• Hyperinflation in Germany 1918-1923

      Hyperinflation in Germany 1918-1923

      When the World War I ended, Germany was ordered to pay 132 billion marks in reparations for countries, affected by war. This was one of factors, that caused hyperinflation in the country. Prices of food and goods reached heights, that were never seen before. For example, by the end of 1923, the price of a loaf of bread was 200 billion marks. Another reason for this financial situation, was that Germans truly believed in victory in war and that after the war, country will occupy rich territories of foreign countries and will cover war damages and loans. Obviously, as we know now, Germany lost the war and by Treaty of Versailles was ordered to pay enormous aforementioned reparations.
      German government came up with idea to print more money, however, this plan didn't work out, too much money was in circulation and it caused the money to value. By the end of 1923, the worth of 1 US dollar, was 4,2 trillion marks (4,210,500,000,000). There was no shortage of goods to buy, just not enough money to buy them. The situation grew so bad, that for a time it was more expensive to print banknotes, than banknotes itself were worth. Companies started to pay workers couple times a day, people would bring bags to work, to stuff money in and rushed to the nearest store to spend them, before prices raised again. Eventually, various goods, food, clothes and other things replaced paper money as wages.
      German government managed to stabilize situation by the end of 1923, when the new currency – reichsmark was introduced.

      In this virtual exhibition, a viewer can see some examples of banknotes used in Germany, ranging from 100 thousand to 50 billion marks.

Objects of the exhibition

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