From the Reichsbank to the Bundesbank (1920es - 1970s)


This IfZ project, in cooperation with the London School of Economics, investigates the history of the Reichsbank, the Bank deutscher Länder (Bank of German States), and the Deutsche Bundesbank from 1923 to 1969. The study focuses on issues involving economic, social, and cultural history. The project heads are Magnus Brechtken at the IfZ and Albrecht Ritschl at the London School of Economics. The study spans from 1923/24, which saw the stabilization of the new currency following the hyperinflation era and the beginning of Hjalmar Schacht’s tenure as president of the Reichsbank, and 1969, when Karl Blessing, once a member of Schacht’s inner circle, left office as president of the Deutsche Bundesbank.

The research project is planned for three and a half years and is subdivided into two segments with four subprojects each. The first segment focuses on the biographies of the first president of the Bundesbank, Wilhelm Vocke, and his successor, Karl Blessing, as well as a group biography of the leading figures at the early Bundesbank. Within the framework of a country study on occupied Poland, moreover, the project will investigate the role of the Reichsbank as an actor in the war of conquest. The second segment will focus on institutional self-image as well as the political areas of activity at the central banks in Germany between 1924 and 1969. It will also illuminate the gold and currency transactions of the Reichsbank in the “Third Reich”. Further subprojects are dedicated to monetary policy as exploitation policy (within the framework of a study on Western Europe between 1940 and 1944) as well as the participation of the Reichsbank in the financial exploitation of Greece between 1941 and 1943.


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