War Reparations

October 19, 1944

Report Outline
Emerging Problem of German Reparations
Positions of Allied Governments
Reparations Fiasco World War I

Emerging Problem of German Reparations

Reparation Policy of the Soviet Union

The reparation policy to be followed by the Soviet Union in World War II has been made clear by its formal application in the armistice agreements signed in September with Rumania and Finland. It differs sharply from the policy of “no indemnities, no annexations” recommended by the Bolsheviks in November, 1917, when they urged an immediate peace in World War I. The armistice agreements with Rumania and Finland each call for payment of reparations to Russia in the amount of $300 million. As parties to one or both of these agreements, the United States and Great Britain have sanctioned Russia's claims for indemnities from the former Axis satellites without committing themselves on the general reparation policy to be applied to Germany when the victory in Europe is complete. In addition to the payments to be made to Russia, the September agreements provide for payment by Rumania and Finland “for losses caused to the property of other Allied states and their nationals” but leave the amounts to be fixed at a later date.

Emebging Problem of German Reparations

So far as is disclosed by the official communiques, there has been no consideration of the general question of German reparations to date in conferences between the heads of Allied states. Prime Minister Churchill told the House of Commons, Oct. 2, that the Allies had “reached no decision regarding payment of reparations and indemnities by Germany.”

Lack of preliminary agreement in 1918 resulted in a struggle over reparations among the Allies at Versailles that weakened their accord and contributed in later years to the conditions that brought on the world depression and led to World War II. President Wilson had sought in his pre-armistice addresses to win the adherence of Great Britain, France and Italy to the traditional American policy of “no contributions, no punitive indemnities,” but he was compelled during the Peace Conference to agree to the imposition of reparations which approached total war costs of the principal European Allies. No claim for reparations was made on behalf of the United States.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
World War II Reparations
Jun. 22, 2001  Reparations Movement
Mar. 26, 1999  Holocaust Reparations
Jun. 02, 1945  Labor Reparations
Oct. 19, 1944  War Reparations
Aug. 15, 1931  Revision of the Treaty of Versailles
Nov. 17, 1930  Reparation and War Debt Payments
Nov. 15, 1928  War Debts and Reparations
Sep. 10, 1925  The Disposal of Alien Property
Apr. 08, 1924  Reparations Calendar
Oct. 31, 1923  The New Reparations Situation
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