GHDI logo

Extracts from the British Military Government Law No. 61: First Law for Monetary Reform [Currency Law] (June 20, 1948)

The monetary reform agreed upon by the three Western powers for their zones in June 1948 is considered a milestone on the path to West Germany’s economic recovery. Inflation triggered by the war had rendered the Reichsmark worthless, and it was now replaced by the Deutsche Mark (DM). Black marketeering and the barter economy quickly gave way to an orderly economic life with a substantially improved range of available goods. Since every West German, independent of his cash assets, was paid a maximum of 60 DM in two installments, the currency reform favored those who owned stocks and material assets (houses, businesses, valuable art, etc.) and depreciated monetary wealth.

print version     return to document list previous document      next document

page 1 of 3

The Military Governors and Commanders-in-Chief of the British, United States and French Zones of Occupation have agreed on the terms of legislation for the reform of currency in Land Niedersachsen, Land Nordrhein–Westfalen, Land Schleswig-Holstein, Hansestadt Hamburg, Land Bayern, Land Bremen, Land Wuerttemberg–Baden, Land Hessen, Land Rhein–Pfalz, Land Wuerttemberg–Hohenzollern, and Land Baden (hereinafter referred to as ‘the specified area’) in order to eliminate the consequences of the destruction of the currency caused by National Socialism.

The Military Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the United States Zone is promulgating Law No. 61 and the Military Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the French Zone is promulgating Ordinance No. 158 to give effect to this agreement.

The present Laws replace the Reichsmark currency by a new currency, require the surrender of the means of payment which are invalidated, and the reporting of Reichsmark accounts with financial institutions, and provide for the preliminary supply to the population, the economy and public authorities of new money.

Further legislation will provide for the conversion of Reichsmark holdings which exist in the specified area, including those belonging to persons outside that area, the reorganization in this connection of the balances of financial institutions, the question of public and private Reichsmark debts, and other questions arising out of the monetary reform, including the revision of taxation.

The task of equalising burdens is laid on the appropriate German legislative bodies as one of the greatest urgency to be accomplished by 31st December, 1948.


first page < previous   |   next > last page