To talk about this debt, it is not necessary to resort to arguments of a moral or cultural nature, which, despite their strength and certainty, could be labeled as rhetorical by some cretins; it will be enough to talk about money; No sentimentality: real money .
Do you know which European country has most consistently and consistently refused to pay its debts? It is none other than Germany. And it is not about debts derived from mere financial speculation, but about debts derived from war indemnities: that is, debts contracted for having invaded, destroyed, looted and killed.
After the Treaty of Versailles (1919), the losing Germany of World War I was condemned to pay war reparations to the allies worth 226,000 million gold marks, an impossible number, fixed in order to punish the warlike nation and to curb a rapid recovery that could be followed by new hostilities. Between 1924 and 1929, the Republic of Weimar remained almost exclusively of the loans received from the United States (more than a trillion dollars), destined in part to defray the compensations indicated. But the situation for Germany became untenable, and the crack of the 29, in addition to huge losses for the lenders, opened the possibility to the renegotiation of the debt: thus, in 1930 (Plan Young), that huge payment obligation was formally reduced … to half (112,000 million). Between 1931 and 1932, and given the situation of the world economy, USA. decides to cancel the war debts to France and the United Kingdom, who, in turn, renounce as creditors a good part of the German debt (Hoover Moratorium and Lausanne Negotiations). In short, in 1932, Germany achieved a net reduction of more than 98% of the debts that forced it to launch the First World War, and in 1939, when it launched the second, Hitler’s Germany unilaterally suspended all payments, including this 2%.
After the Second World War, history repeats itself: Germany is condemned to pay very large war indemnities, but, in the famous Treaty of London (1953), the US, eager to turn the new federal Germany into a pillar of NATO against the Soviet bloc, they manage to “convince” 20 countries -among them Greece- to accede to a “de facto” condonation of all German debts derived from the Great War. However, this extraordinary treatment of favor – and the favorable foreign policies for the “losing” country to recover the trade surplus soon – were no obstacle for Germany to continue claiming an invaded Greece, plundered by its troops and a million dead … all debts prior to the war since 1881. It was not an obstacle in 1964 – with the help of Georgios Papandreou (grandfather) and Kostas Mitsotakis – for Germany to obtain recognition of these debts by the Greek government, They are also thickened with a very high risk premium, which means that we are still paying them. And it was not an obstacle to the fact that, in 1990 – when the unification of Germany forced to revise the terms of the Treaty of London and to take back the payment of the indemnities frozen by virtue of it -, Kohl’s Germany refused again to pay most of it. of that “old debt” and countries like Greece still did not find justice.
Let us not deceive ourselves with false moral lessons: the so-called “miracle” of the German economy is based primarily on the repeated non-payment of its debts for war indemnities. And I say, primarily, because we should also refer, as foundations of the “miracle”, the prosperity acquired by the exploitation of forced labor in 78 concentration camps by economic colossuses such as Krupp, Thyssen, Volkswagen or IG Farben. Father this last one of giant multinationals like Bayer, Agfa or Aventis, that continue giving samples of good practices in the globalized world of today (as also Neuman, Siemens, SLC Germany GmbH, etc., not to mention the German armament industry, so buoyant then as now).