With all of the financial problems facing Greece these days, it appears that the Greeks are looking to find what other countries may still owe them from the past.
Apparently Germany still owes Greece a sum of money from WWII, the occupation loan and war reparations, and even though Greece had demanded payment from Germany many times (1945, 1946, 1947, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1987, and 1995) Germany has refused to finalise this debt.
Germany however. did not refuse to pay its debts to all countries, having paid war reparations to Poland in 1956 and to Yugoslavia in 1971. These original debt figures were reduced by 50% in a 1953 agreement to help Germany out of its Economical difficulties of that time, by both reducing the initial figures and by spreading the repayments over a long period spanning decades.
However, the German chancellor Erhard pledged repayment of the loan in 1964, but only after the reunification of Germany. This reunification happened in 1990 but still the debts were not repaid.
During the German/Italian occupation of Greece, Hitler forcibly obtained from Greece a loan of $ 3.5 billion (at current values), which has never been repaid, and Greece was also awarded $ 7.1 billion for war reparations at the Paris Conference of 1946.
Should these debts from Germany to Greece, be revisited?
One reason being given is that the 1953 Debt Agreement was made because Germany was not in a position to pay its debts without crippling its future, and the result was Germany’s massive economic recovery from the 1960’s, putting themselves in a much better financial position than most of its WW2 enemies.
Many Greeks believe that Germany should now do the same for Greece, one of the countries devastated by the Germans during WW2.
There do appear to be historic parallels, with Greece now in a similar position to that which Germany as in, and now Germany has the opportunity to repay, and allow Greece the same chances that were given to themselves.
- Agreement on External Debts
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