too to Germany and UK etc when the Afghan and iraq wars are over?
12:07 December 2, 2009 by JurgenGerman
@cleavage I'm still wondering wether you're right or wrong. On the one hand I believe that some of our grandparents (the normal people not the Nazis) were wonderful people, strong and smart and all that. All those German inventors. I think some of our best poeple have died in the field. On the other hand, after war, we won the world cup 3 times and the Euro 3 times. And there was the "Wirtschaftswunder", our economy is Nr.3 in the world. Perhaps without the wars we would be Nr.1. England have lost their Empire after ww2, because they were weak. They're shadows of their former selves
13:00 December 2, 2009 by LancashireLad
@Gordonthemoron and celeron

I believe we were still Iraq in 2006 and we are still in Afghanistan - no we are still paying the US

@cleavage - having problems understanding your argument - the bloke who tried to form a second queue in the bakers this morning just to shove forward didn't look very meek to me - the woman who tried to defend parking in the bike lane yesterday didn't seem very meek to me.

I take JurgenGerman's point about us being shadows of our formers selves, but what weakness are you talking about made us "lose our empire"?
13:35 December 2, 2009 by evolve
It's time to look ahead. Forget the money talk between friends and let's get on with it. We are faced world wide mega problems, so let's focus on our join future!
16:18 December 2, 2009 by Dinaricman
Has Serbia paid her debt to Europe for WW1. Afterall, it was Greater Serbia ambitions that caused that war.
16:27 December 2, 2009 by John W MacDonald
The war was not caused by Germany, So why should she have to pay for the mistakes of others. It was Serbia who fueled the tensions at that time. They did that because of the protection that they had from big brother Russia. With Russia involved Austria-Hungry needed backing which was Germany. So it was not Germany's war but she has to pay for the actions of others. This should be ended, The money could be used in other more useful areas which could be useful during these times.
16:28 December 2, 2009 by Celeon
The whole topic of the two world war reparations is unbelievably complex and there is lot to be said about what the article does not cover.

First of all, the initial sum was even 269 billion Goldmark not 226 as stated in the article. Even on the allied side many people considered the scale of the reparations as excessive and not proportional.

The principal representative of the British Treasury John Maynard Keynes resigned in protest over the reparation demands, and subsequently protested publicly in the best-selling "The Economic Consequences of the Peace" published in 1919.

With the contract modifications implemented by the Daws Plan of 1924 the sum was further reduced to 112 billion Goldmarks. The Wall street crash and following Great Depression of 1931 brought Germany and Austria to the brink of financial collapse.

The Lausanne Conference of 1932 resulted in a suspension of the ww1 reparations.The victorious powers of ww1 and Germany agreed to a rest to-be -paid sum of only 3 billion Goldmarks plus interests.

The concession of the German delegation for that was that Germany would stop demanding that the highly controversial "war guilt" , and disarmament paragraphs shall be erased from Versailler contract. Overall the entire ww1 reparations and their results to the german economy played a highly signifacnt role in the rise politcial extremism in Germany and with that the rise of the Hitler and the Nazis.

Thats why the victorious powers of ww2 decided no to demand further reparations from Germany for the second world war. Instead they decided to just confiscate a certain amount of german patents, war goods, planes, cars and ships and Germany's entire foreign assets.

The "two plus four treaty" on german reunification of 1990 was explicitely defined as being a supposition to a peace treaty with the victorious powers of ww2 and therefore not a peace treaty in the usual sense.

This legal "trick" ensured that none of the victorious powers can ever demand additional reparations for the two world wars from Germany than what was agreed upon at the Lausanne Conference.
16:31 December 2, 2009 by Dinaricman
I'm not really sure about the best Germans being killed off during two world wars. Don't forget that America has a very large Germanic basin of people.
20:13 December 2, 2009 by berlinski
Does Britain pay anything to Ireland for 800 years of colonialism?
21:19 December 2, 2009 by Nairb
Berlinski, Britain has an agreement with Ireland that has allowed millions of Irish to settle in the UK over the last century.This has allowed many generations to flourish where they may have just survived in Ireland. I am of Irish descent and still have a large amount of family in Ireland but I know where I would rather be.
03:19 December 3, 2009 by Davey-jo
Does Ireland pay anything for getting our beautiful language and fuc*ing it for the last 800 years?
07:42 December 3, 2009 by smallerkatz
This is silly. Why should Deutschland pay any more. Seems to me the "debt" has been paid.
17:50 December 3, 2009 by lordwilliams629
mprulez maybe when the U.K. and germany pay america reperations from world war 2. See we gave the U.K. the food and tanks and lets not forget the men they needed win the war. And of course look how much had to pay to win a war germany declared on us. Let me also tell you ww2 fact most brits dont remember, before america got involved with ww2 in europe we lost over 80,000 merchant marine's taking supplys to the U.K. 80,000 young men dead so that the U.K. could live. Threw out history americans have never been thanked for the good they done for other countrys or the lives we gave to save other people of the world, not only that ameraicans give more money and charity to other countrys than any other in the world, but of course no thanks will ever come only contempt.
19:19 December 3, 2009 by berlinski
Nairb. "Berlinski, Britain has an agreement with Ireland that has allowed millions of Irish to settle in the UK over the last century.This has allowed many generations to flourish where they may have just survived in Ireland. I am of Irish descent and still have a large amount of family in Ireland but I know where I would rather be. "

Maybe you wouldn't have needed to emigrate to the UK at all if it wasn't for 800 years of colonialism. Let me see, Germany invades half of Europe and to make up for it, they don't pay anything, just let the devastated populations from those countries come and live in Germany? Is this your approach to the problem? Seems like nobody else had that approach at the end of both wars. THANK GOD!!
14:25 December 4, 2009 by anglogerman
JurgenGerman, are you being anti-British again? The plain facts are that the UK (please, not England) would be a far richer country if it hadn't spent billions of pounds and millions of young lives fighting Germany in two world wars, the latter completely bankrupting the country. It would be the UK that would be a richer country if it hadn't had to stand alone for two years fighting the evils of Nazi Germany. Because it stood alone bravely against the Nazis, and was latterly joined by the US and the volte-face USSR, it's economy was totally ruined and only recently paid back its 'debt' to the USA. Don't worry though Jurgen, we don't carry any grudges against our German cousins, we rather like you despite everything.

As for the British compensating the Irish, well, as a British and Irish citizen, I feel qualified to comment; The British didn't systematically and psychopathically murder six million people. They didn't turn Europe into a graveyard and they didn't seek to conquer Europe and cruelly subjugate its people. It's pretty simple really.
18:05 December 4, 2009 by lordwilliams629
anglogerman I'm not quite sure if your comment about America joining the war 2 years later is ment to be nagative. But just keep in mind in both wars America did not have an obligation to join the brits, from the start it was a european war, that the U.K. entered because of its treaty with poland, and as I put in my other comment America lost over 80,000 young men (merchant marines) who were bringing supplys to britian before America even got into the war. In fact I think the number was closer to 90,000 which up to that point, may even have been more than Britian had lost, because that 2 years before we entered into the war britian got chased out of france saving most of their troops and untill America got involved, the rest of the fight was mainly air war, I'm sure you hurd of the term sitzkreig, which refers to a big part of those 2 years for the U.K. which means sitdown war. So before commenting on Americas part in the early stages of that war also know your history on it. America kept britian going from the start.
21:50 December 4, 2009 by DrGideonPolya
The ongoing Afghan Genocide (post-invasion violent and deaths and non-violent excess deaths about 4 million) demands Reparations for these deaths from the US Coalition - including Germany - totalling US40 TRILLION. It can be estimated from UN data and the latest expert assessment of the level of violence in the Afghan War that post-invasion in Occupied Afghanistan non-violent deaths from deprivation total 3.2 million; violent deaths total about 1 million (accepting recent expert testimony that the ratio of violent/non-violent avoidable deaths is 4 times lower than in the Iraq War); under-5 infant deaths total 2.3 million (90% avoidable and due to US Coalition war crimes) and refugees total 3-4 million with a further 2.5 million Pashtun refugees generated in NW Pakistan by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Obama war policies - an Afghan Holocaust and Afghan Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention.. Contrary to Obama's lies in his 1 December "surge speech", the Afghans WERE prepared to hand Osama to a Third Country, even the "lying Bush version of 9-11" says that NO Afghans were involved, even the FBI does not specify 9-11 as the crime for which Osama is on the FBI Most Wanted List and the latest science from the University of Copenhagen indicates explosive demolition of the WTC buildings (i.e. US and very likely Israeli responsibility for the 9-11 atrocity) . At a US EPA valuation of US lives at US$10 million per head, and accepting that "all men ate created equal", the US Coalition - including Germany - faces a Reparations Bill of US$10 million/person x 4 million = US40 trillion for Afghan death sin the Afghan Genocide.
16:46 December 7, 2009 by lordwilliams629
DrGiedon, I notice that in your rambling statement, you also leave out the genocide that was being perpatrated by the taliban, such as the taking of females out on to football feilds and shot in the head, as well as many other murder's done by the taliban. Oh lets not forget about the freedoms that was denied to inocent people by the taliban, such as religous freedom, they showed that one when they blew up those beautiful centurys old buddha statues. And what about saddams mass graves with thousands of men women and CHILDREN in them, what about the kerd villages his troops killed, with whole familys taken out. No, none of that means anything to you does it Dr. idiot. Your statements sound like the words of a retard.
00:35 May 18, 2010 by Graf, Gregory von Richter HRE
Since i live in the USA--I would consider it a great honor if I presented the last World War I reparations check to the US Secretary of the Treasury. I would make sure it would be a world media event. Most US Citizens have no idea that Germany is STILL paying for World War I. I think most Americans would be shocked to think an ally of the USA is still paying off debt for a war that ended over 90 years ago. Many Americans would think that the US was so harsh to the Germans it would amaze them. Ask the Chancellor if I could have the pleasure. Graf, Gregory von Richter. fingerlakes54@yahoo.com
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