Germany s financial collapse in the summer ofwas one of the biggest economic catastrophes of modern history It led to a global panic, brought down the international monetary system, and turned a worldwide recession into a prolonged depression The German crisis also contributed decisively to the rise of Hitler Soon after the crisis, the Nazi Party became the largest party of the country which paved the way for Hitler s eventual seizure of power in The reason for the financial collapse was Germany s large pile of foreign debt denominated in gold currency which condemned the government to cut spending, raise taxes, and lower wages in the middle of a worldwide recession As the political resistance to this austerity policy grew, the German government began to question its debt obligations, prompting foreign investors to panic and sell their German assets The resulting currency crisis led to the failure of the already weakened banking system and a partial sovereign defaultHitler managed to profit from the crisis, because he had been the most vocal critic of the reparation regime As the financial system collapsed, his populist attacks against foreign creditors and the alleged complicity of the German government resonated than ever with the electorate Sadly enough, Germany s creditors hesitated too long to take the wind out of Hitler s sails by offering debt reliefIn , Tobias Straumann reveals the story of the fatal crisis, demonstrating how a debt trap contributed to the rapid financial and political collapse of a European country, and to the rise of the Nazi Party A thoughtful examination of the German Debt Crisis of 1931Most people know a little about the hyper inflation that led to the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Hitler This book provides an in depth look at the debt issues that propelled the crisis He does a fine job of explaining the difficulties that theGerman statesmen and economists faced The book provides food for thought about the current economic situation. Very good description of the financial crisis of 1931, describing all the elements that contributed to it As with other books on the two World Wars, one gets a sense of inevitability that is quite depressing Important reading, especially when we try to recover from the 2008 crisis, while waiting for the next one. Tobias Straumann s 1931 Debt, Crisis, and the Rise of Hitler is a fascinating and highly accessible account of the role that unsustainable debt, crushing austerity, and political deadlock, played in both the discrediting of the establishment parties of the right and left who had hitched their proverbial wagons to that austerity and of the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party which filled the political void that they vacated We like to think that we re behind such dark periods in history, bu Tobias Straumann s 1931 Debt, Crisis, and the Rise of Hitler is a fascinating and highly accessible account of the role that unsustainable debt, crushing austerity, and political deadlock, played in both the discrediting of the establishment parties of the right and left who had hitched their proverbial wagons to that austerity and of the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party which filled the political void that they vacated We like to think that we re behind such dark periods in history, but if the EU sovereign debt crisis taught us anything, its that the European establishment political and financial elites of our day still haven t learned the lessons that led to the downfall of the liberal German republic Reading this book I couldn t help but remember the famous aphorism that while history doesn t repeat itself, it often rhymes It is not sufficient to have good intentions and appeal to the spirit of cooperation Nor is it wise to agree on global rules that are not enforceable and then hail them as breakthroughs just because diplomats and politicians are reluctant to return empty handed after several rounds of contentious and exhausting negotiations These are the closing lines of the book I am about to discuss here and in my opinion it almost perfectly sums up the whole book in two sentences This book, as the title It is not sufficient to have good intentions and appeal to the spirit of cooperation Nor is it wise to agree on global rules that are not enforceable and then hail them as breakthroughs just because diplomats and politicians are reluctant to return empty handed after several rounds of contentious and exhausting negotiations These are the closing lines of the book I am about to discuss here and in my opinion it almost perfectly sums up the whole book in two sentences This book, as the title so correctly mentions, is about what actually happened before the economic crisis of Germany in 1931, a crisis that not only hit germany, it reverberated across the world This crisis would eventually give Hitler the push that he needed to go on to become the authoritarian leader that he was The crisis that hit Germany immediately after the first world war, revolved mainly around the huge amount of war reparations that it had to pay to the allied nations under the treaty of Versailles The government in Germany initially suffered from a lack of good leadership Eventually though the government did put its act together, it still struggled to get enough money together to properly pay the reparations under the Weimar government Germany had been struggling since the early 1920s but it all came to a head as 1930 and 1931 approached The book shows the struggle of the German leadership trying to put austerity measures, collecting huge amounts of taxes from the already struggling German people and at the same time making blunders along the way, especially as far as keeping up friendly and meaningful diplomatic relations is concerned The book tries to show what the German government did during the last days of the crisis as the stock market fell, as they struggled to pay the employees, as the banks slowly started closing and failing It also showed the response of the other government in relation to the German crisis, namely Britain, France and the United States The main point that the book tries to highlight is that the actions of individuals have the power to change the road that nations eventually take It also tries to highlight the diplomatic failures, failures that can only be seen with the wise eye of hindsight The people participating at the moment, however, somehow fail to see the obvious problems in their actions and convictions The problem, however, of this book, for me, was that while it showed the sequence of events during the one and a half year or so of history it showcases, it did not provide enough analysis of the events which went against what I thought the book would cover when I picked it up I appreciated the book s fluid description of the events that preceded one of the biggest financial crises in the world but as I mentioned before the analysis part kind of threw me off Also, the book fails to show in detail the rise of Hitler lightly brushing past it To be honest, I am willing to read adetailed version of the book Maybe I should look for one by another author The book gets a mere 3 out 5 stars from me and I would recommend it to anyone who would just like to get lite details about the crisis and not much into heavy reading I had always bucketed German economic malaise distress that lead into the war fervor with hyperinflation 34 Straumann masterfully paints the slow burn into banking crises of 1931 Eye opening, with flashes of the recent European crises Very much worth a read for any lover of economic business history, or has an interest in the political machinations of trade finance based power politics. While I found this book both illuminating and persuasive, I cannot help but feel that the play by play style that the author relies on doesto complicate things than it clears up The minute details of the financial discussions tend to run together, at a certain point. Astonishing I just tell you that a book that mention Felix Somary is a book that it s a must read.