Germany can finally rest at ease knowing that they have finished the finial chapter on the “war to end all wars.” Germany is set to pay off the last remaining amount of debt from the first world war this Sunday on the 20th anniversary of German reunification. Germany’s federal office for central services and unresolved property issues (BADV) says that a bond will mature on October 3rd and pay off the remaining $70 million in debt.
The German newspaper Bild said that ”On Sunday the last bill is due and the First World War finally, financially at least, terminates for Germany.” Germany was made soley responsible for the first world war and they were sent the huge bill for all of the damage and were also forced to pay the allies money as well. The Treaty of Versailles ensured that Germany would pay all war reparations for damages caused to allied nations and peoples from 1914-1918
In 1921 the total amount due was 6.6 billion pounds ($10.4 billion) which was an unthinkable amount of money during those times and many predicted that Germany would never be able to pay the debts or recover from them. “Germany will not be able to formulate correct policy if it cannot finance itself,” said John Keynes who represented the British Treasury in 1919 and retired after he heard how much was being asked of Germany.
The “war to end all wars” eventually caused the second world and the massive debts which crippled Germany for years, creating massive resentment throughout Germany, eventually led to the rise of Hitler and his Nazi party. When the Nazis took over they immediately ended all war reparation payments but they were reinstated shortly after WWII.
The United States, France and Britain reached new agreements with Germany in 1953 which once again made Germany start paying off their war debts however some were not to be paid off until Germany was reunified according to the BADV.
There is no word on which country will receive the bond or if it will be split amongst the allied nations but it’s hard to imagine anyone caring about 70 million dollars anymore. It is impressive that even with the massive debts and multiple wars and world wars that Germany was able to become the world power that it is today. Germany can move on from that burden but it will be much longer until they can overcome the scars that have forever changed both Germany and the world.