Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation, 1897-1927

Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation, 1897-1927

by Niall Ferguson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521470161

ISBN-13: 9780521470162

Pub. Date: 03/28/2007

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Few economic events have had a more profound or enduring impact than the German hyperinflation of 1923, still remembered popularly as a root cause of Hitler's rise to power. Yet in recent years many historians have argued that inflationary policies were, on balance, advantageous to post-1918 Germany, both boosting growth and helping to reduce reparations. The…  See more details below

Overview

Few economic events have had a more profound or enduring impact than the German hyperinflation of 1923, still remembered popularly as a root cause of Hitler's rise to power. Yet in recent years many historians have argued that inflationary policies were, on balance, advantageous to post-1918 Germany, both boosting growth and helping to reduce reparations. The scholarly consensus is that there was no viable alternative to inflation. In Paper and iron Niall Ferguson takes a different view. Focusing on the influential Hamburg business community, he exposes the flaws in the contemporary justifications for inflationary policies. The inflation, he argues, did severe damage to the German economy by eroding the foundations of bourgeois society and discrediting Weimar's welfare state. Above all, it did nothing whatever to reduce reparations. Alternative policies might in fact have stabilised the German currency in 1920. To explain why such policies were not adopted, the author points to long-term defects in the political economy of the Reich. He suggests that there was a thirty-year 'era of inflation' after 1897 in which the inadequacy of the Reich's fiscal and monetary institutions allowed economic interest groups to wield excessive power. This internal imbalance of power was reversed only in the 1930s. Thus Paper and iron reveals not only the Wilhelmine origins of Weimar's failure; it also casts new light upon the origins of the Third Reich.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521470162
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
03/28/2007
Pages:
556
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of figures
Preface
List of abbreviations
Introduction1
1Golden years31
2The sinews of war93
3The political economy of revolution152
4Versailles and Hamburg198
5Relative stabilisation269
6The failure of 'fulfilment'310
7Dissolution and liquidation364
8The legacy of the inflation408
Epilogue: Hitler's inflation463
Appendix477
Bibliography479
Index528

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