German reparations for World War II

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Division of Germany as of the Potsdam Conference.

After World War II, both West Germany and East Germany were obliged to pay war reparations to the Allied governments, according to the Potsdam Conference. Other Axis nations were obliged to pay war reparations according to the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947.[citation needed]

Early propositions[edit]

An early plan for a post-war Germany was the Morgenthau plan with terms that would have essentially transformed Germany to an agrarian society. The French Monnet Plan would have transferred the Ruhr Area to France.

Recipients[edit]

Greece[edit]

Excerpt Akte R 27320, page 114 (political archive of the German Federal Foreign Office)

In 1942, the Greek Central Bank was forced by the occupying Nazi regime to loan 476 million Reichsmarks at 0% interest to Nazi Germany. In 1960, Greece accepted 115 million Marks as compensation for Nazi crimes. Nevertheless, past Greek governments have insisted that this was only a down-payment, not complete reparations.[citation needed] In 1990, immediately prior to German reunification, West Germany and East Germany signed the Two Plus Four Agreement with the former Allied countries of the United States, Great Britain, France, and Russia. Since that time, Germany has insisted that all matters concerning World War II, including further reparations to Greece, are closed because Germany officially surrendered to the Allies and to no other parties, including Greece. On Sunday, February 8, 2015, the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras appeared in front of the Greek parliament and officially demanded that Germany pay further reparations to Greece.[1] On April 6, 2015, Greece demanded Germany pay it the equivalent of $303 billion in reparations for the war. Germany replied that the reparations issue was resolved in 1990.[2]

Israel[edit]

West Germany paid reparations to Israel and the World Jewish Congress for confiscated Jewish property under Nuremberg laws, forced labour and persecution. However, no reparations were paid for killed Jews during the Holocaust, and no reparations were paid to the Romani people.

The Netherlands[edit]

The Netherlands demanded reparations, but later desired to annex a large part of German territory. They eventually annexed 69 km2 in 1949, bought back by West Germany in 1960.

Poland[edit]

As a consequence of aggression by Nazi Germany, much of Poland was subjected to enormous destruction of its industry (62% of which was destroyed), its infrastructure (84%) and loss of civilian life (16.7% of its citizens during the war- 10% of them Jews). Material recompensation incurred by Germany has been estimated as approximately €525 billion or $640 billion in 2004 exchange values.[3] On 23 August 1953, the Communist People's Republic of Poland under pressure from the Soviet Union announced it would unilaterally waive its right to war reparations from East Germany on 1 January 1954, with the exception of reparations for Nazi oppression and atrocities.[4] East Germany in turn had to accept the Oder-Neisse border. West Germany hadn't paid reparations to non-Jewish recipients for the damage inflicted in Poland until the Gierek-Schmidt agreement signed in 1975 in Warsaw, then it gave Poland 1.3 bln DM.[citation needed] After German reunification, Poland demanded reparations again, as a reaction to claims made by German refugee organisations demanding compensation for their property stolen by the new Polish state. In 1992, the Foundation for Polish-German Reconciliation was founded by the Polish and German governments, and as a result Germany paid Polish sufferers ca. 4.7 bln . There is an ongoing debate among Polish international law experts if Poland still has the right to demand war reparations, with some arguing that the 1954 declaration wasn't legal.[5]

Yugoslavia[edit]

The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia received a value of US$ 36 billion, in industrial equipment from the dismantled German factories. West Germany also paid 8 million US$ as reparations for forced human experimentation on Yugoslav citizens.

Soviet Union[edit]

Other forms of payment[edit]

According to the Yalta Conference, no reparations to Allied countries would be paid in money. Instead, much of this value consisted of German industrial assets, as well as forced labour.[6]

Annexation of territories[edit]

Poland and the Soviet Union annexed the German territories east of the Oder-Neisse, leading to the expulsion of 12 million Germans. These territories were incorporated into Poland and the Soviet Union respectively and resettled with citizens of these countries.

France controlled the Saar protectorate from 1947 to 1956, with the intention of using its coal deposits and possibly annexing the region to France permanently. The same mines had been under French control from the end of the First World War until 1935. Following the results of a plebiscite, France had to relinquish its control of the Saar region on January 1, 1957, however it continued to extract coal from the area's mines until 1981.

The Netherlands annexed approximately 69 km2 of German territory in 1949, nearly all of which was given back to the West Germany Government in 1957. Under the Dutch-German treaty made in The Hague on 8 April 1960, West Germany agreed to pay to The Netherlands the sum of 280 million German marks in compensation for the return.

Dismantling of industries[edit]

At the beginning of the occupation, the Allies started dismantling the remnants of German industries. The Western Allies later abandoned this plan in favour to the Marshall Plan.

Intellectual property[edit]

The Allies confiscated significant values of German patents, copyrights and trademarks.

Forced labour[edit]

See German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union, Forced labour of Germans in the Soviet Union and Forced labour of Germans after World War II.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Payback time? Greek PM seeks reparations over Nazi occupation & war-time loan". Russia Today. 8 February 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "Greece Nazi occupation: Athens asks Germany for 279bn euros". BBC News. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ http://tygodnik2003-2007.onet.pl/0,1188414,druk.html
  5. ^ [2] Sprawy Miêdzynarodowe, 2005, nr 1 Problem reparacji, odszkodowañ i oewiadczeñ w stosunkach polsko-niemieckich 1944–2004. Tom I – Witold M. Góralski (red. naukowa): Studia, str. 427; tom II – S³awomir Dêbski, Witold M. Góralski: Dokumenty, str. 621. Polski Instytut Spraw Miêdzynarodowych. Warszawa 2004
  6. ^ Pavel Polian-Against Their Will: The History and Geography of Forced Migrations in the USSR Central European University Press 2003 ISBN 963-9241-68-7 P.244-249