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Germany’s Long Overdue History Lesson: The Case for Greek War Reparations

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Greece on its national day of October 28th to bid ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to Hellas and its people, who suffered so greatly during her tenure due to the malicious policies that she put in place. By some diabolical coincidence(?), these meetings almost always seem to happen on or near national holidays, either in Athens or Brussels. Still, perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise, to facilitate the necessary comparisons and allow the people to draw their own conclusions.

Even amidst precariousness, self-awareness has its importance. Freedom of thought is a prerequisite to political emancipation. And even if that long-awaited day remains far off, at least when we speak plainly and dispel illusions, there is always the hope that the realistic analysis of events can enable the formation of the necessary mechanisms of self-defense and strategies to better our position.

Regardless of ideological background, over the past 15 years, Greece’s ruling parties have outdone each other in servility toward Germany, demonstrating behavior bordering on the masochistic, considering all the pain and suffering it has continually dished out to Greece.

There are those who say this cannot be helped, considering Germany’s current European hegemony. Nonetheless, there have been countries that have adamantly stood their ground on issues important to them. Examples include the nations from the Visegrád Group, Bulgaria’s stance against Skopje’s EU accession due to its cultural misappropriation, and Poland’s current requirement to pay the colossal fine of 1 million euro per day(!) imposed by the European Court of Justice over its refusal to implement EU law.

It’s high time that Greece officially raised the issue of the forced Occupation Loan and the war reparations for the unspeakable harm inflicted by Nazi Germany. The aforementioned nations are no different than Greece, with the exception that they are not under constant threat from Turkey. Still, since Germany scandalously supports its longstanding ally Turkey against the interests of its supposed EU partner Greece regardless, so Athens has nothing to lose by moving forward.

Besides, as of 2010, with the implementation of the memoranda, Greece underwent a second occupation – this time economic. The impoverishment caused by austerity policies was unprecedented for peacetime. Now that the world is entering the post-COVID era, the destabilization of the economy and global supply chain, as well as skyrocketing inflation caused by (green growth backed?) climate crisis resemble a tsunami that is threatening to crush Greece’s economy, which has still not recovered from the Shock Doctrine imposed at the merciless behest of Ms. Merkel and her associates.

Soon, eurocrats will arrive, haughty as ever, demanding a new round of sacrifices for the Brussels-based Minotaur. Greek national debt, which has shot up well over 200%, is far worse than before its supposed ‘bail out’. Even after a decade of suicidal austerity, Athens is far from reaching the eurozone’s fiscal targets, making new measures inevitable.

Angela Merkel visited Greece on ‘OXI’ Day, leaving a legacy reminiscent of Germany’s dark past, and no government official or main opposition cadre stated the self-evident. Germany has caused enormous damage to Greece, its people, and its economy for the second time in seventy years, and the payment of restitution for the Nazi Occupation, along with the cancelation of the forced Occupation Loan is the least that Berlin could do to ameliorate the damage it caused.

Next time Germany sends its minions to settle Greece’s debt, since no government official appears willing to respond to the same unyielding numbers being used to justify the impoverishment of an entire people, at least let there be as many citizens as possible to ‘inform’ them regarding Germany’s outstanding debts:

38,960 Greeks died from German firing squads, while 12,103 were killed by stray bullets and other ‘mishaps’.

600,000 Greeks died from starvation, along with 300,000 babies prior, during, or immediately after birth due to hunger and hardships.

105,000 Greeks died in German concentration camps, (60,000 Jews and 45,000 mostly Orthodox Christians).

1,170 Greek villages were burned, including 90% of those near the border.

200,000 Greeks were imprisoned during the Occupation, most of whom died in jail or immediately after their release.

Over 1,000,000 Greeks died of diseases associated with the privations caused by the Nazis.

German occupying forces committed monumental theft: They stole over 50% of the nation’s livestock, destroyed 80% of the railroads, seized almost all the engines and train cars, stole 73% of the nation’s ships, and destroyed most of the ports. The Germans also stole 70% of the automobiles and destroyed most of the roadways.

100,000 homes were completely demolished, while another 50,000 suffered major damage.

According to the UN, Germany sustained war damage equivalent to 135% of its GDP compared to 170% for Greece. In other words, ‘defeated’ Germany left the war in a far better position than Greece.

Proportionately, Greece suffered perhaps the greatest losses among European nations. In a report for the Ministry of Reconstruction, city planner Konstantinos Doxiadis estimated that Greece’s damages translate to 33 years of gross national income or the state budget for 130 years.

During the Paris Peace Treaties, the victorious Allies set the total damages caused by German occupying forces to Greece at $14 billion – based on its 1938 value. Germany issued reparations to all the nations it destroyed based on these figures – with the exception of Greece!

Naturally, for Brussels eurocrats, this is merely fine print. EU law and eurozone regulations take precedence. However, for the elected representatives of the Greek people, the pursual of an equitable solution for the injustices suffered by the country should never take a back seat to ingratiating oneself with the ‘bosses’ in Brussels. The language of diplomacy is a good thing, but only when it is based on truth – not the cultivation of illusions. Even hospitality has its limits… especially when it comes to vitriolic visitors like Frau Merkel.

Follow me on Twitter @CTripoulas

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