News has emerged that Sunday 3rd October 2010 is the day when the First World War officially ended. That is the day when Germany paid off the last of the enormous debt which was set by the Allies, 92 years ago. The final £60m installment is part of a £22bn debt imposed for starting the war and, coincidentally, the debt was cleared on what was the 20th anniversary of German reunification.
The Allied victors – primarily Britain, France and America – set the reparations in the Treaty of Versailles, in 1919. The initial sum agreed upon in 1919 was 226bn Reichsmarks, but this was later reduced to 132bn – worth some £22bn at the time. However, the bill would have been settled much earlier had Adolf Hitler not refused to pay the reparations during his dictatorship. The bill was also frozen again when West and East Germany split, and renewed again after reunification in 1990.
Most of the war reparations go to private individuals, pension funds and corporations holding debenture bonds.
Comment: To think that this has only happened in our lifetime.