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Is Post Wwii Germany A Good Embodiment Of Economic And Social Success?

1664 words - 7 pages

Germany is a country with a long history. It has experienced ups and downs, successes and fails. But the most famous part of its history is the development after Second World War. Germany of this period is famous for its persistence and the strong sense of purpose. Most of the good qualities of German nation were demonstrated during the process of economic and social recovery after Second World War. At that time, the country had to overcome the biggest economic and social gap. Even though Germany was probably in the worst condition ever, Germans didn’t surrender. Once Otto von Bismarck said, “An appeal to fear, never finds echo in German hearts”. For Germany, the war resulted in eight ...view middle of the document...

What was worsening the German situation even more was the fact that the allies took all of the lands that could provide this nation with agricultural products. Apparently, the allies tried to prevent German economy from becoming predominant over Europe. Hans Joachim Braun once indicated: “Her economy was to concentrate on the internal demand and not to play a large role on the world market”(148).
Secondly, after the war, Germany experienced a disastrous economic halt. The country literally caught an economic impotence. Apparently, it was partially caused by the Morgenthau’s memorandum. But in general, the reasons for that was lack of trade partners, insufficient human potential, weak political influence. The connections that were previously established lost any sense because of the governmental change in Germany. What’s more, a large number of working age men died either during the war or in concentration camps. Accompanied by the lack of work force, German citizens experienced a huge reduction in their nutrition. According to the work of David R. Henderson, “Food production per capita in 1947 was only 51 percent of its level in 1938, and the official food ration set by the occupying powers varied between 1,040 and 1,550 calories per day (econlib.org). The deficit, sometimes, was so high that German authorities had to put tiny slices of paper into bread in order to make it more nutritious.
However, first steps towards German economic miracle were taken very quickly, right after Ludwig Erhard became new economics minister of newly proclaimed Federal Republic of Germany. Since the allies didn’t want to see any pro-Nazi ruling the country, German society experienced external pressure and looked for the most reliable candidate. The man that fitted at most was Ludwig Erhard, former director of the economic council of the Anglo-US occupation zone. He started his campaign dealing with the current needs of Germans. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Erhard began his career with reforming the monetary sector. In particular, Erhard substituted “Reichsmarks” by new and recognized “Deutsche Mark”. According to analysts, this change ensured partners that Germany is pursuing a peaceful reconstruction of their country rather then a new war. In addition to this, new economics minister abolished restrictions on the daily ration of an average German citizen. Generally, these essential changes encouraged German citizens to believe that the bright future is close. Also, Erhard applied his “social market system” that is today recognized as the beginning of the so-called “Wirtschaftswunder”(eng. Economic Miracle). This is how German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy defines the social market system:” The central idea of the social market economy is to protect the freedom of all market participants on both the supply and demand side, while simultaneously ensuring social equity”. So, the basic idea of social market economy was such that salaries...

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