Why did Stalin so few took reparations from Germany

History 31/12/19 Why Stalin so few took reparations from Germany

the Issue of reparations to victims of Nazi aggression is one of the most confusing. It happened in the first place because the victorious countries tried to fix the exact amounts of damages suffered and demanding compensation.

Reparations as a disguised indemnity

Reparations, unlike indemnity, is, formally, the compensation of damage caused to the attacked country, the country which was attacked. But in the 20th century, the word “reparation” began to understand a disguised contribution. Open the collection of indemnities was kind of indecent.

Hidden indemnity under the form of reparations, were imposed by the victors in world war I – Entente States defeated Germany and its allies. And this amounted to 269 billion gold marks, which corresponded to 100 thousand tons of gold. Gradually, a number of agreements, it was reduced by half to 132 billion marks, but was still too heavy a load for the German economy. This contributed to the rise to power of Hitler in Germany, which abolished the payment of reparations. After the defeat in world war II, Germany continued to pay reparations for the First world war Britain, France and the United States. The last installment was made in 2010.

As he thought of reparation

At the Yalta conference the “Big Three” in February 1945, Stalin offered Roosevelt and Churchill to determine the total amount of German reparations for world war II 20 billion dollars, which was equal to approximately 20 thousand tons of gold – five times lower than for the First world war. This is despite the fact that the damage caused by Germany to their opponents in the Second world war was much higher than in the First.

Probably one of the motives, which was guided by Stalin and his allies, was the desire to avoid a situation similar to that which developed in Germany as a result of Perway world war. Germany, moreover, itself suffered enormous losses in the course of the war it waged. The devastated country would have nothing to pay.

the Total body count of damage inflicted by Nazi aggression, the allies did not create. Also purely political, not economic, there was a suggestion to Stalin that the whole amount of reparations owed to the Soviet Union only half, although it was clear that the Soviet Union suffered absolutely the greatest losses of all countries subjected to Nazi aggression. USA claimed a quarter of the total reparation amount, though their territory during the war fell, no German bomb.

At the Potsdam conference the leaders of the three victorious powers in July 1945 the decision was made, it reduced all the questions about the amount of reparations to pure fiction. USSR, USA, Britain and France met their reparations claims at the expense of withdrawals from own occupation zones in Germany. Given that until 1949 in Germany did not exist sovereign authorities, this decision theoretically allowed the allies were to withdraw and export from Germany the property at any scale. On the other hand, it limited the appetites of the winners, because they all wanted to turn their part of Germany to ally itself in the event of a Third world war.

in addition, it was agreed that part of their reparation claims of the USSR to satisfy the expense of payments of the Western occupation zones. This concerned primarily the transfer of industrial equipment and the newest technology on the lists presented by the Soviet side.

Why so little?

What were the real dimensions of exemptions from the Soviet occupation zone? According to the modern government of Germany, they are reflected in the amount of 15.8 billion dollars, more than half exceeded the amount set ourselves the Soviet Union. Here, however, includes not only industrial and agricultural products, technical documentation, cultural values, intllectually potential scientists and technicians, but also any property confiscated from individuals. Here the meticulous Germans from Bundesministerium of Finance took into account the labour of prisoners of war Wehrmacht in the Soviet Union.

However, all this pales in comparison with the losses suffered by the Soviet Union Nazi aggression and occupation. Direct material damage to the Soviet Union at war 1941-1945 economist and historian Valentin Katasonov estimated at 125 billion dollars of that time, and the total damage, including the military expenditure of the USSR itself (and the equivalent spending, remember, was included in the concept of “reparations” for the United States) amounted to 360 billion dollars.

were Not implemented fully as the United States and Britain the demands of the Union regarding the collection of reparations from the Western zones. Of those specific industrial products (machine tools, ships, aircraft, etc.), lists of which were presented by the Soviet side as the reparation claims of the USSR was transferred only a small part.

so, the question of why the USSR didn’t cover the expense of Germany as a significant part of their losses, inflicted by Germany, can be answered simply. Stalin was more important to post-war Germany, or at least part of it was a strong ally of the Soviet Union in opposition to the West. So he didn’t want the excessive weakening of Germany.

Here we can recall the words of Stalin, the Nazi foreign Minister Ribbentrop during his first visit to Moscow on 23 August 1939, although for a completely different reason: “I will never allow the weakening of Germany.” Obviously, the Soviet leader this replica was Frank.

Yaroslav Butakov

© Russian Seven

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