And You Thought Paying Back Your Student Loan Was A Bitch

And I’m sure it was but…

Debt

Germany’s World War I Debt Was So Crushing It Took 92 Years to Pay Off – After the Treaty of Versailles called for punishing reparations, economic collapse and another world war thwarted Germany’s ability to pay…

The Allies exacted reparations for World War II, too. They weren’t paid in actual money, but through industrial dismantling, the removal of intellectual property and forced labor for millions of German POWs. After the surrender, Germany was divided into four occupation zones, and in 1949 the country was split in two. Economic recovery, much less reparations payments, seemed unlikely.

By then, West Germany owed 30 billion Deutschmarks to 70 different countries, according to Deutsche Welle’s Andreas Becker, and was in desperate need of cash. But an unexpected ray of hope broke through when West Germany’s president, Konrad Adenauer, struck a deal with a variety of western nations in 1953. The London Debt Conference canceled half of Germany’s debt and extended payment deadlines. And because West Germany was required to pay only when it had a trade surplus, the agreement gave breathing room for economic expansion.

Soon, West Germany, bolstered by Marshall Plan aid and relieved of most of its reparations burden, was Europe’s fastest-growing economy. This “economic miracle” helped stabilize the economy, and the new plan used the potential of reparations payments to encourage countries to trade with West Germany.

Still, it took decades for Germany to pay off the rest of its reparations debt. At the London Conference, West Germany argued it shouldn’t be responsible for all of the debt the old Germany had incurred during World War I, and the parties agreed that part of its back interest wouldn’t become due until Germany reunified. Once that happened, Germany slowly chipped away at the last bit of debt. It made its last debt payment on October 3, 2010—the 20th anniversary of German reunification.

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History Really Does Repeat Itself

The German navy does this regularly, I guess. Commit suicide, I mean.

Suicide

So I suppose you could call the one going on presently a ritual suicide, albeit slower than those of the past (look what’s been going on with the Bundeswehr for the past thirty or forty years or so and you’ll get my drift).

One hundred years ago, the German High Seas Fleet committed suicide. On June 21, 1919, the crews of seventy-four German warships attempted to scuttle their vessels in order to prevent the Allies from taking them. Over the course of a few hours, fifty-two modern warships sank. In the modern history of naval combat, there has never been an event as devastating as the self-destruction of the German fleet at Scapa Flow. The scuttling immediately became legendary, closing one chapter of German naval history and opening another…

Indeed, the Germans had prepped the ships for scuttling over the previous several months, removing doors and taking other steps to reduce watertight integrity. They waited for motive and opportunity. As the Paris Peace Conference dragged on, both the French and the Italians had made claims upon the fleet. As the deadline for signing the treaty approached, both the Germans and the British made their preparations, the latter to seize the ships and the former to scuttle them.

On June 21, a comedy of errors ensued. The signing of the treaty was postponed two days, although it is unclear how aware the German sailors were made of this fact. The British commander decided that the fabulous early summer weather offered a great opportunity for practice, and the bulk of the Grand Fleet left Scapa Flow for maneuvers on the morning of June 21. Only a few patrol and utility ships remained.

Admiral Ludwig von Reuter gave the order for scuttling, and every German ship obeyed. The British didn’t notice until around noon, when the battleship Friederich der Grosse began to list noticeably. At this point, the rest of the fleet raised the Imperial German Naval ensign, which the British had officially forbidden. At that point, the scuttling became a race between the water and the Royal Navy. The Grand Fleet, notified by radio of the sinking, began to return immediately. The few Royal Navy ships in attendance picked up survivors, but were unable to save very many of the sinking ships.

German Of The Day: Richtig Angepisst

That means really pissed off. A lot of Berliners and candy bomber pilots certainly are.

Bomber

Go Berlin! I mean, go Berlin’s SPD – Green – Left Party government!

About twenty so-called candy bombers flew over Berlin yesterday in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. They had to. The city of Berlin refused to permit the pilots of these historic c-47 (DC-3) aircraft to either land or throw down candy from above.

That’s the spirit or something. I think this guy summed it up nicely: Candy bombers supplied West Berlin in 1948-1949. The socialists tried starving Berlin back then. Today, the socialists run the government in Berlin and refuse to allow the candy bombers transit over restricted areas and won’t even allow these heroes to land. A disgrace for Germany.

Ein Sprecher des Berliner Bürgermeisters äußerte sich gegenüber der “Bild”-Zeitung zu den Vorwürfen: Man habe trotz verlängerter Fristen nicht alle nötigen Unterlagen erhalten.

German Of The Day: Rosinenbomber

That means raisin bomber. Or candy bomber, if you prefer.

Raisin Bomber

Dignitaries from around the world have gathered in Berlin to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Berlin airlift.

The Soviet Union entirely blockaded the western parts of the German capital in June 1948, when the country and the city were divided into US, UK, French and Soviet occupation sectors after World War Two.

“I did not ask permission.” – Gen. Lucius D. Clay, the U.S. commander in Berlin who started the airlift without clearance from Washington.

Stop The Presses!

(Do they even have presses anymore?) This just in, folks: Some German industrial dynasties have a Nazi past!

Nazi

Holy freakin’ Scheiße! Once this leaks it’s going to ruin the reputation of all the other German industrial dynasties out there. With a Nazi past, I mean. You know, like every single German industrial dynasty that exists? Without exception?

I’m shocked. And stunned. Just like those dynastists in this particular German industrial dynasty who just found out about it themselves. For, like, the very first time. Honest.

A German industrial dynasty with big stakes in various international brands has admitted brutality towards slave labourers during Nazi rule.

A partner in JAB Holding, Peter Harf, said the Reimann family was shocked by links to Nazi abuses, discovered by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper in archives.

“We were ashamed and turned white. You cannot gloss over any of that. Those crimes are abhorrent.”

When’s The Next Whammy?

November 9 in Germany is kind of, I dunno, creepy or something. Is there a pattern developing here?

November 9

1918: On November 9, 1918 the Social Democrats’ deputy chairman Philipp Scheidemann rushed to the balcony of Berlin’s Reichstag parliament to announce the birth of what would become the Weimar Republic.

1923: Adolf Hitler, the then relatively unknown Nazi Party leader, and his cronies tried to seize power with a coup that started in a crowded Munich beer hall on November 9, 1923.

1938: Nazi thugs torched synagogues, smashed Jewish-owned shops and rounded up Jewish men across Germany on November 9, 1938, in what became known as “Kristallnacht” or the “Night of Broken Glass.”

1989: The fall of the Berlin Wall in a bloodless revolution on November 9, 1989 is a joyous milestone in German history, ending 28 years of Cold War separation.

2016: Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America. OK, the election was on November 8 but the Germans didn’t get the results until November 9.

So are we overdue here again, Germany? Maybe the Merkel regime will be ousted later tonight in a bloodless coup. Maybe not. Maybe there might be a little blood, too. Hard to say for sure. Stay home, stay tuned and keep your doors bolted shut.

Coming This Fall?

The Fall of the German Empire.

Empire

The third German empire is a different animal altogether. Repudiating both militarism and racist mysticism, it has been built slowly and painstakingly across three generations, in cooperation with other powers (including its old enemies the French), using a mix of democratic and bureaucratic means. Today Germany bestrides its Continent, but German power is wielded softly, indirectly, implicitly — and when the fist is required, it takes the form of fiscal ultimatums, not military bluster or racial irredentism.

But still the system is effectively imperial in many ways, with power brokers in Berlin and Brussels wielding not-exactly-democratic authority over a polyglot, multiethnic, multireligious sprawl of semi-sovereign nation-states. And thinking about the European Union this way, as a Germanic empire as well as a liberal-cosmopolitan project, is a helpful way of understanding how it might ultimately fall…

Sounds great. Stay tuned or something. Netflix, right?

Facebook’s Behind It

Never having been a country with anti-Jewish sentiment issues before, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, aka Schlafmütze (sleepyhead), just did a little research and was shocked to discover that those awful American social media companies are the reason for the increased anti-Jewish sentiment in Germany today.

Facebook

“Social media often propagates the spread of hate messages and antisemitic provocation,” Steinmeier said, noting that the trend is growing across Europe. Except in Germany, of course, because trend isn’t really the right word for it here. Thanks to social media, he reiterated.

 

Bad German Historian Woman Points Out Trümmerfrau Myth

… Every time another memorial goes up in the “rubble woman’s” honor, German politicians look to what former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said in Munich in 2005. The rubble-clearing women in the aftermath of WWII are “a symbol of the German people’s wish to rebuild and of their powers of survival,” he said, adding that the Munich monument “commemorates the large number of women who volunteered to clear the ruins.”

Wrong, says historian Leonie Treber. Neither was there a great number of women, nor did most of them volunteer to clear the rubble, the researcher says. “The Trümmerfrau is a German legend.”

Rubble Women

Yet it wasn’t just the women who were reserved when it came to clearing the war debris; men weren’t crazy about the task, either. In the eyes of the Germans, it was anything but honorable for people to show their “willingness to rebuild.” In fact, most Germans regarded clearing rubble as punishment – and for a reason.

During the war, the Nazis made soldiers, the Hitler Youth, forced laborers, prisoners of war and concentration camp prisoners clear the bombed cities after Allied air raids. In 1945, after the end of the war, prisoners of war and former members of the NSDAP Nazi party took their place. When that turned out to be insufficient, the population was asked to help – on a voluntary basis in the West, but usually against their will in the Soviet occupation zone.

Let There Be Wall

I mean Lichtgrenze.

The LICHTGRENZE is the light installation along the former path of the wall through the city center. It will trace the division of the city over a stretch of approximately 12 kilometers and with thousands of illuminated balloons as an impressive installation in Berlin from 8 to 9 November, 2014. At once emotional, poetic, and serious, this installation remembers the recent historical event, the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.