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Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation, 1897-1927 Paperback – November 7, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0521894227 ISBN-10: 0521894220
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Editorial Reviews


"...Ferguson makes a valuable contribution to the historiography of German inflation....a valuable reassessment of long-term inflationary pressures in German history." The Historian

"This thoroughly researched and well-written study is a sophisticated substantiation of earlier analyses that pointed out the destructive effects of hyperinflation on Germany." Choice

"This superb work offers revisions of a good deal of previous scholarship on Germany in the late Wilhelminian and the Weimar eras. Future studies of German history in this crucial period will have to take Paper and Iron into account." Michael Richards, German Life

"Niall Ferguson makes a valuable contribution to the historiography of German inflation by recasting the history of the inflation of the early 1920s...This book serves as a useful model for analysis of the relationships between different levels of government. Moving between the world of Hamburg's upper bourgeoisie and the German central government, Paper and Iron provides a valuable reassessment of long-term inflationary pressures in German history." The Historian

"This stimulating and elegantly conceived book skillfully links three major themes-the history of German finance, an analysis of the role of Hamburg in German ,political and economic life, and an examination of Max Warburg, the great Hamburg banker, and of his central role in German financial decision making in the early 1920's." Harold James, Journal of Interdisciplianry History

"There is little doubt that for years to come Paper and Iron will remain one of the most important contributions to the existing body of literature on the economic and political history of the German inflation." Larry Eugene Jones,German Studies Review

"Ferguson's counterfactual produces powerful insights that deserve careful consideration and further investigation..." Gerald D. Feldman, Central European History

"This well-written, imaginative, and lively account, the author's first book, desrves scrutiny by every serious student of Weimar's business, political, and financial history." Elisabeth Glaser, Business History Review

"...a new perpective on one of Germany's major economic centers during the pre-war and Weimar eras." Rebecca S. Fahrlander, The European Studies Journal

Book Description

Few economic events have had the impact of German hyperinflation in 1923, still remembered as a root cause of Hitler's rise to power; yet in recent years historians have defended the inflationary policies adopted after 1918. Niall Ferguson takes a different view. He argues that inflation was an economic and political disaster, and that alternative economic policies could have stabilised the German currency in 1920. To explain why these were not adopted he points to long-term defects in the political institutions of the Reich from the 1890s. The book therefore not only reveals the Wilhelmine origins of Weimar's failure: it also casts new light on the origins of the Third Reich.

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Product Details

  • Series: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation
  • Paperback: 556 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (November 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521894220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521894227
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,753,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Niall Ferguson is one of our most renowned historians. He is the bestselling author of numerous books, including The War of the World, Colossus, and Empire.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Neil Ferguson's first book is a provocative, erudite treatise that challenges much of the more recent writing on Germany's great inflation. Following Carl-Ludwig Holtferich's pathbreaking work, a consensus had begun to emerge that sees the mark's fall as part of a successful strategy that maintained employment and helped in the recovery of the German economy from WWI, thus giving a crucial boost to the stabilization of the young republic. The rewards of moderate inflation during the immediate post-war period were, according to this view, not confined to the Reich alone - German demand for American manufactures, for example, provided a significant countercyclical stimulus to the U.S. economy during the downturn of the early 1920s. Ferguson's strongest point is that this sideeffect of Germany's inflation undermined one of the main policy aims after 1919 - the revision of the Versailles treaty. According to the architects of 'fulfillment', the inflation would lead to an export boom as the mark's value on the foreign exchanges collapsed faster than in Germany itself. Hence, the Allies would realize that they would ultimately have to pay for German reparations through unemployment at home. Instead, because loose monetary policy caused a boom in the Reich at the very time when other industrialized countries went into recession, the trade balance degenerated as imports surged and exports languished in depressed foreign markets. Ferguson thus exposes an important inconsistency in the inflationary strategy - but it is one that only the benefit of hindsight reveals.Read more ›
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Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation, 1897-1927
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