The recovery of the West German economy since World War II reversed the stark pessimism with which the economic prospects of the country used to be judged in the early postwar years. The changes were very great indeed. By and large the improvements were greater than those of the recovery following World War I. That recovery did not quite live up to some of the extravagant expectations that had been held out for it at the end of the war. It seems that the fears and doubts of the late 1940's and early 1950's helped to give the economic recovery of Germany a careful nursing, while the optimism of the 1920's allowed the earlier recovery to be treated with less care and consideration.
The recovery years from 1919 to 1928 and from 1946 to 1958, respectively, have been divided into a period of readjustment and a period of fresh deployment of the economy, with the years of monetary reform, 1928 and 1948, forming the dividing line. Many of the foundations for the prosperity of the deployment periods were laid in the times of readjustment, when similar problems were met in very different ways, and some very different problems were encountered besides. In the prosperous times that followed, the economies of the Weimar Republic and the Federal Republic grew and sought their internal and external balance in ways that were similar in some respects and different in others.
Considering the two periods as a whole, we find that the recovery after World War II was far more vigorous in industry and somewhat more vigorous in food production -- the difference between "far more" and "somewhat more" reflecting partly the circumstance that after War II industry started from a much lower relative level than after War I, while food production, at