The War is over! That’s World War I, that is.
The final payment of £59.5 million, writes off the crippling debt that was the price for one world war and laid the foundations for another.
Germany was forced to pay the reparations at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 as compensation to the war-ravaged nations of Belgium and France and to pay the Allies some of the costs of waging what was then the bloodiest conflict in history, leaving nearly ten million soldiers dead.
The initial sum agreed upon for war damages in 1919 was 226 billion Reichsmarks, a sum later reduced to 132 billion, £22 billion at the time.
An interesting footnote to The War to End All Wars, that’s for certain. What I’m amazed at more than anything else is that the debt wasn’t canceled when the participants to the armistice all joined the EU. C’est la guerre, I suppose.
The crushing debt load wound up being very costly for France and Belgium, however. The inability of Germany to pay it off while still providing for itself generated such ill will that the Nazis were able to ride the wave of discontent into power. We all know how that turned out.
Anyway, we do live in historic times, it seems.