Central European History

Articles

The Myths of Reparations

Sally Marks

Reparations after World War I can be divided into two categories: non-German reparations, which remain largely terra incognita to the historian, and German reparations, an excruciatingly tangled thicket into which only a few intrepid explorers have ventured. Understandably, most students of twentieth-century history have preferred to sidestep the perils of travel on territory of extreme financial complexity and, as a consequence, a number of misconceptions about the history of German reparations remain in circulation. This brief summary is not addressed to those few brave trailblazers, whose work it indeed salutes, but rather to those many who have assiduously avoided the subject and to the myths about reparations which still adorn studies of the Weimar Republic and interwar history.

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