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War reparations

From Academic Kids

War reparations refer to the monetary compensation provided to a triumphant nation or coalition from a defeated nation or coalition. The compensation is meant to cover damage or injury during a war. Generally, the term war reparations refers to money or goods changing hands, rather than such property transfers as the annexation of land.

Contents

History

Criticisms

The main criticisms of war reparations have historically been:

  • that they are punitive measures against the populace of the losing side only, rather than against the belligerent side, which may be the side that justly ought to make amends
  • that in very many instances, the defeated populace's government waged war, and the people themselves had little or no role in deciding to wage war, and therefore war reparations are imposed on innocent people
  • that after months or years of war, the populace of the losing side is likely already impoverished, and the imposition of war reparations therefore may drive the people into deeper poverty, both fueling long-term resentment of the victor and making the actual payments unlikely

The most important words of criticism came from John Maynard Keynes. He claimed that overall influence on the world economy would have been disastrous.

Some critics hold that war reparations were an indirect, but major, cause of World War II. After the end of World War I, the 1919 Treaty of Versailles imposed heavy war reparations upon Germany. These reparations payments exacerbated German economic problems, and the resulting hyperinflation ruined the chances of the Weimar Republic with the public, and allowed the rise of the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler. Others point to the fact, that post-World War II reparations were calculated on basis of the damages caused by Germans during World War I. After French-Prussian war, reparations amount was set to fixed value. Moreover, post-World War I amount were subject to frequent recalculations, that encouraged Germany to obstruct payments. Eventually, all payments was agreed to be stopped after Hitler got in power.

The bad experience of the post-World War I reparations led to the post-World War II solution, where winning powers were supposed to take reparations in machines and movable goods from the defeated nations, as opposed to money.

Recent war reparations

After the first Gulf War, Iraq accepted UN Security Council resolution 687, which declared Iraq's financial liability for damage caused in its invasion of Kuwait. The United Nations Compensation Commission ("UNCC") was established, and US$350 billion in claims were filed by governments, corporations, and individuals. Funds for these payments were to come from a 30% share of Iraq's oil revenues from the oil for food program. It was never anticipated that US$350 billion would ever become available for total payment of all reparations claims, so several schedules of prioritization were created over the years. The UNCC says that its prioritization of claims by individuals, ahead of claims by corporations and governments, "marked a significant step in the evolution of international claims practice."

Payments under this reparations program continue; as of July 2004, the UNCC stated that it had actually distributed US$18.4 billion to claimants.

See also

External links

de:Reparationen no:Krigserstatning

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