Nineteenth-century History

First World War Officially Ends

Treaty of Versailles

Treaty of Versailles
Source: Wikipedia

I read something really interesting in the news today that I thought I would share here. According to the British newspaper, Telegraph, the First World War is finally coming to an end today. This past weekend, Germany made it’s final payment for the war and thereby finally cleared the debt given to Germany by the Treaty of Versailles.

Here is the article from the Telegraph:

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.

The bill would have been settled much earlier had Adolf Hitler not reneged on reparations during his reign.

Hatred of the settlement agreed at Versailles, which crippled Germany as it tried to shape itself into a democracy following armistice, was of significant importance in propelling the Nazis to power.

“On Sunday the last bill is due and the First World War finally, financially at least, terminates for Germany,” said Bild, the country’s biggest selling newspaper.

Most of the money goes to private individuals, pension funds and corporations holding debenture bonds as agreed under the Treaty of Versailles, where Germany was made to sign the ‘war guilt’ clause, accepting blame for the war.

France, which had been ravaged by the war, pushed hardest for the steepest possible fiscal punishment for Germany.

The principal representative of the British Treasury at the Paris Peace Conference, John Maynard Keynes, resigned in June 1919 in protest at the scale of the demands.

“Germany will not be able to formulate correct policy if it cannot finance itself,’ he warned.

When the Wall Street Crash came in 1929, the Weimar Republic spiralled into debt. Four years later, Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany.

Post a Comment

Your email is kept private. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Explore History Rhymes
Random Featured Articles

The Johnson County War

The Johnson County War has gone down in history as one of many Wild West legends about range wars. Some accounts claim various famous gun slingers like Jesse James were involved, however, this was certainly not the case. The real range war occurred in April 1892 and was the result of tensions, brewi...

Who were the real cowboys? (Part 4)

In the late 19th century, the combination of high demand for beef in the eastern United States and the lack of railroads or really any kind of infrastructure in the west was the cause for a unique phenomenon west. The western ranchers in states such as Texas and Wyoming needed to find a way to...

The Modocs – Introduction

“Well, I tell you what I will do. I give you twenty-five head of ponies if you take my place today, as you say Heaven is such a nice place. Because I do not like to go right now.” These were the words of the Modoc chief Keintpoos – or “Captain Jack” as he was...

Kings of Bavaria: King Otto I

King Otto I was the king who never reigned. His story was a tragic one that to this day remains unique in the history of Bavaria. He became king upon his older brother's death, but as he had already been declared insane and mentally unfit to rule, his uncle took over his royal duties as prince regen...