I’ve listened to a podcast about how Germany rise up from a wasteland after the World War II. It’s was an interesting analysis. Germany lost the war of course. After the war, Reichsmark, the currency used during the Hitler era, become worthless. The German couldn’t buy anything with their money.
Many people from the city held useless currency and procession but were lack of food. Farmers from the rural areas held the most valuable resources: crops and produce. So the city people have begun to exchange their processions for food. But there is a problem, there was no trustable currency.
At the time, the U.S. has opened some kind of exchange places in Germany to distribute basic commodity. People found that the U.S. cigarette was a perfect medium of exchange. It is unique because the factories in Germany were destroyed and no one can mass produce fake U.S. cigarette. It is light to carry and easily divisible. So it has become a popular “currency” for a short period of time. Until Deutsche Mark replaced the Reichsmark in 1948.
Although Germany was disarmament, demilitarization, de-nazification and democratization(a.k.a The 4 ‘D’s of the Potsdam Agreement, 1945). The engineering and business knowledge are still in peoples’ guts. These knowledges has become the building blocks of reconstructing German’s economy. Soon after the new currency was introduced, the German started trading and doing business again. With loosened trading policy and a free market, German’s economy rose quickly. In 1957, Germany has become one of the founding nation of European Economic Community.
I like the metaphor used in the podcast. Germany was like a good boxer. She was beat down and lost in the World War II. But her muscles and the fighting skill were still there. That’s why she could stand up so quickly after losing the war.
History is interesting. I wish I can read and listen more of different history and share with you in the future. Let’s stop here today.
Good night New York!