Learning from Weimar? 1931 and 2008

For obvious reasons, the comparison of the current financial crisis with the Great Depression has become a staple in public debate. Especially the economic development of the Weimar Republic has been used as an example and ‘worst case scenario’, from the 1923 hyperinflation to Brüning’s deflationary politics of the 1930s.

Now historians are starting to add much-needed expertise to the discussion. The first lesson is that, in the German case, the significant year was 1931 – and not 1929. In their new comparative study, Johannes Bähr and Bernd Rudolph find more differences than similarities between the two crises. With this, they confirm Albrecht Ritschl’s findings, who came to the same conclusion in an early overview already published in 2009.

Johannes Bähr, Bern Rudolph: Finanzkrisen: 1931, 2008 (>> review, in German)

Albrecht Ritschl: War 2008 das neue 1931? (in German)

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