The end is nigh

Although the physical fighting ended 92 years ago, the First World War only officially ends on Sunday when Germany pays off the final installment of reparations imposed on it by the Allies.

The final invoice of £59.5 million finally writes off the crippling debt imposed on Germany at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 as compensation to Belgium and France and to pay some of the war costs of the Allies.

The initial sum, agreed in 1919, was 226 billion Reichsmarks, an amount later reduced to 132 billion. At the time, this was equivalent to about £24 billion.

Most of the money has gone to private individuals, pension funds and corporations holding debenture bonds as agreed under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany having been forced to sign the ‘war guilt’ clause accepting blame for the war.

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