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On this day, Feb 04, 1921: Germans united in rejecting Allied demand for $55 billion in reparations

This Day in History logo: MainLogo This Day in History 2/4/2023 By C.D. GROAT, United Press Staff Correspondent

This story was originally published on Feb 04, 1921. The content has not been edited, in order to preserve the historical record.

BERLIN, Feb. 4, 1921 (UP) - Germany was desperate today.

With all classes united in opposition to paying the $55,000,000,000 demanded by the allies, as they have not been since the early days of the war, the nation was ready to take reckless action. Under consideration were plans for:

An alliance with the Russian soviets.

A throwing up of hands, bidding the allies to do what they will.

A strong effort to convince the allies that the reparations demanded will wreck the country, thereby damaging the allies.

The allied demand was denounced from street corners, in street cars, and in the gathering places of all groups. Union laborers and capitalists all agreed with communists.

While Bernhard Dernburg declared the "Germans have a firm will to defend their honor," Christian Schmidt, head of the food industry unionists, was stating "whoever drives us to despair must share the consequences."

And the "Red Flag" Bolshevik organ asserted: "An allegiance with Russia is the only way out for the German worker."

The newspapers urged action. All reiterated the declaration that "Germany will not pay."

Meanwhile the government was framing its counter-proposals to the allies.

The proposals, if they mention any sum at all, will offer between $13,000,000,000 and $25,000,000,000 it is generally believed. Included in the proposals, it is generally, believed, will be:

FIRST: That any reparations scheme must be based on the five points laid down at the Brussels economic conference.

SECOND: The entente must furnish Germany with definite data concerning German destruction in allied territory, and a detailed statement of the amount of damages.

THIRD: The allies must be content with small annuities, particularly that of the first year.

FOURTH: The export tax must be eliminated.

They also demand the elimination of allied control over loans sought by Germany from outside nations.

On the disarmament question little will be said.


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