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Versailles Reparations: Bad Era Ending

  • October 3rd, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

troops-ww1.jpegThe last of the heavy reparations imposed on Germany after World War I were being repaid at midnight this Sunday, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Germany’s reunification on 3.10.90.

germany-reunification.jpegDetermined at the Versailles Conference following the 1918 armistice, an amount of 269-billion gold Reichmarks was imposed on the new German republic – equivalent to 100000 tonnes of gold – to make good losses and injuries suffered by the Western allies.

That burden on a war-fractured economy, and society, aggravated the crises of hyper-inflation in the 1920s, then the Great Economic Depression; it provided rich fodder for propaganda and indignation over the loss of the war, and so prepared the ground for the seizure of government by the Nazi party in 1933.

Sweeping reductions had been negotiated in 1924, and no reparations were imposed after the second World War in 1945, (though the communist East German state contributed to industrial rebuilding in the Soviet Union).

The West German government issued bonds in the 1950s to enable it to pay out debts still owing from the reparations, but arranged to defer interest payments, as part of the financial agreements that saw the United States assisting with the post-war Economic Miracle.

Settlement would not be due until after Germany had been reunified, and so, today, the final payment, equivalent to A$97.5-million, is being handed over.

Pictures

Troops, Western Front; Reunification ceremony and celebration, 3.10.90 – eastgermany.info 

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