I saw on a TV show that the West Germany, during the Cold War, faced an explosion of Reichmarks which became inflation. The Americans were making the Marshall plan in favour of West Germany.

During the 1940s, before the Berlin blocus, a policy was decided: it changes every Reichmarks a German people has into 60 Deutchmarks. I have two questions related to that:

  • Considering that no computers existed, and that administration might not have been very developed, how did they ensure that one person did not exchange 1 000 reichmarks as 2 * 500 deutchmarks?
  • For people who won't cheat, it must have been a devastating measure, and I think people should have felt that decision as an unfair measure?
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    I think you may have misunderstood what was said in the programme. Does the Wikipedia article on the introduction of the Deutsche Mark help? – sempaiscuba Dec 22 '19 at 18:34
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    Additionally to the first comment (misunderstanding of 'all RM one had to 60'—that would mean no change whatsoever, just everyone starting fresh with 60): I do not understand your use of "supported". Do you mean logistically ("computers") & administratively? Or the 2nd bullet: 'how much did people (dis-)like the switch and supported or opposed it? – LаngLаngС Dec 23 '19 at 9:32

The initial sum was paid out against the ration card of each person in 2 installments (21st June 1948: DM 40 and 2 months later 20).

All cash had to paid into a special account by the 26th June 1948 (Reichsbank-Abwicklungskonto). RM 600 was reducted as the payment of the DM 60.

Eventually the remaining sum was made available at a rate of RM 10:0.65 DM.

Die neue Währung wurde an den Ausgabestellen für die Lebensmittelmarken ausgegeben. Pro Person wurde nur ein so genanntes „Kopfgeld“ von 60 DM ausgezahlt; 40 DM sofort und weitere 20 DM zwei Monate später. Ferner erhielten Unternehmen auf Antrag bei ihrer Bank pro Angestellten einen so genannten „Geschäftsbetrag“ von 60 DM. Der „Geschäftsbetrag“ und das „Kopfgeld“ wurden später bei der Umstellung des Barvermögens angerechnet.

The new currency was issued at the ration card issuing offices. Only a so-called “bounty” of DM 60 was paid per person; DM 40 immediately and another DM 20 two months later. Companies also received a so-called “business amount” of DM 60 per employee on request from their bank. The “business amount” and “bounty” were later taken into account when the cash assets were converted.


  • Deutsche Mark (in German)
    • Quoted text not contained in English version

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