Talk:World War I reparations

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Effects on the world economy[edit]

Does anyone know what the effect of reparations had on the economy of the other state except Germany? What did the Entente states (France, UK or Italy) with the goods they got from Germany for free? Did they sell them on the own market? What effect had this cheap business competion to companies in those nation? A bad one? A good one? Please tell me if somebody knows informations about that. Maxian D-C (talk) 12:06, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

I express a personal point of view: I think the importation of “excessively” cheep goods from one country to another damages the recipient countries economy. There are a number of things that effect the economy of a country, perhaps, the most important are the (1) amount of money in circulation (2) its distribution and (3) it's velocity, how quickly it changes hands. “Paper money” is in reality a human construct, has no real value and is in fact a promissory note. True wealth is crated by people at work, example; if farmers don't grow food we all starve. If people are unemployed no wealth is crated. If no wealth is created then the promissory notes we call money is just a piece of paper and its promise is false one. I believe Hitler understood this which is why in 1933, when he came to power, he put people to work building the autobahns and his war machine, interestingly in the early day he did not allow industry to use labour saving machines. This is counter intuitive, but in this way he put money in the hands of working people, who create wealth, this increasing the amount of money in the real economy improved its distribution and increased its velocity. Today we see the effect that “excessively cheep” goods, first from Japan and now China, are having on the economies of American and European. Buying these cheep imports removes money from the real economy concentrates it in the hands of the few and reduces its velocity. Let me make it clear I am not a fan of Mr Hitler's however the fact is came to power January 1933 by 1939 just a little over six years the German economy was strong enough to fight another war and he nearly won.

2020? 2010?[edit]

German wikipedia has contradicting information regarding by when payment of reparations will have finished; accd to them, all payments should be over by 2010. And they have good sources, as they link to the article by German Ministry of Finance. Anyone knows who's right and who's wrong?agnus (talk) 13:19, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Germany is officially done paying reparations. I don't remember when, but now we can talk about it as a past occurence. (talk) 01:57, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

It means that germany had to pay reparitions. It matters when they have finished, and it when it is done, it will be put in. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:36, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

POV tag[edit]

This article seems to have been the target of POV pushing. Note especially these two sets of edits: [1], [2].

  • The first enlarged the article from 17,243 bytes to 37,476 bytes and, some minor copyediting aside, the enlargement is almost exclusively due to stating over and over again that the Germans could have paid the reparations and did not do so out of political calculations.
  • The second doubled the section titled "As viewed within Germany", such that now 1/2 of the section consists of a story about planned French (and allied) reparation to be paid to Germany (totally unrelated to the section title). Another 1/4th is made up describing the view of the tiniest minority of Germans (It would be interesting if there are any other contemporary German sources at all putting forward that view), leaving only 1/4 to the actual view that was shared by virtually all Germans at the time.

The POV pushing can also be learned from the sources used: John Maynard Keynes, eminent economist and financial representative for England in Versailles is used for 3 sentences. Meanwhile Sally Marks (who is that?) is used as a source a whooping 43(!) times, for a total of several paragraphs. The unknown french economist Étienne Mantoux is also cited at length to disprove Keynes calculations (a ridiculous excercise, since data is taken from years when the original reparations had already been reduced).

Or look at another source that is widely used to back up the pushed POV: A lengthy paragraph is made out of Niall Ferguson's claim that Germany could have easily paid the reparations. Take a look at some other claims made in that book (taken from the wiki page):

  • Ferguson claims Germany was Europe’s most anti-militarist country
  • Ferguson claims Germany posed no threat to Britain before 1914, and that all British fears of Germany were due to irrational anti-German prejudices
  • Ferguson claims if Germany had been victorious, something like the European Union would have been created in 1914, and that it would have been for the best if Britain chose to opt out of war in 1914
  • Ferguson argues the British routinely killed German POWS

Calling this guy controversial is a huge understatement.

At the moment this article is hugely unbalanced and needs a lot of changes. --Xeeron (talk) 16:23, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Good point. The POV issue is very obvious. If I know more about this subject I'd change it myself. But as it stands I have to wait for someone more competent in this area.Mittermeier (talk) 08:03, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the article is unbalanced and the opinions of Marks and Ferguson are given undue weight. I do, however, think their opinions need mentioning (I am a little surprised that we don't have an article on Sally Marks). There probably is, though, a consensus among historians that the amount of reparations was overstated and that Germany attempted to escape its treaty obligations, so we should avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water. We probably need to condense the parts about the provocative views of Marks and Ferguson and add more about the views of Keynes (not just so as to shoot them down) and of other contemporaries and later historians. --Boson (talk) 14:59, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
I already considerably shortened the "view in Germany" section and will shorten the next one soonish (unless someone wants to beat me to it). While doing so, I noticed that the article is completely lacking info on allied discussions about the size of reparations, a section on this should be added. Additionally, the article does not so much as lose one word on the other war losers (austria-hungary and ottomans). These countries should be mentioned. --Xeeron (talk) 18:44, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
Keynes has probably had the greatest influence on the creation of the reparations "myth" and certainly he was the most influential of the contemporary commenters. Marks and Mantoux seriously revise Keynes assertion with the benefit of hindsight . Mark's scholarship on the issue has not been seriously contradicted since publication. Perhaps a section on contemporary views followed by a section on subsequent historiography would be a good way to approach it. ?gray (talk) 13:50, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like a good idea, Graymca. But just as an aside here, why is the fact that Keynes is so much better known than Mantoux used to prove Keynes right and Mantoux wrong? Surely, it is the quality of the ideas, not the relative fame of the authors that really matters. By the same token, we have to give greater credence to the views of a very famous, but ignorant Hollywood star on economic issues while ignoring the views of professional economists. Or to take even better example. Tom Cruise has claimed that the teachings of Scientology led him to overcome Dyslexia. Most, if not all experts on dyslexia would disagree with Cruise's theory that Scientology is the best cure for dyslexia, but since Cruise is so much more famous than any of the various obscure experts on dyslexia (pop quiz everybody, name 10 dyslexia experts), we would have to accept Cruise's claims over those of the dyslexia experts. The level of one's fame is not gauge to the accuracy of one's views.

Moreover, John Kenneth Galbraith, (who was a friend and an admirer of Keynes) writing in his memories in 1986 stated in retrospect Keynes was wrong and Mantoux was right. The same goes even more with Marks. To answer the question, who is Sally Marks? She is the Professor Emerita of History at Rhode Island College, Providence, and one of the most respect historians working on the field of international relations in the 1920s. It is a very strange procedure that because Keynes is so much famous than Marks that must prove him and her wrong. Marks wrote that essay, which everyone around here finds so objectionable in 1978, and thus had much better access to all sorts of sources that Keynes did not have in 1919. How very odd that the fame of the individual as opposed to what they actually have to say just be used as the basis for who is right and who is wrong on this issue. If I understand the rules correctly here, what an article is supposed to say is what the current scholarly consensus is, not just citing the most famous person who on a subject. I resent that charge I was engaged in POV-pushing, through perhaps I did use somewhat aggressive language. I just merely trying to this article up to reflect what is the current consensus on the subject, by citing some well regarded sources that must people had never heard of, let alone used--A.S. Brown (talk) 03:05, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

The article should be edited (preferably pruned) to give appropriate weight (and length) to the differing views (not depending on how much credence individual Wikipedia editors give to them). More consideration should also be given to use of "believed", "argued", and "asserted", as opposed to "noted" and "established", which give the appearance of favouring one point of view. Since Keynes was an important historical figure, his views are also noteworthy per se, regardless of any current consensus as to their accuracy. --Boson (talk) 07:08, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, The Economic Consquences of the Peace is undoubtly the best known book on the subject, and it should be included here. What I am objecting to is the claim that because Keynes is certainly the best known person to write on this subject, that makes him the last word on it. At least, one of the problems of treating The Economic Consquences of the Peace as the definative work on the subject is that book was written in 1919 before the any reparations had paid, indeed two years before the London Conference of 1921 had even decided how much Germany was to pay. Keynes tried to prove that reparations were impossible to pay by making the most extreme claims on what the Allies planned to collect, which is certainly in the sense that nobody could had paid the amounts that Keynes talked about in The Economic Consquences of the Peace. But at the London conference, the Allies actually decided on much smaller sum than what Keynes estimated in The Economic Consquences of the Peace. So as someone who wrote a very well known book, by all means let us mention Keynes. But let us take into account some of the more recent work on this subject rather treating a book published two years before reparations were collected as the last word on the subject. A really good book for anyone who got the time is The End of French predominance in Europe : the Financial Crisis of 1924 and the Adoption of the Dawes plan by Stephen Schuker, which handles both the economic and political aspects of this matter very well. Also worth checking out is The Weimar Republic : the Crisis of Classical Modernity by Detlev Peukert which as its title implies is about the Weimar Republic, not repartions in general, but has a good summary of the more recent German work on this subject. --A.S. Brown (talk) 08:27, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Who has claimed that Keynes is the last word on the subject? Above, Keeron says that Keynes was used for 3 sentences and Sally Marks was used as a source 43 times. It was also suggested that Ferguson held (very) contraversial views. Others agreed that undue weight was given to certain positions. I have not seen a claim that Keynes was "the last word" on the subject. Keynes's views are of interest for two purposes: (1) to present the views of all eminent scholars with due weight, to enable the reader to form an opinion; (2) to tell the reader what a notable, contemporary economist published on the subject (information which is noteworthy in its own right).--Boson (talk) 10:35, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

I understand and agree with the need for balance. Certainly one area that might add balance is that Germany was politically unwilling - perhaps unable - to pay the reparations. They did make a conscious choice to inflate their currency and that choice was political, not economic. The French annexation of the Ruhr seemed the pivot point that led to Von Havenstein printing money at the Reichsbank. While it was a political calculation, it was a calculation driven by reparations. Most of my information is coming from Liaquat Ahamed's book Lords of Finance. Hawesg (talk) 01:11, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

With all due respect, Boson, what else is meant by the sentence by "The POV pushing can also be learned from the sources used: John Maynard Keynes, eminent economist and financial representative for England in Versailles is used for 3 sentences. Meanwhile Sally Marks (who is that?) is used as a source a whooping 43(!) times, for a total of several paragraphs. The unknown french economist Étienne Mantoux is also cited at length to disprove Keynes calculations (a ridiculous excercise, since data is taken from years when the original reparations had already been reduced)." The implication here is clearly that Keynes is "eminent economist" while Sally Marks is a nobody (apparently the fact that she does not have a Wikipedia article proves she is obscure fringe source: a very biogted way of going about things), so we should pay no regard to what she has to say. It is clearly implicated by this sentence that more weight should be given to the views of Keynes than the views of Marks. For the record, Sally Marks is the Professor Emerita, Rhode Island College, Providence and she was writing some 50 years after the fact while Keynes published his book in 1919 (which is before the Allies actually attempted to collect reparations). This seems to me to be a very strange method in which a book published by someone two years before reparations who were attempted to be collected should be given more weight than an article written by a leading historian some 50 years after the fact. If the fact that Keynes is not cited enough proves this article is unneutral, I will be happy to add about Keynes's arguements against reparations to this article. Through I must admitt that I am rather confused by the claim that Keynes is not being cited enough as proof of bias. There is a links to the article on Keynes and on his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace, so if anybody wants to know about Keynes's arguments against reparations, they could easily click on these links. Indeed, a summary of Keynes's arguments against reparations should probably should on the page on The Economic Consequences of the Peace rather on this page. Having two summaries of Keynes on Wikiepdia seems like overkill to me. But that as it may, I add some of Keynes's arguments to this page in the comming year, so for those who are addicted to the view that French bankrupted Germany in the 1920s should be happy, which is clearly what everyone wants this page to say. That is not what more recent historical work says, but evidently it was my mistake to bring to this page into accord with current historical work, because nobody wants to hear about that. I hope this will settle this dispute. --A.S. Brown (talk) 06:02, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Saying that Sally Marks is less notable than John Maynard Keynes, or indicating that she does not have a Wikipedia article, is hardly bigoted and is not the same as saying that she is an "obscure fringe source". That does not mean that we accept what Keynes says as gospel and is nothing like saying that he is "the last word" on the subject.--Boson (talk) 12:35, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
As I wrote before, one of the problems with the article is the use of certain words when describing one point of view and other words when descibing opposing points of view ('. . . use of "believed", "argued", and "asserted", as opposed to "noted" and 'established', which give the appearance of favouring one point of view"). Some of these words may have been changed, but Schuker and Marks still note (rather than claim), while Keynes believed or asserted, and we still have the use of the word "established" in the sentence "The French economist Étienne Mantoux in his 1946 book The Carthaginian Peace, or the Economic Consequences of Mr. Keynes established [my emphasis] that Germany could have paid all of the reparations had they wanted to, and that the problem was not the Germans were unable to pay, but rather that they were unwilling to pay.", implying that this is established fact. But Gerald D. Feldman, for instance, in Boemecke et al., writes "Indeed, apparently the only people who really believed that the Germans could fulfill their reparations obligations . . . are some historians. I emphasize some historians . . ." --Boson (talk) 13:47, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
this debate seems to have died out. The complainants seem to not known the work of Sally Marks and Niall Ferguson --they are leading 21st century specialists in the diplomatic and economic history of the era. Rjensen (talk) 10:16, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

As I see it, the reparations were two things: 1) an Allied demand for German money (or goods), and 2) an important element of the scolding and punishment of Germany. Keynes discusses both of these in the "Economic Consequences"; the Wikipedia article, only the first.RobLandau (talk) 19:17, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Gold Mark/Dollar conversions[edit]

I corrected an obvious discrepancy (probably a typo) between the "Evolution of Reparations" chart and the text. I'm assuming that the table should have read 28.35 as in the text, rather than 8. However, the numbers still seem inconsistent. For example, 28.35/112 = 0.253. However, this conversion factor suggests that 2 billion gold marks should equal $506 million as opposed to the figure provided. This may be the result of a change in the conversion rate, but it would be helpful if this could be clarified. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:07, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

The best conversion rate to use is probably that based on the gold standard. The gold mark was 12790 kilograms of gold, while the U.S. dollar was 23.22 grains. That makes an equivalence of 23.79 U.S. cents to the gold mark, or 4.203 marks to the dollar. Physchim62 (talk) 14:31, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
This smacks of WP:OR to me. The sources say a specific number when discussing conversion rates and never mention any gold standard conversion. It seems like you're doing OR and claiming that the gold standard converstaion should be used when the sources don't use your personal conversion standard. Also there seems to be some confusion on the initial amounts.

On pg 447 the initial amount is 226 billion gold marks which in the source says 55 billion dollars:[3]

On p. 261 the initial amount is 225 billion gold marks which in the source says 56.25 billion dollars:

But then it appears that London Ultimatum of May 1921 fixed Germany's aggregate liability at 132 billion gold marks:

On p. 410 the initial amount is 226 billion gold marks which in April of 1921 was changed to 132 billion gold marks[4]:

  • Boemeke, Manfred Franz; Feldman, Gerald D.Franz; Gläser, Elisabeth (1998). The Treaty of Versailles: a reassessment after 75 years, Volume 1919 (1998 ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521621328.  - Total pages: 674

On p. 61 the initial amount is 226 billion gold marks which in April of 1921 was changed to 132 billion gold marks or 33 billion dollars in 1921: [5]:

Therefore I'd like to edit the article to show that in early 1921 the initial amount was about 226 billion gold marks or $US 56 billion (US$ 752 in 2017) but after the London Ultimatum of May 1921 fixed the German amount at 132 billion gold marks or $US 33 billion (US$ 443 in 2017). -- Esemono (talk) 00:30, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

It seems as if you're pointing out a separate problem, which is that sources differ quite widely as to the level of the reparations. I agree with you on that: I tried to find sources at the start of the month when the issue was in the news, but gave up because of the huge discrepencies and my general lack of knowledge in the area. Do you agree that it is reasonable to convert the currencies on the basis of the gold standard (which was in force among the Allies until 1933)? Physchim62 (talk) 00:55, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
The sources say that it is a specific amount nothing about gold standards or if they were already applied. We should avoid WP:OR and just add what the sources was the dollar amount without changing that number. So if the sources say it was X amount of dollars in 1921 then that is the amount.-- Esemono (talk) 01:05, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Well I'm glad the sources agree with my exchange rate, and not the one that was in use in the article before the problem was pointed out. The sources also agree that the amount of the reparations were expressed in gold marks: that is the "original figure". As both the pound and the dollar were tied to the gold standard throughout the period of interest, the exchange rate with the gold mark did not change over that time: it's not WP:OR to say that, it's simple logic. I've no problem changing the amount of the reparations in gold marks, but I think we should have a consistent way of converting it into pounds or dollars: there are several possible ways of making the convertion, as gold marks were no longer in circulation after the War, but we should not be using multiple methods of conversion in a single article. Physchim62 (talk) 01:27, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Article is fantastic as it is. No need for change, it is backed with fact and historical representation. There is weight, and this is appropriated with different opinions. (talk) 02:55, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

I would like to have some perspective on monetary valuation and the current article seems deceptive in listing the amount of USD in 1921 dollars as US dollars and not "1921 US Dollars".

Perhaps it would be best to have a separate resource for historical money convertibility for this and other articles.

The Measuring Worth calculator, linked from Historical Dollar-to-Marks Currency Conversion Page, written by Professor of German History at UC Santa Barbara, provides the following conversion range:—

From Measuring Worth,

In 2013, the relative value of $12,500,000,000.00 from 1921 ranges from $130,000,000,000.00 to $2,820,000,000,000.00.

A perspective as to the magnitude of Germany's debt.

The calculator arrives at valuations from $130 Billion to $2.8 trillion USD — a lot more than the misleading "$12.5 billion" (in 1921 dollars). Saying "$12.5 billion dollars" does not give the reader any perspective or appreciation for the amount of debt. The article could say instead "$12.5 billion in 1921 US Dollars [link to currency calculator]".

Measuring valuation in gold, the so-called "original research" is informative, if not too conservative. Xkit (talk) 19:49, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Estimating the reparation sun against gold is not supported by any source on the subject. The idea, IMO, also gives rise to the nonseical argument floating around the net that Germany had to pay more gold, in reparations, than had ever been mined (although I don't recall if this article ever went that far, but I have seen it on numerous webpages).EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:11, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Bibliography or References[edit]

I renamed the "Bibliography" section to "References." I'm guessing that is ok because all other articles have "References" as its bibliography section. Please do correct me if I am wrong (and reply to this message). --Michaelzeng7 (talk) 00:22, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Mixture of date formats and spelling conventions[edit]

This article currently has a mixture of "British" and American spelling and formatting. I propose standardizing on (non-OUP) British spelling and formatting, and flagging this to request maintenance of consistency.

  • "British" dates:
    • 11 January 1923
    • 3 October 2010
  • "British" spelling:
    • favour
    • labour
    • totalled
    • totalling
  • American dates:
    • June 20, 1931
    • September 1, 1929
  • "American" spelling:
    • totaled
    • labeled
    • industrialized

--Boson (talk) 18:22, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

No mention of the class system?[edit]

In 1921, the Reparation Payment figure was established at 132,000 million gold marks seperated into three caterogies. 80,000 million marks were classified as class C. Class C "amounted to indefintate postponement of about 80,000 millions...".(Bell, The Origins of the Second World War in Europe, pp. 22-23) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:51, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

"was not the 132 billion marks cited in 1921 but rather the 50 million marks stipulated"...50.million or billion?[edit]

Can someone who has access to the Sally Marks reference please check whether the 50 million stated is correct? 132 Billion to 50 million does not seem plausible given the statements later in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pmarshal (talkcontribs) 10:18, 11 January 2013 (UTC) I changed the 50 million to 50 billion, since later in the article it is quoted that the A and B bonds together valued 50 billion marks.Pmarshal (talk) 10:30, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

agreed--it was 50 Billion as in 10^9, not million as in 10^6. Rjensen (talk) 11:19, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

unreferenced information removed from article[edit]

In many ways, the Versailles reparations were a reply to the reparations placed upon France by Germany through the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt, signed after the Franco-Prussian War.[citation needed] Indemnities of the Treaty of Frankfurt were in turn calculated, on the basis of population, as the precise equivalent of the indemnities demanded by Napoleon after the defeat of Prussia.[citation needed]

- the above needs solid sourcing before being reintegrated into the article

Infrastructure damage caused by the retreating German troops was also cited. In her book, Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War, Margaret MacMillan described the significance of the claims for French and Belgium: "From the start, France and Belgium argued that claims for direct damage should receive priority in any distribution of reparations. In the heavily industrialized north of France, the Germans had shipped out what they wanted for their own use and destroyed much of the rest. Even as German forces were retreating in 1918, they found time to blow up France's most important coal mine".(MacMillan, p. ?)

- the above has mostly been sourced through other books and is largely within the article. The point that the French and Belgians wanted reps for damages and the Germans transported material they did not destroy, should be added back into the article. However, having checked the history of the article for the last three years, no page information has ever been given. Can anyone verify MacMillan stated these things?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:28, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

What I actually found was this – slightly different, including the plural "coal mines" (which probably should not be wikilinked within a quotation):
  • "France, and Belgium, had argued from the start that claims for direct damage should receive priority in any distribution of reparations. [. . .] In the heavily industrialized north of France, the Germans had shipped out what they wanted for their own use and destroyed much of the rest. Even as German forces were retreating in 1918, they found time to blow up France's most important coal mines." p. 202
in Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War" (2003), MacMillan, M., ISBN 9780719562372, John Murray Paperback.
--Boson (talk) 00:42, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks very much. I have reintegrated the above into the article.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 01:07, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Young Plan question[edit]

I am aware that the main feature of the Young Plan was sorting out how much Germany had to pay per year and for how long. However, looking back through the article it notes that it also reduced - by 25 per cent - the sum of reparations Germany had to pay from 132 to 116 billion. As we all know, the Germans only needed to pay 50 billion of the former sum. Did the Young Plan take into account the A, B, and C Bonds? Did the Young Plan actually increase the amount Germany was obliged to pay?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 00:13, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Bulgaria reparations question[edit]

Until a better source is found that deals with the issue as a whole, the following two discuss what Bulgaria paid. Would use, in something akin to the below, breech WP:SYN?

Example: Between the signing of the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine and April 1922, Bulgaria paid 173 million gold francs in reparations.(link). In March 1923, the Bulgarian reparation figure was lowered to 555 million gold francs. Between 1925 and 1925, Bulgaria paid a further 41 million gold francs, before reparations were abandoned at the Lausanne conference.(link)EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:44, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

Notes: Gold francs converted to pound sterling

Bulgarian reps were very reasonable : link on the other hand they produced a heavy economic burden link


German (132bil) and Bulgarian reps in pound sterling: link

collapse of Hungarian and Austrian economy meant it paid nothing: link

Strain on Bulgarian economy: link

brief history of Bulgarian reps: link

"The Protocols applying the Hoover Moratorium to the reparation payments of Bulgaria and Hungary were not signed until January 22, 1932": link

temp storage[edit]

To deal with the implementation of the Dawes Plan, a conference took place in London in July–August 1924.[1] The British Prime Minister J. Ramsay MacDonald, who accepted Keynes's view of reparations as impossible to pay successfully pressured the French Premier Édouard Herriot into a whole series of concessions to Germany.[2] A British onlooker, the diplomat Sir Eric Phipps commented that “The London Conference was for the French “man in the street” one long Calvary…as he saw M. Herriot abandoning one by one the cherished possessions of French preponderance on the Reparations Commission, the right of sanctions in the event of German default, the economic occupation of the Ruhr, the French-Belgian railroad Régie, and finally, the military occupation of the Ruhr within a year.”[3]

Request for verification[edit]

"Frustrated at Germany's unwillingness to pay reparations, Poincaré hoped for joint Anglo-French economic sanctions against Germany in 1922 and opposed military action. However by December 1922 he was faced with Anglo-American-German hostility and saw coal for French steel production draining away. Poincaré was exasperated with British failure to act, and wrote to the French ambassador in London:"

Is this supported by Schwarzschild, p. 140? EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:15, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

The above is supported by Sally Marks, ‘1918 and After’ in Gordon Martel (ed.), The Origins of the Second World War Reconsidered. Second Edition (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 26. The Poincaré quote immediately after is quoted in Schwarzschild, p. 140 (I have the book).--Britannicus (talk) 13:43, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks very much, I will insert the relevant inline citation.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 06:53, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Mantoux no longer considered valid[edit]

Mantoux was a Frenchman seeking a new round of German reparations after WW2. His polemics are not accepted by scholars, for as Feinstein (1995) has pointed out there were deep flaws in Mantoux's argument. He made all sorts of unhistorical assumptions regarding the Allies (he assumed they would not raise reparations as the German economy grew) and he underestimated the reluctance of the Germans to pay more taxes when they already saw reparations as oppressive and unjust. Feinstein concludes, "The payments were a paramount cause of instability and a barrier to international economic co-operation." see Feinstein, Charles H. (1995). Banking, Currency, and Finance in Europe Between the Wars. Oxford UP. p. 32.  This is serious scholarship that has to be included or readers might think that Mantoux had the last word and is still considered valid by scholars. Rjensen (talk) 16:42, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Feinstein is merely rehashing the outworn arguments of the old orthodox consensus that reparations were an impossibility. Sally Marks (who has written extensively on WWI reparations for decades) in a September 2013 article ('Mistakes and Myths: The Allies, Germany, and the Versailles Treaty, 1918-1921', The Journal of Modern History 85, pp. 632-659) says: "For nearly forty years, historians of twentieth-century diplomacy have argued that the Versailles treaty was more reasonable than its reputation suggests". Also, she says: "There are those, not all German, who claim reparations were unpayable. In financial terms, that is untrue...Of course Germans did not want to pay; nobody ever wants to pay, and Weimar was determined not to do so...Raising taxes would have provided ample funds...Weimar could have borrowed from the citizenry, as France did after 1871 [to pay its indemnity to Germany]". She also cites in support Stephen Schuker's The End of French Predominance in Europe. The Financial Crisis of 1924 and the Adoption of the Dawes Plan (University of North Carolina Press, 1976). William R. Keylor concurs with Marks' views and claims the popular non-academic view of the Versailles Treaty as harsh and that reparations were unpayable should "finally succumb to the archive-based discoveries of scholars". Marc Trachtenberg's book Reparations in World Politics (Columbia University Press, 1980) utilised previously unavailable archives and concluded that Germany could have paid but lacked the political will to do so. Since the 1970s, with access to archives unavailable to previous historians of the outdated Keynesian consensus, historians now largely concur that Mantoux's central thesis that Germany was capable of paying was correct. Peter Liberman wrote in 1996 (Does Conquest Pay? (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996)) that the French view, "that Germany could pay and only lacked the requisite will", has "gained support from recent historical research".--Britannicus (talk) 17:46, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
How can Liberman's analysis be valid when he thinks that the WWI reparations (112 billion gold marks) and the the reparations after the Franco-Prussian-War (five billion francs) are similar? 112 billion gold marks are 50,000 tons of gold, five billion francs are 1500 tons of gold.--Anubixx (talk) 20:54, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
Tons of gold is irrelevant. Gold Marks were paper money that had a rough conversion of 4 dollars to one gold mark. You will also note he says "out of proportion" and compares it to GDP. He is not making a straight up comparison between the value of money, rather the economic ability to pay.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:35, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
Article German gold mark says something very different: "The Goldmark was on a gold standard with 2790 Mark equal to 1 kilogram of pure gold" and "World War I reparations owed by Germany were stated in gold marks in 1921, 1929 and 1931; this was the victorious Allies' response to their fear that vanquished Germany might try to pay off the obligation in paper marks." And sure, the German GDP may have been higher than the French, but more than 30 times? That seems absolutely unbelievable to me.--Anubixx (talk) 23:59, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
You will note that the next sentence of the article also notes that the Dollar was backed by gold too, no one is claiming dollars are actual gold. Practically the entire world had their economies and currency backed by either the gold or silver standard prior to the war (such polices were abandoned during the war and were attempted to be reintroduced afterwards) that does not mean the Gold Mark was actual gold: it was still paper money. The Germans were not being asked to hand over an impossible amount of actual gold, and such comparison is distracting and incorrect.
Well, I have never claimed that this was payable in gold. But you have to compare the amount of reparations somehow, and though "tons of gold" may not be a perfect standard, I believe it suffices for an approximate comparison. Germany had to pay roughly thirty times more war reparations than France. If the reparations after the Franco-Prussian-war were seen as an outrageous demand, it's understandable that thirty times this sum was seen as simply impossible. Liberman sounds really silly here and this comparison undermines his credibility.--Anubixx (talk) 01:49, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Tons of gold is completely irrelevant. Books, territory, industrial parts, coal, timber etc made up the vast majority of reparation payments.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:20, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Why you focus so much on the gold thing is a mystery to me. I never claimed that reparations had to be paid in gold. It's just about Liberman's claim that reparations after the Franco-Prussian war were similar to the reparations after World War I, which were actually thirty times more. Liberman says that it was unproblematic if Germany had to pay 6-7 per cent of its national income, since France paid 5.6 per cent. But it certainly makes a difference if you have to pay that for 60 years or for five years. Until now I haven't heard anything remotely convincing why Liberman's analysis is still valid. .--Anubixx (talk) 18:57, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
As for the German economy, forty years after the Franco-Prussian War, the German economy - prior to the war - was the largest in Europe. The British, after the war, were extremely intent on getting the German economy back up and running because despite the war, Germany remained the largest economy and trading partner in Europe. Not so hard to believe they had the ability to pay reparations, especially considering what they paid amounted to a measly 2 per cent (what NATO is suggesting its member countries currently spend on their armies for a off hand comparison) of their GDP over ten years. It is hard to believe that they could have made payments and paid their bill? Young thought so, and set the date for 1980.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 00:33, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Since the 2 per cent wasn't actually the full payable sum this argument isn't valid.--Anubixx (talk) 01:49, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Since no one ever suggested the Germans had to pay in full, pay fully in money, or pay everything at once, your arguments are not valid. Reparations was always going to be installment based, which as the evidence shows Germany was very capable of paying (when they wanted to).EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:20, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
You misunderstood me. This is nothing complicated, this is really just a basic logic problem in your reasoning: you have to argue with the amount that was demanded in a certain period of time and not with the amount that was actually paid. Maybe Germany was indeed perfectly capable of paying "measly 2 percent of the GDP" (the sum it actually paid in the later 20s), but that doesn't mean it was capable to pay the sum which was demanded.--Anubixx (talk) 18:57, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
It was two per cent of ten years GDP. Total GDP would have been roughly 850 billion gold marks. Incapable to pay 41 billion?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 19:11, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Where did you get the 850bn GDP from?

This table by Ritschl has the A+B bonds (50bn not 40) together as 98% of 1913 GNP. Not unpayable but not exactly measly either. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:29, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

1) The article shows that A and B bonds were 50, not 40.
2) I would like to see the table, but cannot. I would also like to see the historian's argument, but googlebooks is restricting those pages at present. Although, more important: a 1913 GDP comparison to the entire sum requested is a little irreverent since it was never intended to be paid all at once.
3) Per Niall Ferguson, as cited in the article, what was laid by Germany between 1919 and 1921 was taken into account leaving them only 41 to pay, not the full 50 of the A and B bonds.
4) Various historians cited in the article state that what Germany paid amounted to around 2 per cent of their 1919-1931 GDP. Meaning their GDP for this period was around 900 billion. The 850 may have been a typo or more exact math, today I just used rounded figures.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:59, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Did you click my link? I works for me. The table is based on a number of sources including Ritschel and Ferguson. It also compares it several other GDP dates. Thanks for the clarification on the 41bn. Also please note the difference between what Germany paid and what it was supposed to pay, most historians agree that it payed less then planned.
Also, either you are misunderstanding the GDP or I'm misunderstanding you. In 'American "Reparations" to Germany' (in which the author asserts that Germany received more Capital inflow in form of private American loans that it later defaulted on in large parts then it ever paid in reparations) Schucker gives the entire combined GDP from 1919 to 1931 as 842bn (I'd have a pdf link at hand but I'm not sure on the copyright issues). From your post it seemed you assumed this to be annual German GDP. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:8108:1E00:1924:357A:4D3B:6BE4:63D7 (talk) 15:45, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
In my post from several months ago, I did not clarify that I was talking about the whole period and NOT annual GDP. So it would seem we have both misunderstood each other.
I cannot access the book ATM, but I will try again later on. Depending on my location, Google books does not always let me view pages.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:50, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
I was able to access the book today, via the link you provided. It looked pretty familiar, and I have just realized that that page (instead of the table) has indeed been cited in the article, in particular the second paragraph.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:51, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
All of which is why I believe, as I have been trying to point out in the edit summaries and placement of information, that the mostly pre-war info should be kept in one section - contemporary. Let Keynes have his say, let Mantoux have his say (after all he was the biggest critic for the period as far as I am aware. The information surrounding him is rather minimal too, considering the length and what could probably get even lengthier info highlighting Keynes arguments). Then, in the modern section, paragraphs can be built around the various back and forth arguments by modern scholars over weather the information is valid or not. For example, as RJensen has highlighted Feinstein believes Mantoux was wrong and as Britannicus has noted other historians rather support his arguments while others take swiped at Keynes.
Slapping a sentence on the end saying Mantoux is wrong, by a modern scholar when it is not exactly consensus among all, is somewhat POV imo when the same has not been done to Keynes.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:46, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Request for verification 2[edit]

Mantoux said that Germany could pay for the whole damage caused by the war, and he set out to prove that many of Keynes' forecasts were not verified by subsequent events. For example, Keynes believed European output in iron would decrease, but by 1929 iron output in Europe was up 10 per cent from the 1913 figure. Keynes predicted that German iron and steel output would decrease, but by 1927 steel output increased by 30 per cent and iron output increased by 38 per cent from 1913 (within the pre-war borders). Keynes also argued that German coal mining efficiency would decrease but labour efficiency by 1929 had increased on the 1913 figure by 30 per cent. Keynes contended that Germany would be unable to export coal immediately after the Treaty but German net coal exports were 15 million tons within a year and by 1926 the tonnage exported reached 35 million. He also put forward the claim that German national savings in the years after the Treaty would be less than 2 billion marks; however, in 1925 the German national savings figure was estimated at 6.4 billion marks and in 1927, 7.6 billion marks. Keynes also believed that Germany would be unable to pay the more than 2 billion marks in reparations for the next 30 years, but Mantoux contends that German rearmament spending was seven times as much as that figure in each year between 1933 and 1939. Mantoux, however, ignores numerous intervening factors, such as the relaxation and eventual suspension of reparations payments, and the frequent defaults of Germany, and the serious economic consequences when these payments were carried out on time.

The above has been pulled from the article due to a lack of citations. Can anyone help with citing? Regards EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:06, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

It's in pages 162-163 of Mantoux's book.--Britannicus (talk) 14:54, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Britannicus. I do not have Mantoux's book or access to it, is the above pretty much accurate for those pages? Additionally, the final few sentences appear as a critique of Mantoux's work: do we have a source for that?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:31, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I would say so. I could take a picture of the pages if you like and you could judge. The last sentence I have no sources for and it should be left out.--Britannicus (talk) 12:49, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the help, the photos are not necessary. I will reintegrate the above, minus the last sentence.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:04, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
The above text does not make sufficiently clear what is being said in Wikipedia voice, what is being stated as Mantoux'x argument, and what is being stated as Mantoux's representation of what Keynes stated. So, before reintegration, the text should be edited to make those things clear (for instance, reconsider "Keynes believed . . .", "Keynes predicted . . .", "Keynes also argued . . . ", "Keynes contended . . .", "[Keynes] also put forward the claim that . . . ", "Keynes also believed that . . ." .
If the last sentence is removed, special care should also be taken to avoid the appearance of accepting or supporting any argument that Keynes was wrong where Keynes' predictions about what would happen if the treaty provisions were enforced are contrasted with statements about what did happen (according to Mantoux) under conditions in which the treaty provisions were not enforced (so reconsider multiple use of "but" and "however" which implies Wikipedia's acceptance of an incompatability between Keynes' predictions assuming certain conditions and reality under different conditions. --Boson (talk) 22:03, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the advise. I should have some free time later on, so I will try and get this incorporated into the section.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 06:17, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
I have reinserted the text, minus the unsourced parts and other minor bits. I have taken care, per Boson's advise above, in regards to the wording. However, I am not 100 per cent satisfied with the flow of the paragraph (probably due to me being half awake). If anyone wants to give it the once over, otherwise I will give it another look in a day or two to see what can be done.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:04, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

and another[edit]

"Historians, such as the Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan in her 2001 book Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War, have since disagreed with this analysis made by Keynes."

I only have access to the preview of this work via google books. From what I can preview, I can only see her commenting about what Keynes' thought, published, or said. I do not see any analytical comments. Can anyone provide a particular page for me to look at, or a quote to use?

Removed text[edit]

From "Modern", per WP:COATRACK (article is about reparations, not Keynes vs. Mantoux:

Robert Cord comments that until the release of Mantoux's work, "nobody seemed capable of mounting a serious challenge to his economic arguments." Despite Mantoux mounting a "convincing broadside" against Keynes' work, his "attack came far too late to do any real damage to Keynes's reputation".[4] Ruth Henig notes that while Mantoux did not rival Keynes' "in terms of immediate impact or huge sales" his "arguments have been supported and reinforced in more recent historical writing" resulting in the scholarly consensus now resting on the position that Germany was capable of paying what had been asked for.[5]


  1. ^ Marks 1978, p. 248
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference Marks_p._245 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference Marks_p._249 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference Cord41 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference Henig63 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

Cheers, Baffle gab1978 (talk) 02:04, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

War Guilt[edit]

The section that says article 231 was mistranslated which features only an excerpt of the article seems like complete bullshit. This is the complete English version of the article:

"The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies."

Only the bold part is cited in the article. How does "imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies." at the end not mean exclusive war guilt? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:8108:1E00:1924:1865:1FF6:7CE:B7F3 (talk) 22:09, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

Per the sourced material: Only "the legal interpretation ... will stand scrutiny." This also involves not reading 231 in isolation, and not dropping the context of 232. The terms are also written in such a way as to display facts: the Germans struck first - "a commonplace truth which no writer on the question of war origins denies" - but also leave "the question of war guilt and German honor untouched." Implying the latter on the article is deemed a "political reading", and as such is what is seen in the German version. Per the source, "One who knows German will see at once that the governmental version gives the article the erroneous and provocative political reading ... The governmental text introduces a totally new idea, which is not present in the real treaty ... connotes something mental and purposive. It means instigator, framer ... In the context ... it implies premeditation of the war." As part of this, is the use of the term "author".EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:31, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

WTF Enigma you can't remove talk page discussions like this. The problem is not what the intention of the authors were (to establish a legal framework for reparations rather than assign guilt) the problem is that this article claims the guilt question came about only by intentional mis-translation of the devious German government for domestic and foreign propaganda purposes which is demonstrably false when the authoritative English version of the article already allows a reading (to put it mildly) of assigned German guilt. It even states that only people who didn't read the English article could for this alleged German propaganda.

As early as 1926, academics demonstrated that the Germans mistranslated the clause and used it for propaganda purposes. For decades, historians have demonstrated that your reading of the article - as implying war guilt - is incorrect. Not to mention, the governments of Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire did not read the same clause as the way you are reading it.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:31, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

I'll cite the whole section of the article I find problematic:

Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles was not correctly translated. Instead of stating "... Germany accepts responsibility of Germany and her allies causing all the loss and damage ...", the German Government's edition reads, "Germany admits it, that Germany and her allies, as authors of the war, are responsible for all losses and damages ...".[22] This resulted in a prevailing belief of humiliation among Germans; the article was seen as an injustice and there was a view that Germany had signed "away her honor".[23][24] Despite the public outrage, German government officials were aware "that Germany's position on this matter was not nearly so favorable as the imperial government had led the German public to believe during the war".[25] Politicians seeking international sympathy would continue to use the article for its propaganda value, persuading many who had not read the treaties that the article implied full war guilt.[19] German revisionist historians who later tried to ignore the validity of the clause found a ready audience among revisionist writers in France, Britain, and the USA.[26] The objective of both the politicians and historians was to prove that Germany was not solely guilty for causing the war; if that guilt could be disproved the legal requirement to pay reparations would disappear.[27]

A condensed version of this: would be far more appropriate. Note that one of the American authors later expressed regret about the specific wording chosen.

Iirc, it started out life as a condensed version of that article. An article that makes the same claims: the article was mistranslated, the article was misused, and the article does not imply war guilt.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:31, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

(I do admit that my original post was not particular useful in outlining my concerns and starting a constructive discussion)

When you strike the obtuse comments, then a discussion can be had. If they remain, the section will be removed again for flame baiting.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 17:20, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
I hope this is satisfactory. I looked up the guidlines for removing own talk page editing which recommends striking over full removal. ::This is consistent with my own preference.

C Bonds[edit]

The introduction currently includes "The remaining 'C' bonds, which Germany did not have to pay, were designed to deceive the Anglo-French public into believing Germany was being heavily fined and punished for the war."

Changing this unsourced statement to "to induce the United States government to cancel war debts owed by the Allied countries", as per

I do not have the time right now, however the above is not unsourced. The lede does not need, and iirc should not, inline citations. It is a reflection of the sourced material in the main article, as is the case above. Regards EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 10:28, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
In regards to the source, having now looked at it, it is an unsourced encyclopedia entry, from a book I am completely unfamiliar with. I would imagine additional users would need to be consulted to discuss if it is a RS, but the sticking point for me is that nothing on that page is referenced. Do we have a RS that supports your comments?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:55, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

There is also an issue with this quote in the article:

He also says, "the reparations demanded at Versailles were not far out of proportion to German economic potential" and that in terms of national income it was similar to what the Germans demanded of France following the Franco-Prussian War.

This should probably be deleted as I cannot see how to justify inclusion while providing facts that contrast with it. The Treaty of Frankfurt (1871) required the payment of 5 billion francs, at a time when 1 franc = 0.290322581 g gold, so 1451 tons (1,451,613 kg) of gold. The German war debt was 132 billion gold marks, when 1 mark = 0.358 g gold, so 47,256 tons of gold (~47,256,000 kg). This is not similar, it is about 32 times higher. 2601:600:8500:B2D9:39C2:C75C:DEF0:5B44 (talk) 03:19, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Not agreeing with a historian, is not grounds for removing material. Not to mention, the comparison to actual good gold is irrelevent.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:55, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
As the link explains, the C bonds did not require interest and did not need to be paid immediately. But there was nothing in the treaty which said they never needed to be paid. "Deceiving the public" does not suggest any point in time at which the C bond obligations would be cancelled. The US cancelling debts owed by Allied countries is a reasonable way the C bonds could have been cancelled, and the article even discusses how US President Wilson offered to cancel some of the war debts in exchange for a reduction of Germany's obligations. Unless you can find sources which support the "deceiving the public" explanation, I will have to revert the article.
The link is unsourced, and I am not sure it is even a WP:RS. Apparently you have not read the article, considering the fact that the lede is a reflection of the article, and the article is heavily sourced. Historians have looked at the treaty, the article, and events surrounding it. We have RS that state the C bonds were, to use Sally Marks words, chimerical. A point supported by other historians, also cited within the article. Removing this point from the lede, to replace it by a point from an unreferenced source will be reverted.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:05, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
When would the status of the C bonds have changed from "have to pay" to "don't have to pay"? 2601:600:8500:B2D9:C599:B0D:93B9:F5DE (talk) 22:10, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
As far as the numerous sources I have read on the subject state: they were designed as "don't have to pay". The only down side being that, as they remained on the books, they acted - in the words of one historian - a Damocles Sword. From my own reading, the C Bond issue disappears with the Young Plan along with the need to pay A and B bonds. What I have read does little to explain why the bonds seem to drop out of existence. As one can see from my talkpage comments from 2013: I pondered the situation, without finding an answer.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:28, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
From the link I provided, which you said you don't view as a reliable source: "The remainder, in C bonds, would bear no interest and would come due only when the commission determined that Germany's new Weimar Republic was able to pay." Then it continues with the information I summarized in my edit to the article, which you reverted. So if Germany had paid off the A and B bonds, and the C bonds still existed, the commission would likely have decided that Germany is now able to pay the C bonds. Note that, as this very article states, Germany did not finish paying off its WWI reparations until 2010 (the loans from US bankers/banks, to pay the reparations to Allied countries). It is not unreasonable that Germany could have been required to pay all of the debt, if Adolf Hitler had not come to power and/or the worldwide Great Depression had not occurred. I had thought Iraq recently finished paying off the reparations imposed on it for the Gulf War, but apparently it might still owe $5 billion. And apparently the UK is also still paying WWI debt, since it was simply been paying interest on those bonds for a while. (The significant difference is that war bonds are measured in a country's own currency, so they are affected by inflation.) One comparison is Germany's WWII reparations; they were deferred for a long period of time while Germany was split into East and West, but it resumed paying those obligations once it was reunited. It was not simply written off because Germany couldn't pay them for ~40 years, and there is no convincing evidence that other countries had planned to forgive Germany's WWI reparations either­—unless, as the article I linked explains, the US was willing to forgive the war debt of the Allied countries. The article does not mention this due to your reversion, and thus does not explain how the Allied governments planned to cancel the C bonds. 2601:600:8500:B2D9:C599:B0D:93B9:F5DE (talk) 00:26, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
"the comparison to actual good is irrelevent." How do you think inflation is measured? It's all based on prices. Example, In 2014, the relative value of $1,000.00 from 1919 ranges from $10,300.00 to $220,000.00. 2601:600:8500:B2D9:C599:B0D:93B9:F5DE (talk) 21:51, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
Straw man?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:05, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
The gold standard was based on the idea that gold will have roughly the same value over time. Inflation and deflation did occur, but on average the net effect was that prices didn't change very much over a long period of time (before industrialization made physical goods cheaper, while services tended to be more constant). The population of France in 1870 was 38 million, population of Germany in WWI was 65 million, so even if you adjust for that, German reparations in WWI are about 18 times larger than France's from the Franco-Prussian War. 2601:600:8500:B2D9:C599:B0D:93B9:F5DE (talk) 22:10, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
None of that matters. Comparing payment to weight in gold is completely irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that there is a RS, in which the author states the two payments were comparable. You do not like that, fine! Remove it from the article? No, unless it can be demonstrated it breeches guidelines. Is there a source out there, which contradicts him? Possibly. If so, find it. Use it. Reference it. Then use it as a comparison to that author's argument.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:28, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
If an author provides obviously incorrect information, they are not reliable.
I should note that while I feel you are making poor editing choices here, you likely contribute in positive ways to other aspects of Wikipedia, and rather than risking turning you into a 'poisoned editor' I am not trying too hard to improve the article. There are changes that could be made to Wikipedia that reduce the influence of editors with bias or poor judgement, but this is not the place to discuss them. 2601:600:8500:B2D9:C599:B0D:93B9:F5DE (talk) 00:30, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
Having reviewed the source, Liberman has his PhD, is a professor, and cites his sources in his book. He is not just a quack, and his work meets the standards of WP:RS.
Since on my phone I lack a copy and paste function, I will have to paraphrase: Versailles was not out of proportion to Frankfurt. The former demanded 6-7 per cent of German national income, whereas the latter demanded 5.6 per cent of French national income.
So, while I am glad you are not trying to be belligerent, how is Liberman provided obviously incorrect information with these figures?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:26, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

Figures not complete[edit]

Germany did continue paying off the World War I reparations after 1945. At the London Agreement on German External Debts, Germany agreed to pay 16 billion Deutschmarks that were still on the books due to the Treaty of Versailles and had been converted into private debts in 1930. Germany paid these 16 billions in the years 1952 up until 1983. In 1990, interests on the Versailles debts for the years 1945 up until 1952 became due thanks to re-unification, and from 1990 up until 2010, Germany paid another 56 million Euros. -- (talk) 14:33, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

I refer you to the "Loan payments" section:
"To help make reparations payments, Germany took out various loans during the 1920s. In 1933, following the cancellation of reparations, the new German Chancellor Adolf Hitler cancelled all payments. In June 1953, an agreement on this existing debt was reached with West Germany, which agreed to make symbolic token payments against the loans that had been defaulted on in the 1920s, but deferred some of the debt until West and East Germany were unified. In 1995, following reunification, Germany began making the final payments towards the loans. A final installment of US$94 million was made on 3 October 2010, settling German loan debts in regard to reparations.[93]"