Peace Time: The 76 Year War Finally Ends

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October 7, 2010: Germany has made the final payment, of $96 million, to the reparations imposed on Germany after World War I. The initial amount of the reparations were $35 billion. Making the payments was hugely unpopular in German during the 1920s, and contributed to the Nazis rise to power. Most Germans resented the treaty that ended the war, and especially the reparations for "starting" the war. As far as starting World War I, everyone blamed everyone else, and there was certainly enough blame to go around. Arguably, it was the French, more than anyone else, that had the most to do with starting the war. But the French were on the winning side, so that argument did not fly at the time.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, they halted payments. Even before that, the allies reduced the reparations amount by 50 percent in the 1920s. This did not lessen German anger at the reparations, and the lost territories that were another part of the peace treaty.

After World War II, Germany agreed to pay the principal on reparations and other debts incurred by Germany between 1919 and 1945. This amounted to $344 billion ($2.7 trillion in current dollars). But there was a clause in the agreement that Germany would make more payments, to account for the interest, only if Germany were reunited. This seemed unlikely at the time (1953), but in 1990, the unlikely came to pass. Germany then began making the twenty annual payments, as they had to agreed to in 1953. The last payment was made on October 3rd, 2010, 20 years after Germany was reunified. This finally closed the books on the reparations issue. The Great War, the War To End All Wars, the 76 Year War (that spawned World War II and the Cold War), was finally over. At least on paper.

 

 


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