“Miracle” on steroids

The post-war German ‘economic miracle’ is largely a myth. The Germans did not rise from the total ruins, did not denazify the economy or build their power solely on the basis of their own strength.

Contemporary analyzes of what happened in the Federal Republic of Germany after the end of the war and the transfer of power over the economy to a group of politicians led by Ludwig Erhard tend to focus on three simple causes of the subsequent boom: deregulation, tax reforms and the introduction of free trade. According to this story, instead of wasting their time on Nazi ideology, hard-working and well-educated Germans, living in modest circumstances and without social services, would earn one of history’s most stunning economic success stories.

Despite losing the war, Germany became the clear winner of the economic competition on the continent and thus managed to gradually dominate European politics in the following decades. Although this course of events seems unfair to many people, the German state always presents the denazification action, symbolized by the Nuremberg trials and the post-war ‘Wirtschaftswunder’, as an alibi. However, research by many historians shows the alleged miracle in an increasingly natural appearance. Facts long hidden or quietly ignored show us how hastily the world believed the story of the German nation’s conversion to the free market.

The ex-Nazi heals the brand

The deconstruction of the myth of the economic miracle should start with Ludwig Erhard himself, who in January 1948, as director of the Economic Council of Bizonia (the combined occupation zones of the US and Great Britain), implemented an effective monetary reform and a new German brand . It would soon become the strongest currency in all of Europe. Next to Konrad Adenauer, he is most often mentioned as the most important architect of post-war Germany. Against the wishes of the Allies, who introduced many trade restrictions, rigid prices and a card system after the war, Erhard decided to abolish most of these regulations and let the economy regulate itself to a greater extent than before. As Minister of Economic Affairs from 1949 to 1963, he eventually made Germany the third largest economy in the world with a powerful industry.

For years, Ludwig Erhard successfully masked his true past and presented himself as a victim of the Third Reich, whose career was hampered because of his views. The later chancellor even claimed that he belonged to the resistance movement against the Nazis. Only after his death did many researchers, who delved deeper into the archives, prove that it was very different. In 2019, the newspaper “Tageszeitung” published an article by Ulrike Hermann, which caused quite a shock because it showed Erhard as a committed Nazi and a careerist, who took full advantage of the opportunities offered by the criminal system.

Source: Do Rzeczy