The Economic Wonder, Germany!
If you had found yourself in the Federal Republic of Germany in the late sixties, and you visited Great Britain as well (or you reversed the sequence), you would have heard it from the “Brits”, the expression, “The Economic Wonder, Germany.” That had been understood to represent West Germany (which following Hitlerism and Germany’s defeat in 1945 by the allies, USA, Britain, France and the Soviet Union, had been created). Look at it this way: “The Third Reich” was the Germany that Adolf Hitler inherited or grabbed in 1933, and it ended when he was defeated on May 8th, 1945. The “Allies”, as enumerated above, was a word you would so often encounter. The Soviet Union, which nourished herself under an economic order called Communism, was the stranger among them, when talking in terms of “ECONOMY.” The state owned everything in the Soviet Union – a command economy. But that was not the case with the three others who existed under Capitalism (private enterprises). The two idealism-divergent-blocks came together, only to defeat Hitler, Mussolini, and Imperial Japan. A formula was unleashed which brought the capitalists together to “occupy” three-quarters of post-world-war II-Germany, whilst the Soviet Union occupied East Germany. A quarter of Berlin, eastwards, would become the capital city of East Germany, and the remaining sector would be called “West Berlin”, albeit not the capital of West Germany. Her assignment was to protect “the other Berlin”, not East-Berlin. Germany would survive the post-WORLD-WAR II period under the “big-gun- protection” of the West that would soon be known as “the free world”. American President Harry Truman, who had taken over from Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had succumbed to cerebral stroke whilst in office in 1945, evolved a concept to bring prosperity to Germany and Europe, and with it, to ward off any form of oppression such as the “Hitler Dictatorship” from Europe. In his view, poverty and dictatorship were closely linked. This formula would be called “The Marshall Plan.” Germany had the most highly-skilled craftsmen in the world. They were also the best disciplined workforce, only an enigma, why a dictatorship that almost burned up the entire world by one man would thrive for thirteen years. Now, Hitler was gone, and there were the big technicians and millions of able-bodied men to reconstruct. German goods were artistically the best to look at – Quality-wise, unmatched worldwide. The “little-bug”, for example, the VW Beetle – as the world knew it – was the most-liked vehicle. Mercedes Benz could not manufacture as many vehicles as the capitalist world was ready to take. Talk of “the small fastest sports car for Hollywood stars, Ferdinand Porsche’ built them in Germany. Germany made the most attractive ladies’ and gentlemen’s attires for whatever occasion. Then Japan hadn’t as yet sold any Sony electronic goods to entertain the West. From Germany though, came brand names like Blue Spot, Braun, Telefunken, Uher, Nordmende, Linde, and Schaub-Lorenz. You bet the list wasn’t yet ended. From the big dimensions of heavy industry – Siemens AG, Bosch, Hoch/Tief, Mannesman (Vodafon today), Krupp, Hoesch, and Henschell had contracts from everywhere, from Europe to Asia, and to Africa too. The first among their leaders, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, and Ludwig Erhard, an Economics Professor from Cologne, knew what to do to translate the freedom and the money now at hand, into prosperity, enter into the world community, and re-polish a tarnished reputation. Germany needed twenty years after the guns had stopped, as many as twenty million skilled and unskilled workforce. In Germany was where you saw the biggest construction platforms the world had ever seen. All European countries took part in what could be described as “the reverse exodus.” In Germany, there was money and peace. Every culture had converged here on Germany. In Germany, Elvis Presley had arrived as a G.I. into the US Army. He sang the blues for soldiers and German girls to dance deep into the nights. In the process they married each other too. Mohammed Ali, the greatest BOXING Champion of all time would arrive very often to out-box Germans and non-Germans, but in Germany. Germany had a population of 67 million people. Chocolate was plenty in the shops, and Germans loved it. The Soviet Union was the boss of the Communist system which emerged out of the once caviar-rich country, at one-time ruled by Peter the Great, but subsequently, also by Katharina the Great, who was originally from Potsdam, Prussia (Germany). Germans reminisced these instances. Russia was mighty, but not rich in the post Hitler era. But, West Germany, which emerged out of the “ripples” between the allies, seemed to have been blessed by the events. Germany built quickly first class hospitals to heal Europe and the rich from Arabia, but the world at large. German Technology would enter everything and be at the top. Germany helped the world to conquer outer-space (W. Von Braun). Germany would help to build the peace by contributing to peace keeping, and financing it. Germany fed and educated Africa, next to America. Germans had started going on holiday to Turkey and Sicily, instead of just to Silesia. The Marshall Plan and Germany had both made that possible. In Germany, men’s upper-wear items were produced to look nicer than could be found anywhere else. Van Laarck lasted four times as long as any competitor. German beer tasted the way you could not find words to describe. You simply had to taste it. The Englishman, who was so proud and even boastful to have defeated the German on the battlefield, was happy he could spend holidays in the Bavarian Alps, and he would take German beer and Thüringer Sausages to bluff his neighbours in Margate, the East Coast of the little but proud Island. Germany had become the best place to enjoy and dance to American music – “Rock and Roll” – but also “Humpa-humpa-trele lee” when it was Carnival . It has been the Germany, which it would seem, was destined to change recent history, the way hardly any other nation of recent past has been as blessed to achieve. Germany, which in 1923 had an economy with inflation that went into figures you could not write down, then had come to ride in front as the locomotive of the European economy, and one would ask, if it would not be correct to say the World Economy too. It is the conviction of many, the world over, that “The Economic Wonder” of the post WWII era “has stayed and passed the test of time.
Kofi Dankyi Beeko, MD E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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