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Central Bank Independence and the Legacy of the German Past
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Book description

The 2008 financial crisis led to more and more frequent political attacks on central banks. The recent spotlight on central bank independence is reminiscent of the fiery debates amongst Germany's political elites in 1949 on the same issue; debates that were sparked by the establishment of West Germany in that year. Simon Mee shows how, with the establishment of West Germany's central bank - today's Deutsche Bundesbank - the country's monetary history became a political football, as central bankers, politicians, industrialists and trade unionists all vied for influence over the legal provisions that set out the remit of the future monetary authority. The author reveals how a specific version of inter-war history, one that stresses the lessons learned from Germany's periods of inflation, was weaponised and attached to a political, contemporary argument for an independent central bank. The book challenges assumptions around the evolution of central bank independence with continued relevance today.


'Simon Mee has written an outstanding book that probes into how the Bundesbank connected up a particular view of history with interventions in politics as well as economics. He has skilfully uncovered the origins of the German concern with 'stability culture'.'

Harold James - Claude and Lore Kelly Professor in European Studies, and Director, Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society, Princeton University

'Simon Mee tells a compelling story of how German central bankers used particular historical lessons to advance their institutional, and perhaps even personal, interests. This is required reading for anyone interested not only in German monetary history, but in the future of Europe.'

Kevin O’Rourke - Chichele Professor of Economic History, University of Oxford

‘A fascinating book … Highly recommended’

I. Walter Source: Choice

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  • Introduction
    pp 1-32


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