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
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
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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
on Sunday, October 3.
The huge debt forced upon Germany after its World War I defeat has often
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