War Is Over! World War I, That Is

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WORLD WAR I ARMISTICE PARADE, PARIS, 1918

Perhaps Germany can now officially move on.

Ninety-two years after the end of World War I, Germany will pay off its war reparations to countries of the former Allied powers on Sunday. The debt obligations were part of the Treaty of Versailles, which, among other things, forced Germany to accept blame for the war, neutered Germany’s military and is often considered a main factor in the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in the 1930s. The initial sum Germany accepted to pay was 226 billion Reichsmarks, later reduced to 132 billion. The final payment on Sunday will be about $84 million.

With the Third Reich refusing to pay the reparations throughout the 1930s and ’40s, some historians thought it might take a full century for Germany to fulfill its financial requirements under the treaty. But the German economy is on a remarkable upswing even amidst the global financial downturn. German GDP is forecast to grow at 3.3 percent this year, almost single-handedly driving European economic growth.

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