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How Much Can a Victor Force the Vanquished to Pay? France under the Nazi Boot



Occupation charges paid by France to Nazi Germany represent one of the largest international transfers and contributed significantly to the German war effort. We employ a neoclassical growth model that incorporates essential features of the occupied economy to assess the welfare costs of the policies that managed the payments to Germany. Our lower bound estimates show that occupation payments required a severe cut in consumption. A draft of labor to Germany and a reduction of real wages added to this burden. Management of the accumulated domestic debt required large budget surpluses; but post-Liberation inflation slashed the real debt.

“Ils ne nous ont rien enlevé de vive force; ils ont toujours tout acheté correctement; mais ils nous ont tout payé avec de l'argent qu'ils nous avaient volé.”1



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