Category Archives: Economics

Adam Tooze: Remaking of Global Order, 1916-31

delugeAdam Tooze’s The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of Global Order, 1916-1931 has been included in the Financial Time‘s Books of 2014: ‘Tooze’s book […] possesses the virtue of analysing the 1920s not as a prelude to the Great Depression, the rise of the dictators and another global conflict, but as a decade worthy of study in its own right.’

Financial Times
The Guardian
Foreign Affairs


Journal Review: Journal of Modern European History 3/13

cover-mediumIn the current issue of the Journal of Modern European History, Dominik Geppert, Harold James, Hans Kundnani, Jakob Tanner, Peer Vries and Andreas Wirsching are analyzing ‘The European Debt Crisis in Historical Perspectives’. Weimar hyperinflation and the Great Depression of course feature heavily in these articles.

Journal Review: Mittelweg 36, 3/13

mittelweg36-KopieThe current issue of Mittelweg 36, the journal published by the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, features an insightful article on the reception of Keynes’ work in the Weimar Republic:

Roman Köster: Vor der Krise. Die Keynes-Rezeption in der Weimarer Republik:

Continue reading

British obsession with German history

201311The financial crisis, and Germany’s subsequent role as a reluctant ‘saviour of the eurozone’, has  given rise to a renewed discussion of the country’s historical role in Europe. In the UK, this debate has borne especially strange fruit. At the beginning of the crisis, the supposed ‘national trauma’ of the Weimar hyperinflation has been used to explain Germany’s alleged reluctance to enter a more active role. Now the tone has changed to a fear of a too powerful Germany: the Daily Mail recently predicted another war started by Germany, while the cover of the current edition of the New Statesman talks of a ‘German problem’, depicting Angela Merkel and Helmut Kohl alongside Bismarck and Hitler. In the accompanying article, historian Brendan Simms describes the long way towards German democracy, all the way from the 15th century, but goes on to argue that  it only took the last five years to put it all in danger again.

Early Analysis of Weimar’s Collapse

429px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1990-080-26A,_Moritz_Julius_BonnOne of our members, Emma Anderson, has found this fascinating analysis of Germany’s political situation at the dawn of the Third Reich. The author, Moritz Julius Bonn, was an internationally respected Jewish economist who had to leave Germany in 1933. It’s available for free download from the archive of The Political Quarterly.

Moritz Julius Bonn: ‘The Political Situation in Germany’, The Political Quarterly, 4 (1933), pp. 44-57

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)

A new approach to Weimar?

In the new Oxford Handbook of Modern German History the Weimar Republic is not treated as a discrete era, but is incorporated into longer periods from the Kaiserreich to the Third Reich. This certainly helps to highlight continuities, but is this a step back to treating Weimar merely as a ‘transition period’ (Übergangszeit)? Continue reading