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Germany Got a Way Bigger Bailout Than It’ll Give Greece—and It Led to a More Peaceful Europe

on Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:05 pm
In 1953, the London Debt Agreement canceled half of Germany’s debt. Greece will not get quite so generous a deal.

On Sunday night, as European leaders bargained over a third Greek bailout, the hashtag #ThisIsACoup began trending worldwide to protest the extreme conditions of the deal. If Prime Minister Tsipras pushes the agreement through the Greek Parliament, Greece will receive a bailout package of up to 86 billion euros, in exchange for stricter austerity measures than those the nation rejected in their July 5 referendum. Backlash has largely been directed at Germany, who some see as hypocritical for insisting on such a harsh package: Thanks to the generous 1953 London Debt Agreement, Germany itself never repaid much of the massive debt it incurred in reparations from both world wars. In April, Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas even claimed that Germany owes Greece 278.7 billion euros in war debt for the 13 percent of the population lost during the Nazi occupation. This sum would allow Greece to clear nearly all of its existing debt, though German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said that there is “zero possibility” of Germany ever making such a payment.

When asked about any similarities between the current bailout deal and the Treaty of Versailles, whose harsh reparations created a climate of unrest in Germany that arguably paved the way for Hitler’s rise to power, German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded: “I won’t take part in historical comparisons, especially when I didn’t make them myself.” Yet it is difficult to avoid historical comparisons here, considering European leaders’ benevolence toward Germany in 1953 and their relative lack of sympathy toward Greece today.

HOW DOES THE 1953 DEBT AGREEMENT IN GERMANY COMPARE TO THAT IN GREECE TODAY?.............

Read further at link: thenation.com


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