Reparations are compensations for damage caused to the injured party as a result of the aggressive actions of the perpetrator of this crime. Reparations should, as far as possible, eliminate all negative consequences of the wrongful act.
What is REPARATIONS – meaning, definition in simple words
Simple, clear answer: Reparations is a situation when one country attacked another, occupied its territory, killed the population, destroyed industry and infrastructure. Then, in the future, when the aggressor is defeated, by one method or another, he will have to pay for all crimes. He will be required to:
- Rebuild the industry;
- Rehabilitate infrastructure;
- Pay material compensation to the affected population;
- Compensate for lost profits, and so on.
The right to compensation for damages is an established international rule of law. This rule is enshrined in many international treaties and is common practice.
Examples of payment of reparations:
- Napoleonic war. According to the Treaty of Paris (1815), France was obliged to pay 700 million francs in compensation.
- Franco-Prussian War. According to the Treaty of Frankfurt (1871), France was obliged to pay compensation in the amount of 5 billion gold francs over 5 years. German troops remained in parts of France until the last payment was made in September 1873.
- Greco-Turkish war of 1897. After the Greco-Turkish war, Greece was forced to pay military compensation to Turkey – 4 million pounds. Greece, which was already in default, allowed an international financial commission to oversee its finances.
- World War I. Germany had to pay reparations of 132 billion gold marks. The last debt payment was made on 3 October 2010.
- World War II: Germany. After World War II, according to the Potsdam Conference, Germany had to pay US$23 billion to the Allies.
- World War II: Italy. According to the 1947 Peace Agreement with Italy, Italy agreed to pay compensation to Yugoslavia in the amount of about 125 million US dollars, Greece – 105 million, the USSR – 100 million, Ethiopia – 25 million, Albania – 5 million dollars.
Reparations and Contributions – what’s the difference?
Contributions are another form of international legal responsibility. They are often confused with reparations. The difference between terms and concepts lies in three main features.
- Subject of responsibility. The losing country pays the indemnity, regardless of who was the aggressor and who started the war. In the case of Reparations, it is the aggressor country that must pay them.
- Application motive. Contributions appeared a long time ago, along with the concept of “war”. For a long time, they were predatory in nature. The victorious countries used the instrument of “contributions” as a way of enriching themselves at the expense of the conquered peoples. The main purpose of reparations is to fully or partially compensate for the damage caused by the war.
- Payout amount. At the Paris Peace Conference, the question of the amount of material compensation became a key one. Experts believed that the amounts of payments should be realistic for Germany, otherwise its economy could collapse. According to the Versailles Peace Treaty, the number of reparations amounted to 269 billion gold marks (about 100 thousand tons of gold).