Weimar Germany: Hyperinflation Edexcel History 2A

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Key Features

  • Inflation - price of things going up due to shortage of money.
  • Government income was 1/4 of what was required, so they printed more money.
  • They had 300 paper mills and 2000 printing shops just to print more money.
  • Currency was now worthless.
  • In 1918, £1 cost 20 German marks. In 1923, £1 cost 20 billion marks.
  • Some even used money as fuel, because it was cheaper.
  • The more prices rose, the more money was printed, resulting in prices going up again.
  • In 1918, one loaf of bread cost 1 mark. In 1922, it cost 200 marks. In 1923, it cost 10 billion marks.
  • Germans had to carry a wheelbarrow of paper money just to buy a loaf of bread.
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Consequences

  • Foreign supplies refused to accept marks for goods, knowing it was worthless, so imports dried up and there were shortages of food and other goods.
  • People began bartering - trading items instead of money.
  • Savings, pensions and insurance policies became worthless, which mainly affected the middle class.
  • There was a lot less confidence in the government - people turned to extremist parties and there were political uprisings.
  • There were some benifits for some- one man borrowed money for a herd of cattle, then paid back his loan by selling one cow, making huge profit.
  • Wages were safe; they were re-negotiated each day.
  • Uprisings: -A nationalist grous called the Black Reichswehr rebelled in Berlin.
                     -Comunists took over the gpovernment of Saxony and Thuring, as well as the Rhineland, declaring it independent.
                     -The Nazis carried out the Munich Putsch.
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