West must not normalise relations with Putin again, says Boris Johnson

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The extremely heavy economic sanctions Germany faced as a result of WW1 reparations were a direct contributor to the rise of Hitler and the seeds of WW2.

This is not true... Yeah, I know what you're thinking.

I'll just paste a couple comments I read that explains it:

This is a false / disproven notion by historians, and a bit of history which was deliberate propaganda on part of the inter-war and eventually Nazi government. Part of the reason we had so much issue until recently is much of these documents of the old Imperial German government were held in Prussia, which was annexed by the Soviet Union after WW2-- so we really only started to get in depth documents proving us right in the 90s.
An accessible book to serve as an introduction to this is "The Great War: Myth & Memory" by Dr. Dan Todman, "The Myth of Reparations" by Dr. Sally Marks (easily one of the most influential historians on inter-war Europe) if you want a more involved piece, and the principle paper on the matter imo, "Clio Deceived: Patrotic Self-Censorship in Germany after the Great War" by Dr. Holger Herwig, who's the leading living historian on early 20th Century Germany.

The TL;DR is: Germany was capable of paying back every last cent of reparations, and between '18-'23, deliberately sabotaged their own economy to undermine French reconstruction & get reparations reduced. From '23 to '29, after putting in a competent Reichsbank Commissioner who wasn't purposefully sacking their economy, they had a meteoric financial recovery, and even then more than half of the reparations forgiven by the Entente. Remnants of the Imperial government in Weimar hid & destroyed evidence of this and spent millions of marks on a propaganda campaign within England to paint Germans as the victims of oppressive French revanchism.


Germany was capable of paying back every last cent of reparations

To add to this, they had substantial help from America and American banks/banking system as well. Both the Dawes and Young plan (look em up kids) gave Germany more than enough assistance to help. Dawes pumped hundreds of millions into the German economy, with the idea that the product of this investment would pay off the investors and then the reparation's. While the Young plan forgave 20% or so of the total right off the bat and established very favourable repayment terms. Terms that eventually didn't matter cause Germany defaulted a couple years later and all the reparation's were forgiven anyways.

During the reparation period, Germany probably received more in foreign government investment and assistance (bonds and the like) than it paid in reparations. It's usually estimated 20-30 billion paid, 30-50 billion received. Germany made money on the reparations.

Don't get me wrong. Germany was economically bankrupted *following WW1 (twice actually, hyperinflation of 23, and the Great Depression).

But the reparations played no part in that. It was German propaganda then, and it still is now.

EDIT: following, not before.

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