goodreads.com 2013 The Downfall of Money: Germany’s Hyperinflation and the Destruction of the Middle Class
by Frederick Taylor
A hundred years ago, many theorists believed-just as they did at the beginning of our twenty-first century-that the world had reached a state of economic perfection, a never before seen human interdependence that would lead to universal growth and prosperity. Then, as now, the German mark was one of the most trusted currencies in the world. Yet the early years of the Weimar Republic in Germany witnessed the most calamitous meltdown of a developed economy in modern times. The Downfall of Money will tell anew the dramatic story of the hyperinflation that saw the mark-worth 4.2 to the dollar in 1914-plunge until it traded at over 4 trillion to 1 by the autumn of 1923.
The story of the Weimar Republic’s financial crisis clearly resonates today, when the world is again anxious about what money is, what it means, and how we can judge if its value is true. It is a trajectory of events uncomfortably relevant for our own uncertain world.
Frederick Taylor-one of the leading historians of Germany writing today- explores the causes of the crisis and what the collapse meant to ordinary people and traces its connection to the dark decades that followed. Drawing on a wide range of sources and accessibly presenting vast amounts of research, The Downfall of Money is a timely and chilling exploration of a haunting episode in history.
“Firm and rightly grounded in its own time and place, The Downfall of Money nonetheless resonates in our own.” ―The Washington Times
“One of the brightest historians writing today.” ―Newsweek
“Taylor (Dresden) adds to a solid body of work on 20th-century Germany with this chilling account of the human face of hyperinflation in the 1920s Weimar Republic.” ―Publisher’s Weekly
“Excellent . . . By skillfully weaving together economic history with political narrative and drawing on sources from everyday life as well as the inner cabinet of diplomacy, Mr. Taylor tells the history of the Weimar inflation as the life-and-death struggle of the first German democracy . . . This is a dramatic story, well told.” ―Adam Tooze, Wall Street Journal
“A well-organized, fast-moving political narrative . . . Taylor’s history provides plenty of revelant lessons for today–and not only for Europe.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Exorcising Hitler has . . . colorful anecdotes and harrowing recollections, an omnivorous intelligence and wide reading in the scholarly literature.” ―New York Times on Exorcising Hitler
“Important . . . very commendable . . . fills an important gap in German history in English.” ―Wall Street Journal on Exorcising Hitler
theguardian.com 2013 The Downfall of Money: Germany’s Hyperinflation and the Destruction of the Middle Class by Frederick Taylor – review
A powerful account of a frightening episode in European history
The central question of Taylor‘s history of Weimar Germany is what happens when we lose confidence in our money? It’s one he believes still resonates today, as Europe grapples with a crisis that is both economic and to do with identity: “hard-edged nationalism is back in fashion”. Ninety years ago Germany was spending money it didn’t have. Now it’s Germany that has the strongest economy, but Taylor argues that its attitude to the crisis is conditioned by the experience of inflation from 1914 to 1924. Weaving together economic history with that of ordinary people, he shows how “the downfall of money proved to augur the downfall of all”. A dollar was worth five marks at the end of the war but by November 1923 it was worth 2.2520 trillion marks. A Guardian correspondent had to pay 24bn marks just for alterations to her clothes. Hyperinflation, “that dark, febrile carnival of the German mark”, prepared the ground for the failure of the first German democracy and the rise of Hitler. But the “sense of trauma” haunts Germany even today. A powerful account of a frightening episode in European history.
wsj.com 2013 Book Review by Adam Tooze – ‘The Downfall of Money’ by Frederick Taylor
What doomed the first German democracy was not inflation, but deflation after the 1929 crash.
spiegel.de 8/2021 »Die Inflationsangst hat die deutsche Seele stärker geprägt als der Zweite Weltkrieg«
Steigende Preise? Für viele ein Graus. Forscher Frederick Taylor hingegen sagt: Geldentwertung war in der Geschichte manchmal heilsam. »Die Deutschen sollten sich beim Thema Inflation endlich mal entspannen.«
Ein Interview von Michael Brächer
see also : search “inflation”