Thursday, September 30, 2010

Germany pays off WWI reparations

Here's a blast from the past. Germany is going to finish paying of the money it owed Britain from World War One. I had no idea they were still paying that debt - I thought it had all been either rejected or forgiven, but apparently they committed to paying it off gradually after WWII and once they became reunited.
This Sunday, Berlin will pay the last interest instalment on foreign bonds issued in 1924 and 1930 to cover the huge reparations demands made by the victorious First World War Allies.

The event will take place without ceremony and, despite its historical significance, has received only scant public attention, largely because it is a reminder of a terrible period that most Germans would rather forget.
Finland was the only nation to pay back the money that we lent them during World War One. The rest of the debts that other nations owed us were forgiven. As was all the money we spent during World War II. But Britain did finish paying us back in 2006 from loans that we made them after WWII. And, of course, the United States never sought reparations from Germany (or Japan after WWII) after either war.


David said...

Technically, this was not reparations payments but rather payments to retire bonds which had been issued by the Weimar government in order to meet its reparations obligations.

Pat Patterson said...

I don't think those war loans were ever forgiven but during the Depression, France in particular, many made no payments at all. And the US didn't press for repayment probably fearing putting those economies at risk again.

Timothy Lee said...

May have missed the payment by Indonesia in 1949 in the form of bauxite, which has been stored in Gulfport, MS for decades.

Pat Patterson said...

There is one interesting bit of trivia concerning late repayment. Germany's admission to the UN was stymied for several years and ultimately cost the Germans millions of dollars from lawsuits left of from the San Francisco earthquake. All the German insurance companies simply closed and left the US instead of paying off the damage claims. But the lawsuits predated the laws forgiving German debts and they had to be cleared up before admission.