Currency Bill –
Country of Origin: Germany
Amount: 20,000 Mark
A Little History of Germany in 1923….
The Crisis of 1923 in Germany was definitely one of the highest hyperinflations experienced in history. The story of Germany’s hyperinflation has always been one of the fascinating ones for me to study. People carried money in suitcases. Prices would fluctuate so quickly that caused people to run to stores to buy whatever they can before banknotes lost value. From January 1923- November 1923, the price of a loaf of bread increased drastically from 250 marks to 200,000 million marks. Wages were paid more frequently than ever, from once every day to eventually three times a day. There are so many side stories that I learned in my economics class in college and it’s always astonishing to hear how quickly German currency lost value. A story about a woman who carried a wagon of money to the store to buy things. When she got to the store, she was robbed. The thief threw all her money on the road and took the wagon instead because the wagon was worth more than the pile money she had in it. Another story tells of a man sitting in a coffee shop where he ordered a cup of coffee. After reading the newspaper and finishing his first cup, he wanted to order a second cup of coffee, but the price has risen (I don’t remember exactly by how much but I believed it doubled in price or at least increased by quite a lot). Men would work in factories and get paid everyday, and every time they got paid, their wives and children would be waiting for them in front of the factories so they could give their family the money to buy as much things as they could before the money lost value. Money became worthless and people started buying things and traded in mark they had for tangible items needed. Shoes cost billions of dollars and an egg cost millions. Things became scarce and German people during the early 1920s experienced one of the worst economic crisis in history.
Imagine yourself as a lender of money during this time period, you would be extremely angry when the value of money dropped so much. The 500 mark you lent your friend last year could no longer get you anything. But as there are many people who suffered in this crisis, there are some people who benefit from it. Now imagine yourself who borrowed money from your friend last year, it would be a breeze for you to pay off your loans and debts. Nonetheless, it was definitely a chaotic situation where menus changed prices constantly and people were paid more frequently than ever. Everyone had one objective in mind which was to spend the money as fast as they could. This economic crisis went on until 1924 when the Dawes Act were enacted with the intention to change the policies on war reparations levied on Germany. Hyperinflation happened in many countries throughout history but what happened in Germany was definitely one of the worst hyperinflation that eventually led to many events that followed in the years after 1924.
BBC. “BBC – GCSE Bitesize – Weimar – Crisis of 1923.” BBC News. BBC, n/a. Web. 23 Dec. 2016. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/germany/crisis1923rev4.shtml>.
Goodman, George J.W. “The German Hyperinflation, 1923.” PBS. PBS, 1981. Web. 23 Dec. 2016. <https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/shared/minitextlo/ess_germanhyperinflation.html>.