At Lausanne, the June 1932 international conference rang down the curtain on the long-running reparations tragicomedy. There, the last act was staged. The Depression was the deus ex machina that finally put an end to the reparations drama — an outcome that was foreseen. Germany, burdened by a mountain of foreign debt and tightly bound by domestic and international constraints, was least able to withstand the Depression. In the maelstrom of the slump, the Young Plan fell by the wayside (setting off a foreign-debt crisis), followed by banking and currency crises, then moratoriums and partial debt defaults. Reparations went under, but the other thread of the intergovernmental debt tangle — the Allied war debt to the United States — remained in place and survived for two more years. Reparations had an afterlife in the shape of the Dawes and Young Reich Loans that the German government agreed to repay in 1953 after the calamity of the Second World War. These are the events described and interpreted in this final chapter.
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- The End of Reparations (and After)