World War One Officially Ends

Just under ninety-two years after it came to a halt, we can now say that World War One is officially over:

The final payment of £59.5 million, writes off the crippling debt that was the price for one world war and laid the foundations for another.

Germany was forced to pay the reparations at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 as compensation to the war-ravaged nations of Belgium and France and to pay the Allies some of the costs of waging what was then the bloodiest conflict in history, leaving nearly ten million soldiers dead.

The initial sum agreed upon for war damages in 1919 was 226 billion Reichsmarks, a sum later reduced to 132 billion, £22 billion at the time.

The bill would have been settled much earlier had Adolf Hitler not reneged on reparations during his reign

Of course, there are those who say that it was Versailles itself and the economic ruin and resentment it helped create in Weimar Germany that led to the rise of Nazism to begin with.

Incidentally, according to Wikipedia, there are only three surviving veterans of what was once known as The Great War. including American Frank Buckles, who is America’s oldest living combat veteran at 109 years old and currently resides in Charles Town, West Virginia.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Of course, there are those who say that it was Versailles itself ”

    For which read “The economic consequences of the peace” by J. M. Keynes. Of course the early economic policies of the Weimar Republic, French occupation of the Ruhr, the return to the gold standard, the 1929 crash and US isolationism also had something to do with it (not to mention Hitler’s own political skill). It’s all chronicled brilliantly in a great book called Lords of Finance which won the Pulitzer last year. It was written by my daughter’s former boss who is Turkish of all things and I really recommend it if you want to understand what happened.