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'Germany makes final payment for WWI reparations'

ByJPOST.COM STAFF
September 29, 2010 12:44

Final $94 million payment coincides with 20th anniversary of German reunification, according to 'Der Spiegel' report.

Angela Merkel

Merkel 58 AP. (photo credit:Associated Press)

While celebrating the 20th anniversary of German unification on Sunday, the country will make its final payment for reparations as outlined in the Treaty of Versailles that concluded World War I, Der Spiegel reported.

The payment will be the final installment of interest on foreign bonds Germany issued in the inter-war period to raise necessary funds to pay reparations to the Allies following its defeat 92 years ago.

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Payments were suspended in the early 1930's due to a global financial crisis and Adolf Hitler's Nazi government never restarted them. Only in 1953 did West Germany agree to begin repaying the principal debt on the bonds.

It was agreed at an international conference that the interest payments would not begin until Germany was reunified. When the Berlin wall fell in 1990, the country began its interest payments, the last of which will be made on Sunday, October 3.

The huge debt forced upon Germany after its World War I defeat has often been  pointed to as a contributing factor to the rise of Adolf Hitler, the Nazi party, and the eventual breakout of World War II.

German historian Professor Gerd Krumeich spoke with Der Spiegel about the German people's perception of the post-war debt as an injustice and its role in Hitler's seizure of power. "The central factor behind Hitler's seizure of power was his promise 'I'll win this war in the end, I will undo this injustice and tear up this treaty and restore Germany to its old greatness.'"
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