Germany pays last of WWI debt
October 2, 2010
On Sunday, Germany will make the final payment on a debt that reaches back to the end of World War I.
German media have reported that the 70 million euro (about $96 million) payment were the final reparations from the war. But a spokesperson from the finance ministry said Germany paid off its World War I reparations decades ago — in the early 1980s.
The 70 million euro is actually an interest payment for foreign bonds the country issued in the 1920s, at a time when Germany was struggling to make its war reparation payments, and sold in the United States, Britain and elsewhere. Under the Treaty of Versailles, the country was assessed a $35 billion debt for starting the Great War, the Washington Post reported.
But the payments were suspended when Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power in the early 1930s. It wasn’t until a 1953 agreement — nearly a decade after World War II — that Germany restarted paying its creditors. Germany paid off the principal, but under the agreement, payment on about 150 million euros ($205 million) in accrued interest was delayed until after German unification, which occurred in 1990, The Associated Press reported.
The debt was to be paid off in 20-year installments, with the last being made Sunday, Germany’s Unity Day holiday.