weimar germany


That’s why Germans panic on hearing the word “inflation”

Hyperinflation during the early period of the Weimar Republic:

  • January 31, 1920: 1 US-Dollar = 42 Reichsmark (RM)
  • October 21, 1922: 1 US-Dollar = 4,439 RM
  • January 31, 1922: 1 US-Dollar = 49,000 RM
  • August 8, 1923: 1 US-Dollar = 4,860,000 RM
  • September 7, 1923: 1 US-Dollar = 53.000.000 RM
  • October 3, 1923: 1 US-Dollar = 440.000.000 RM
  • October 11, 1923: 1 US-Dollar = RM
  • October 22, 1923: 1 US-Dollar = RM
  • November 3, 1923: 1 US-Dollar = 418.950.000.000 RM
  • November 9, 1923: 1 US-Dollar = 628.500.000.000 RM
  • November 15, 1923: 1 US-Dollar = RM

People were burning the banknotes in the oven because the paper heated more than the coal they were able to buy with the money.

Bauhaus Costumes, 1920s - Scene from the Triadic Ballet, Weimar Germany. Photo by Karl Grill.

‘The essential difference between the fancy-dress balls organized by the artists of Paris, Berlin, Moscow and the ones here at the Bauhaus is that our costumes are truly original,’ [Farkas] Molnár wrote in a 1925 essay entitled ‘Life at the Bauhaus.’  (via CURBED)


November 8th 1923: Beer Hall Putsch

On this day in 1923, a group led by future German Chancellor Adolf Hitler launched an attempted takeover of the German government in Munich. Hitler, leader of the nationalist and anti-Semitic Nazi party since 1921, capitalised on public anger at the government over the humiliating terms of the Treaty of the Versailles. Many Germans, blaming this treaty for the nation’s economic woes, turned to the Nazi Party as an alternative to the Weimar government in Berlin. In November 1923, Hitler and his accomplices - including famed general Erich Ludendorff - planned to overthrow the state government of Bavaria, which would be the opening act for a larger plot to topple the Weimar Republic. They conspired to kidnap the Bavarian state commissioner, and on November 8th 1923 burst into the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall in Munich, where the commissioner was speaking, firing gunshots into the air and declaring a ‘national revolution’. However, Hitler’s followers failed to take over Munich’s government buildings, and a march to the Bavarian Defense Ministry was blocked by police. In the ensuing commotion, four police officers and sixteen Nazis were killed, and Hitler, suffering a disolated shoulder, fled the scene. Hitler was arrested on November 11th, and convicted of treason for his role in the failed coup. He was sentenced to five years in prison, though only served less then a year, during which time he wrote his autobiography Mein Kampf. The popularity of Hitler and the Nazi party greatly increased in the face of the publicity following the Beer Hall Putsch, which contributed to their electoral success ten years later.

“The national revolution has broken out. The hall is surrounded.”

Sources: http://www.history.com/topics/beer-hall-putsch, http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/modern-world-history-1918-to-1980/weimar-germany/the-beer-hall-putsch-of-1923/

Max Beckmann, The Night, 1919 (Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf).

J. M. Bernstein writes:

The cruelty of abstraction, its cutting into the flesh of sensuousness in order to enact such sensuousness, engages us on the ground of our bodily mortality, which the reigning universals eclipse as a condition for meaning. The disturbance, distress, suffering of the material surface - just that - that these canvases perform (on and to us) are a way of calling back and voicing sensuous reality in its mortal coils, of recalling or inventing an experience of depth of transcendence that hangs on nothing more than our bodily habitation of a material world in which all things pass away.