Economic Crises

The introduction of the Reichsmark in 1924 ushered in a short-term revival of the economy known as the Roaring Twenties. But as early as 1928, general speculation led to isolated price collapses.
The global speculative bubble finally burst with the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange on October 25, 1929, Black Friday.

Economic Crises

The introduction of the Reichsmark in 1924 ushered in a short-term revival of the economy known as the Roaring Twenties. But as early as 1928, general speculation led to isolated price collapses.
The global speculative bubble finally burst with the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange on October 25, 1929, Black Friday.

Because American loans were now being withdrawn at short notice, industrial production in the German Reich fell by 41.8 %. This led to company collapses and mass layoffs. The Great Depression made many workers and the middle class susceptible to the promises of the anti-democratic radical parties on the political left and right: the KPD and the NSDAP, respectively.

Foto: Walter Ballhause (1911–1991). © Ballhause-Archiv
Labor office in Hanover 1930

The unemployed become increasingly receptive to the propaganda of the NSDAP, seen here on the shed on the left.

ULK, vol. 57 / n. 50, 14.12.1928, p. 394
Rationalization

“Who’s the fat guy?”
“A rationalization uncle. He wants to change our entire delicatessen production. Every sausage should get just one more zip!”

During an economic upswing in the Weimar Republic between 1924 and 1928, a “rationalization wave” gripped industry, leading to a reduction in the workforce.

Always faithful

“Now one hears uff with your deck of cards! After all, you have nothing to lose!’ ‘That’s exactly why. We’re just playing out who owes the layers!”

In the spring of 1929, when this cartoon by Duwdiwani was made, 1.9 million people were already unemployed in Germany. After the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange on October 25, 1929, Black Friday, unemployment rose to 5.6 million by 1932. The caricature shows people who literally have nothing left to lose. High unemployment enabled anti-republican radical parties on the left and right to win elections, thereby contributing to the destabilization of the democratic system.

ULK, vol. 58 / n. 15, 12.4.1929, p. 119
ULK, vol. 58 / n. 22, 31.5.1929, p. 174
Natural wonder

“Maxe, come on, the roast rabbit is ready.” “I hope he doesn’t have another mouse stuffing again!”

As a result of the renewed global economic crisis of 1929, the food situation for the population deteriorated rapidly.

Fritz Blaich: Der Schwarze Freitag. Inflation und Wirtschaftskrise. 3. Aufl. München 1994.

Thomas von Freyberg: Industrielle Rationalisierung in der Weimarer Republik. Untersuchung an Beispielen aus dem Maschinenbau und der Elektroindustrie. Frankfurt a. M./New York 1989.

Rüdiger Hachtmann: Industriearbeiterschaft und Rationalisierung 1900 bis 1945. Bemerkungen zum Forschungsstand (1996). In: Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte 1996, S. 211–258.

Heike Knortz: Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Weimarer Republik. Eine Einführung in Ökonomie und Gesellschaft der ersten Deutschen Republik. Göttingen 2010.

Hans-Walter Schmuhl: Arbeitsmarktpolitik und Arbeitsverwaltung in Deutschland 1871–2002. Zwischen Fürsorge, Hoheit und Markt (= Beiträge zur Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung 270). Nürnberg 2003.