reparations


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reparations,

payments or other compensation offered as an indemnity for loss or damage. Although the term is used to cover payments made to HolocaustHolocaust
, name given to the period of persecution and extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany. Romani (Gypsies), homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, the disabled, and others were also victims of the Holocaust.
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 survivors and to Japanese Americans interned during World War II in so-called relocation camps (and used as well to describe compensation sought by many African Americans for enslavement of blacks prior to the Civil War), in 20th-century world history reparations are the payments sought by the victorious nations of World War I and World War II as compensation for material losses and suffering caused by war.

The Treaty of Versailles (1919) formally asserted Germany's war guilt and ordered it to pay reparations to the Allies. The United States did not ratify the treaty and waived all claims on reparations. A reparations commission fixed sums in money; some payments were to be in kind (i.e., coal, steel, ships). The chaotic German economy and German government resistance made it difficult for the Allies to collect amounts due them, and they in turn declared it impossible to honor their war debtswar debts.
This article discusses the obligations incurred by foreign governments for loans made to them by the United States during and shortly after World War I. For international obligations arising out of World War II, see lend-lease.
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 to the United States. In 1923, French and Belgian troops occupied the RuhrRuhr
, region, c.1,300 sq mi (3,370 sq km), North Rhine–Westphalia, W Germany; a principal manufacturing center of Germany. The Ruhr lies along, and north of, the Ruhr River (145 mi/233 km long), which rises in the hills of central Germany and flows generally west to the
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 district after Germany was declared in default. The Dawes PlanDawes Plan,
presented in 1924 by the committee headed (1923–24) by Charles G. Dawes to the Reparations Commission of the Allied nations. It was accepted the same year by Germany and the Allies.
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 (1924) and the Young PlanYoung Plan,
program for settlement of German reparations debts after World War I. It was presented by the committee headed (1929–30) by Owen D. Young. After the Dawes Plan was put into operation (1924), it became apparent that Germany could not meet the huge annual
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 (1929) sought to ease the strain of reparations payments. By 1931 the world economic situation had so deteriorated that a one-year moratorium on all intergovernmental debts was announced. The Lausanne Pact of 1932 substituted a bond issue for the reparation debt, but Adolf HitlerHitler, Adolf
, 1889–1945, founder and leader of National Socialism (Nazism), and German dictator, b. Braunau in Upper Austria. Early Life

The son of Alois Hitler (1837–1903), an Austrian customs official, Adolf Hitler dropped out of high school, and
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 repudiated the debt, and German payments were not resumed until after 1953. Reparations were also demanded in treaties with Germany's allies in the war—Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey—but the amounts were never set and nothing was collected.

In 1945 the Allies assessed Germany for damages suffered in World War II. Payments were to be effected chiefly through removal of assets and industrial equipment. The Western powers and the USSR came into conflict over reparations, and seizures of capital goods and German assets in Allied or neutral countries proceeded unevenly. The Western powers ended reparations collections from West Germany in 1952, and the USSR ceased collection from East Germany a year later, although official renunciation of claims did not occur until 1954 in both cases. In 1953 the West German government agreed to pay reparations to Israel for damages suffered by the Jews under the Hitler regime. Lesser reparations claims were made against Germany's allies in the war—Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Italy, and Romania. The Western powers did not support these claims, and payments to the nations that asked compensation were arranged through separate treaties.

Japan also had to pay reparations after World War II. The United States administered removal of capital goods from Japan, and the USSR seized Japanese assets in the former puppet state of Manchukuo. The United States ended collections from Japan in 1949 and renounced further claims in 1951. At that time Japan agreed to settle the reparations claims of Asian nations by individual treaties with those countries. These treaties were subsequently negotiated.

Bibliography

See J. M. Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919); C. G. Dawes, A Journal of Reparations (1939); B. Ratchford, Berlin Reparations Assignment (1947); A. Cairncross, The Price of War (1986); B. Kent, The Spoils of War (1989).

Reparations

 

in international law, compensation paid by a state pursuant to a peace treaty or other international document for damage it caused to states it attacked. The extent and nature of the reparations should be determined by the material damage inflicted in accordance with the principle of commensurability. The right to receive reparations was first upheld by the Peace Treaty of Versailles (1919) and the other Paris treaties of that time, which stated that Germany and its allies were responsible for the losses borne by the civilian population of the Entente countries as the result of the war. In reality, the reparations in these treaties were an indemnity—money paid by a conquered state to a conqueror.

The forms of reparation to be imposed on fascist Germany and its allies as compensation for the damages they inflicted during World War II were determined at the Yalta Conference in 1945. The following agreement was reached at the Potsdam Conference in 1945: the reparation claims of the USSR would be satisfied by requisitions from the eastern zone of Germany and by the confiscation of German assets in Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Rumania, and eastern Austria. The USSR would satisfy Polish reparation claims from its share, and the claims of the USA, Great Britain, and other countries entitled to reparations would be satisfied from Germany’s western zones. The USSR would also receive a certain share of its reparation payments from the western zones. The collection of reparations from the German Democratic Republic was terminated on Jan. 1, 1954, by an agreement between the USSR and the Polish People’s Republic. The decisions of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences concerning reparations to the USSR from Germany’s western zones were never carried out by the Western powers.

Reparations from Germany’s allies in Europe were stipulated in the peace treaties concluded in 1947. They were based on the following principles: responsibility for a war of aggression, although taking into account the fact that these countries withdrew from the war, broke with Germany, and in some cases declared war on Germany; partial compensation for damage caused by the war, but not permitting reparation payments to undermine the country’s economy; and payment of reparations in kind, particularly by dismantling war industries and requisitioning industrial output.

Reparations may also take the form of restitution.

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