Germany has finally paid off World War I

Wars are expensive, and lost wars are very expensive. On October 3, Germany will finally have paid off all its reparations for World War I. Naturally, it’s complicated why it’s taken this long, and of course, the delay has mostly to do with the Great Depression and World War II.

When the Great Depression hit Germany, President Hoover and other world leaders tried a couple ways to suspend Germany’s payments, but they failed to agree on anything. And then Germany’s financial system did, so the payments stopped anyway.

In 1953, West Germany started paying again, and it paid off the principle of its reparations in 1983, leaving a whole lot of interest. Germany was excused from paying the interest until reunification. And so now, 20 years after reunification, they’re done with World War I.

All of which made me curious about World War II. I haven’t been able to find anything that says definitively whether Germany is still paying principle or interest for WWII, but this Wikipedia article makes it sound like there aren’t any lingering payments to be made. In fact, most of the WWII reparations weren’t taken in money, but by dismantling and re-appropriating Germany’s military-industrial complex. In particular, the US took “intellectual reparations” by claiming all kinds of German technology and patents. (Which was also to keep it from Russia.)

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