Harold Meyerson: Germany has learned from its history, but not from all of it

National Post

As the minutes tick down before Sunday’s deadline for Greece to reach an agreement with its creditors or else face bankruptcy, the Greeks and their supporters are accusing Germany, their main creditor, of hypocrisy. After all, in 1953, Germany’s creditors forgave half that nation’s debt so that the fledgling republic could recover from the war Germany had inflicted on those creditors, and thrive economically.

But Germany, which now adamantly declares that adherence to the rules of debt repayment must trump all other considerations, can rightly claim that in at least one crucial instance, it was anything but a hypocrite. As the Great Depression descended on Germany in 1930, its government — a coalition of centrist parties headed by Chancellor Heinrich Brüning — insisted on balancing its budget in order to convince its creditors (the nations to whom it was paying economically ruinous reparations as compensation for World War I) that…

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