Fifty Years of the Deutsche Mark: Central Bank and the Currency in Germany since 1948

Fifty Years of the Deutsche Mark: Central Bank and the Currency in Germany since 1948

Fifty Years of the Deutsche Mark: Central Bank and the Currency in Germany since 1948

Fifty Years of the Deutsche Mark: Central Bank and the Currency in Germany since 1948


This book provides detailed independent analyses of the successes and limitations of one of the most successful economic relationships in recent history: the Deutsche Mark and the Deutsche Bundesbank. With European economic and monetary union approaching, the lessons to be learnt from the German experience are now more important than ever. The Deutsche Mark has been one of the most stable currencies in the world for decades. The combination of a sound monetary structure and an anti-inflationary monetary policy have been the bedrock for unprecedented German economic success. This success, however, has not been unlimited or without risk. Fifty Years of the Deutsche Mark will give future European montary policy-makers the invaluable benefit of the German experience. The book combines chronological articles with others which follow the developments of a specific issue over the entire 50-year period. Issues covered include the central bank constitution, the central bank's relationship with fiscal policy-makers and with other banks, the role of the Bundesbank in European monetary integration, and the international significance of the Deutsche Mark. Individual accounts of the key monetary policy events in 1948 and 1990 as well as general articles on the `message' of German monetary policy and on academic deabte over German monetary policy round the book off. Sixteen eminent independent scholars were asked by the Bundesbank to contribute to this volume, and given full access to the Bank's records. The resulting articles provide comprehensive analysis of the successes and limitations of Europe's most powerful central bank. On June 20th, 1998, the Deutsche Mark will be 50 years old: this book will ensure that its legacy lives on.


20 June 1948 marks one of the most important dates in the history of German currency.

At that time -- the circumstances could hardly have been less auspicious -- the First Act Restructuring the Monetary System (Currency Act), passed as part of the legislation of the Allied occupying powers, laid down the legal basis for the new currency. Now, the name Deutsche Mark is just as inseparably linked with reconstruction and prosperity as it is with the high degree of social stability our country enjoys. The present year has seen the fiftieth anniversary of the introduction of the D-mark.

The introduction of the D-mark as a new and the sole legal tender was preceded in March of the same year by the establishment of the Bank deutscher Länder; since 1957, its legal successor, the Deutsche Bundesbank, has been discharging the monetary policy making duties assigned to it by parliament.

The Deutsche Bundesbank, the central bank of the Federal Republic of Germany, is taking the opportunity presented by this anniversary to introduce this book, Fifty Years of the Deutsche Mark. Central Bank and the Currency in Germany since 1948, to the general public. The Bundesbank is thereby not merely continuing a tradition of marking such occasions, but is also accounting for its deeds and actions in the area of sovereign authority assigned to it in accordance with its conception of itself as an integral part of the overall constitutional order of a pluralistic and democratic community.

Such retrospection is probably especially appropriate at a time when the preparations for final entry into European economic and monetary union, as agreed upon in 1992 under the Maastricht Treaty, are at the forefront of current debate and upcoming decisions. Historical experience in the monetary sector, however much it may be conditioned by its own time, is still a major source of findings for the present and future as well.

This book is the outcome of joint efforts by many people; thanking them and paying tribute to their achievements is both a duty and a pleasure for me. This applies first and foremost to the authors, whose individual contributions enabled them to leave their specific mark on this book. The design and structure of the book, as well as the overall organization, were the special responsibility of Professor Otmar Issing, sometime Member of the Directorate of the Deutsche Bundesbank.

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