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For what the Germans owe Poland one trillion U.S. dollars?


delphiandomine 83 | 17,690
22 Aug 2017  #181
but Kohl insisted that such a binding legal agreement could only be made after German reunification, not before).

He was right. Neither the BRD nor the DDR had the ability to negotiate on behalf of the German people, and it was only with unification that the German people were all living in a German state, just as it took a unified German state to finally end World War II.

The whole legal status of West and East Germany between 1945-1990 is an endlessly fascinating topic for me. However, PiS, like always, are taking advantage of people's ignorance and unwillingness to actually verify things for themselves. Anyone who does more than 5 minutes reading on the topic knows that the issue of German repatriations has been conclusively answered, and the fact that PiS are doing nothing but publishing propaganda on the topic says a lot about their real intentions.

This is easily verifiable in any decent historical book about the German reunification.

Yes, but remember that people believe government propaganda over verifiable facts.
mafketis 20 | 7,341
22 Aug 2017  #182
The Germans always get the brunt of everybody's discontents, don't they?

They've worked long and hard to get that status (and still are...).
Ironside 48 | 9,796
22 Aug 2017  #183
Because the Soviets took Polish territory in the east?

No, because this is a separate issue. Some people are adamant to connect them (or any number of things with those territories) in any way they can.

On August 22nd, Moscow announced it was waiving its claims to any further reparations from the GDR, and on the next day Warsaw did the same.

It need to be remember that GDR doesn't exist today and Poland hasn't waived any claims towards Germany. As for alleged 1953 agreement it never happened.

(which was never in question in Germany

I disagree, it was questioned in Germany for a long time. It hasn't been brought up by a major political party - but that different.

As to Kohl -Mazowiecki talks I'm pretty sure that haven't made any legally biding agreements in regard to reparations. Otherwise it would be pretty dumb on the part of PiS to bring that issue up.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,690
22 Aug 2017  #184
It need to be remember that GDR doesn't exist today and Poland hasn't waived any claims towards Germany.

Ironside, I'm sure you're smart enough to understand that the Federal Republic agreed to take on all agreements and responsibilities of the German Democratic Republic. That's one of the key points of the unification treaty.

As has been explained above, the matter is closed between Poland and Germany.

Otherwise it would be pretty dumb on the part of PiS to bring that issue up.

PiS are bringing it up for political purposes, nothing more. Do you notice them doing anything legally to reopen the issue? No? There's your answer.
mafketis 20 | 7,341
22 Aug 2017  #185
Otherwise it would be pretty dumb on the part of PiS to bring that issue up.

You are soooooooo close to a major breakthrough here......
Tacitus 2 | 852
22 Aug 2017  #186
Otherwise it would be pretty dumb on the part of PiS to bring that issue up.

It is as pointed out several times before from a legal point of view very dumb. It only makes sense for them because they want to motivate their voters and deflect from criticism by the EU.

As for alleged 1953 agreement it never happened.

As evidenced by the link provided by Bobko, Poland has waved the issue of reparation for Germany, not the GDR. Mind you, back then the only legitimate German government in the eyes of the Warsaw Pact was the GDR, so the distinction is only theoretical.
Bobko 9 | 149
22 Aug 2017  #187
It need to be remember that GDR doesn't exist today and Poland hasn't waived any claims towards Germany.

Poland was only ever able to make claims from the GDR, because that is what the Soviet government agreed to at the Potsdam Conference. Seeing as the Soviets were the ones supposed to be cashing out the Poles, then the GDR is the only one that could pay, and you forgave them in 1953!
Bobko 9 | 149
22 Aug 2017  #188
Small correction to above. It's not just the GDR strictly speaking that paid.

The U.S.S.R. was entitled to reparations from it's zone of control, and relevant German external assets... but also:

"(a) 15 per cent of such usable and complete industrial capital equipment, in the first place from the metallurgical, chemical and machine manufacturing industries as is unnecessary for the German peace economy [....]

10 percent of such industrial capital equipment as is unnecessary for the German peace economy and should be removed from the Western Zones, to be transferred to the Soviet Government on reparations account without payment or exchange of any kind

This doesn't change much however. Because lower in that same section it says:

The Soviet Government renounces all claims in respect of reparations to shares of German enterprises which are located in the Western Zones of Germany as well as to German foreign assets in all countries except those specified in paragraph 9

The countries specified were Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Rumania, and Eastern Austria.

And finally, lets not forget who pays Poland:

"2) The USSR undertakes to settle the reparation claims of Poland from the zone of Germany occupied by the USSR, and from appropriate German external assets"

loc.gov/law/help/us-treaties/bevans/m-ust000003-1207.pdf
Ironside 48 | 9,796
22 Aug 2017  #189
. That's one of the key points of the unification treaty.

It doesn't work in the way you think it works.

As evidenced by the link provided by Bobko,

I checked his links. One is a book which deal in theory. The other about Potsdam agreement. The book I would need to read it first to know if it relevant to the case . As for the Potsdam agreement it doesn't say anything about waving Poland's right to ask for reparations from a German state.

That agreement from 1953 in regard to Poland - doesn't exist. There is no legally binding document and this links doesn't provide access to a one.
Bobko 9 | 149
22 Aug 2017  #190
One is a book which deal in theory.

Sure it deals in theory. It also takes a broad survey of available precedent. The verdict is that non-succession arguments very rarely win. In 9 cases out of 10 they fail. Not a single state has succeeded.

Also, Poland enjoys the benefits of many other treaties signed by the Polish-People's Republic. You can't pick and choose which ones you honor.

In the end, international courts will look very, very, very sceptically at any such claims, if at all.

As for the Potsdam agreement it doesn't say anything about waving Poland's right to ask for reparations from a German state.

Dude... the Potsdam Agreement is THE agreement to look at when talking about Polish reparations from Germany. It is the agreement signed by the three most powerful of the victorious countries at the conclusion of a great war. What else can there be?
Bobko 9 | 149
22 Aug 2017  #191
That agreement from 1953 in regard to Poland - doesn't exist.

Ugh... Again not true.

The free preview provided by Google Books and linked above, actually has very good citations. For the portion concerning Poland's August 23rd waiving of further reparations the footnote says the following (footnote # 493, p. 166):

"Declaration of the Polish People's Republic, in: 9 Zbior Documentow, 1953, no. 9, at p. 1830, quoted in: 49 BVerfG 169. The relevant quote from the binding declaration reads as follows: "In consideration of the fact that Germany has already complied to a significant extent with its obligation to pay reparations and the fact that the improvements of the economic situation of Germany lies in the interests of its peaceful development, the government of the People's Republic of Poland has resolved, effective January 1, 1954, to waive the reparation payments to Poland, in order to hereby make a further contribution to the resolution of the German question in the spirit of democracy and peace in accordance with the interests of the Polish and all peace-loving people".

There are further bibliographical citations in that same footnote.

Edit: Funny thing, the 1953 language doesn't say GDR anywhere, but instead "Germany"
delphiandomine 83 | 17,690
22 Aug 2017  #192
It doesn't work in the way you think it works.

It works in exactly that way. The Federal Republic of Germany took and takes full responsibility for the actions of the German Democratic Republic. If you want to argue, perhaps you should look at why the Federal Republic felt competent to try people for things that were not crimes according to the law of the GDR.

The verdict is that non-succession arguments very rarely win. In 9 cases out of 10 they fail. Not a single state has succeeded.

I think it's pretty clear with the complete collapse of Germany in 1945 that there was no possible way that the BRD or GDR (or even the Saarland, if they wanted to!) could be claimed to be the legal successor of the German Reich. The huge influx of ethnic Germans, the completely different political systems and the Allied oversight over the affairs of the occupation zones, later countries - it's clear to anyone that follows the development of nation states that there was no possible way that the post-war Federal Republic could be considered to be the same country. Even the way that the three post-war German states developed was clearly in rejection of the past.

For what it's worth, even the claim of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to be the successor state of the SFRY was rejected. The Czechs also didn't try and become the successor state to Czechoslovakia, even if they were by far the bigger republic in the federation.
Bobko 9 | 149
22 Aug 2017  #193
it's clear to anyone that follows the development of nation states that there was no possible way that the post-war Federal Republic could be considered to be the same country.

Not sure what you mean here. Germany is in fact an inheritor of the Third Reich. Russia is the legal successor to the Soviet Union (keeping all its assets abroad, e.g. embassies, military bases, and the veto-holding membership in the security council. There is nothing unusual in succession. What is unusual is non-succession when it comes to any kind of serious liability. It nearly always fails.
Tacitus 2 | 852
22 Aug 2017  #194
Not sure what you mean here. Germany is in fact an inheritor of the Third Reich.

A common misconception, often found even in German literature.

According to a ruling made by the German Supreme Court the FRG is actually identical with the Third Reich from a legal point of view, just not in its' territory. This makes little to no difference in practice mind you.
Lyzko 23 | 6,659
22 Aug 2017  #195
To what extent though does Germany finally "move on" and out from within the shadows of the Nazi Era? Must she continually beat her breasts until the end of time in order to atone for the sins of the fathers, grandfathers, by this time, GREAT grandfathers, if merely to satisfy what by this time must surely be a long-since soured taste of revenge??
delphiandomine 83 | 17,690
22 Aug 2017  #196
Germany is in fact an inheritor of the Third Reich.

No, it isn't. It's very long winded and difficult to explain, but the Allies essentially crafted it so that the Federal Republic, the German Democratic Republic and the Saarland took their sovereignty from the Allied occupation, not from the German Reich. There was some dispute over this in the Federal Republic, and there was a fairly significant school of thought within the Federal Republic that it was a successor state, but the matter was definitively settled with the unification of German in 1990.

Essentially, the Basic Law of the Federal Republic was interpreted within the Federal Republic as providing an article for an all-German state (after unification) which would then become the legal successor of the German Reich. This was supposed to be used when German unified, but they chose for the GDR to join the Federal Republic instead, meaning that there was no successor to the German Reich. If the two Germanies had united as originally imagined by the Basic Law, then it would have been the successor state - but they didn't unite, but rather the Federal Republic simply accepted new German states into the federation.

It's all quite complicated and difficult to follow, but the core idea is that the modern day Federal Republic owes its existence to the Allies and not to the German Reich. I don't remember which European court ruled on the matter, but it was definitely settled at some point that the post-1990 Federal Republic was not the successor of the German Reich.

I seem to recall that there was also some legal weirdness concerning the existence post-war of the German Reich, but this is where it gets really arcane and where you need a law degree to make any sense of it.
Crow 138 | 7,646
22 Aug 2017  #197
Germans must be stooped.
Tacitus 2 | 852
22 Aug 2017  #198
I don't remember which European court ruled on the matter, but it was definitely settled at some point that the post-1990 Federal Republic was not the successor of the German Reich.

According to this German Wikipedia article, the last ruling in this regard was made by the German Supreme Court:

de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rechtslage_Deutschlands_nach_1945#cite_note-29
According to this article, the argument is accepted, but historians point out that it is more a Legal fiction. Honestly i have yet to found a decent explanation for this, I guess this is a problem only lawyers can come up with.
Bobko 9 | 149
22 Aug 2017  #199
The Basic Law of the Federal Republic was interpreted within the Federal Republic[...]

Have to admit I don't understand much of this.

You are correct in saying that the FRG did not become a successor state post-reunification (rather it is still the same, yet enlarged, entity), and this is because the reunification was done under Article 23 of the Basic Law, rather than under Article 146 which was briefly discussed initially (would imply having a new all-German constitution voted into effect by a unified nation).

For the longest time it wasn't clear how unification under Article 23 would work in practice. In theory it allowed for it.

According to Wikipedia (apologies), the unamended Article 23 of the Basic Law:
"provided other de jure German states, initially not included in the field of application of the Basic Law, with the right to declare their accession (Beitritt) at a later date. Therefore, although the Basic Law was considered provisional, it allowed more parts of Germany to join its field of application."

This was great because it was not coercion (forbidden for all time for Germany's past sins), but rather the free expression/self determination of a sovereign people. At the same time, it also meant that those joining would have to subscribe to all existing FRG laws. But the really important part here, actually, was the part concerning "other de jure states". Where does this list of other de jure states that are eligible for accession come from? Why from the FRG maintaining continuity with the German Reich (not to be confused with Third Reich, included under German Reich). But what ended up happening, in the event, is that the GDR joined in a weird hybrid fashion where it initiated accession under Article 23, but then joined constitutionally through a treaty (Reunification Treaty) that recognized it as a sovereign state. One of the implications of the amended Article 23 under which the GDR joined, was that the previous ties by which FRG constitutional courts timed themselves to the German Reich were void. Why? Because the amended and immediately extinct Article 23, said that no one else could ever join, regardless of them belonging to the German Reich at some point or not. That's all. It does not mean that Germany is not a successor state. German leaders still go around the world apologizing for Nazi crimes and paying the reparations bills, which is de facto all that matters really.

This is all really a juridical debate, that has no bearing on practical German foreign policy which maintains that it is a successor state.
Tacitus 2 | 852
23 Aug 2017  #200
This is all really a juridical debate

Crucially, concerning the topic of this thrad, it doesn't question the fact that the issue of reparations between Germany and Poland is closed.
Ironside 48 | 9,796
23 Aug 2017  #201
Let agree to disagree.

My final point - IF there is any legally binding document in which Poland wavers its right to compensation from Germany, Merkel would produce it post-haste.

By the way - Poland suffered the his losses due to the German aggression in 1939, proportionally to its populace of course. Hasn't got any compensation for that.

That is not right.
Tacitus 2 | 852
23 Aug 2017  #202
My final point - IF there is any legally binding document in which Poland wavers its right to compensation from Germany, Merkel would produce it post-haste.

She will, if Poland indeed seeks further reparations. So far the Polish government has yet to decide whether or not it starts an official request, until then Merkel won't do anything. And again, there are legal documents to support this view, namely the treaties of 1953, 1970, 1990 and 1991. Poland will have to argue that those treaties do not suffice, the burden of proof will be on Poland.

By the way - Poland suffered the his losses due to the German aggression in 1939, proportionally to its populace of course. Hasn't got any compensation for that.

Poland received one quarter of Germany's territory, including a lot of arts and treasure like the Berlinka treasure it has legally speaking no right to and received several bns in reparation, and received political support for its' ascencion to the EU. I agree that this is not sufficient to cover all costs, but Poland received more than other countries and you can't reasonably expect the great-grandchildren to pay additional money for the crimes of their great-grandfathers.

If anything, Poland has more reason to be angry with Russia, who annexed a lot of their territory and failed to provide them with meaningful reparations from East Germany as per the Potsdam agreement. It is estimated that the SU extracted reparations that were worth 110bn€ from East Germany, which almost exclusively went to Russia.
mafketis 20 | 7,341
23 Aug 2017  #203
So far the Polish government has yet to decide whether or not it starts an official request

I'm relatively sure they won't. They know that if they do the chances of actually getting any reparations are very slim and they lose reparations as a tool for exciting their perpetually aggrieved base.
Harry
23 Aug 2017  #204
I'm relatively sure they won't.

I'm completely sure they won't. Partly because they know they'll get SFA and thoroughly p*ss off a country which gives the regime a metric shedload of cash, but mostly for the same reason they aren't ever going to prosecute Walesa.
Lyzko 23 | 6,659
23 Aug 2017  #205
The initial drafting of the Basic Law of the German Federal Republic has been subject to interpretation for years, even though her Constitution differs sharply from the US-Constitution, if only in the allowance for amendments as well as the extent to which any constitution regulates which aspects of a citizen's everyday life!
delphiandomine 83 | 17,690
23 Aug 2017  #206
Have to admit I don't understand much of this.

It's all quite difficult to follow. Essentially, until 1990, there were two different views as to what the Federal Republic of Germany was legally. While the Allies believed that the Basic Law gained its legitimacy from the Allied occupation, the alternative view pushed by the FRG was that in order to be the only legitimate German state (thus making the German Democratic Republic an illegitimate state), it had to have derived its sovereignty from the German Reich.

As I understand it, when the GDR ceased to exist, the Federal Republic had no reason to need continuity with the German Reich because there were no other German states, so they quickly abandoned that stance and accepted the legal theory that the Basic Law gained legitimacy from the Allied occupation. The best I can work out is that if they had abandoned their claim to being the successor to the German Reich before unification, then the Soviets would have immediately recognised East German sovereignty, which would have formalised the division of Germany.

Where does this list of other de jure states that are eligible for accession come from?

This was the source of some discontent, as it was vague enough to mean that Austria in particular could be incorporated into the Federal Republic. However, I think the idea was that Article 23 could only be used if the other state initiated it, meaning that in practice, it would only be useful for West and East Berlin, the GDR and the Saarland. Probably the reason for "de jure" rather than "de facto" was also to stop any tricks involving parastates.

This is all really a juridical debate, that has no bearing

You're right that it has no bearing on German foreign policy, but that policy is rather out of the goodwill of Germany rather than out of any legal requirements. I dare say such subtleties are lost on PiS voters however.
Lyzko 23 | 6,659
23 Aug 2017  #207
France though was attacked when Wehrmacht soldiers marched into the Rhineland and took over the Saar (formerly French, of course) in '39, and yet we don't here the French screaming that Germany "owes" them the Saar or Alsace-Lorraine:-)

Fact is, occupied territories were returned to France when Germany surrendered in '45, same with formerly Polish lands taken over by Hitler. That in German minds, many of Poland's cities and towns retain their formerly German "colonial" names aka Danzig/Gdnansk etc. doesn't mean they want to recapture them, does it?? It's simply ludicrous, that's all!
Ironside 48 | 9,796
25 Aug 2017  #208
Ugh... Again not true.

Well. true, that document you're citing is not legally biding. Its only a declaration of an intent signed by a one person who has no authority to sign. It had been done to appease his the soviets masters. Who didn't care about legal details, but we do - don't we? If so, that document is just a worthless scrap of paper erroneously attributed with a value it clary doesn't posses.

She will, if Poland indeed seeks further reparations

In that case we need to wait and see.

Poland received one quarter of Germany's territory

That has no bearing on the issue we are talking about. After all Germany had been a recipient of a huge help from one of their conquers namely the USA.(the money allocated to Poland from the EU are just peanuts in comparison). Should we take it into the account too? In my mind both facts are not connected, has nothing to do with our debate.
jon357 63 | 14,134
25 Aug 2017  #209
Well. true, that document you're citing is not legally biding.

Hair-splitting, I-S. Any issues of reparations were settled decades ago and no amount of online sniping from those who have no say in the issue will ever change that.
NoToForeigners 6 | 1,004
25 Aug 2017  #210
@jon357
Exactly why your constant whining after PełO's defeat will never change anything.


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