Friday 19 January 2018

Berlin debt was suspended

Sir -- News that Germany recently "paid the last of the reparations imposed on it" after the First World War likely came as such a surprise to Brendan Keenan because it did not actually do so ("Brendan Keenan: Ditch the ideology for reality," Sunday Independent, October 24, 2010).

Germany suspended payments on reparations in 1933 after the Nazis came to power and nobody thought it would be a good idea to start them again after the war. What Berlin did recently do was pay off the last of the internationally validated bonds it had issued to pay the debt from 1924 to 1930.

Mr Keenan can be forgiven for misinterpreting the misleading headlines on articles explaining what happened, but he might have read one of the pieces more closely before dispensing his history lesson.

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