Few economic events have had a more profound or enduring impact than the German hyperinflation of 1923, still remembered popularly as a root cause of Hitler's rise to power. Yet in recent years many historians have argued that inflationary policies were, on balance, advantageous to post-1918 Germany, both boosting growth and helping to reduce reparations. The scholarly consensus is that there was no viable alternative to inflation. In Paper and Iron Niall Ferguson takes a different view. He argues that inflation was indeed an economic and political disaster, and further that there were alternative economic policies which 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 which went back as far as the 1890s and which persisted beyond 1918. The book therefore reveals the Wilhelmine origins of Weimar's failure, as well as casting new light on the origins of the Third Reich.
'... meticulously researched and closely argued ... Ferguson performs some admirable detective work in reconstructing the emergence and transmission of a revisionist argument ... a brilliant and evocative analysis ...' Christopher Clark, The Times Literary Supplement