In a nuanced and fresh account, James Van Hook evaluates the American role in West German recovery and the debates about economic policy within West Germany. He examines the 1948 West German economic reforms that dismantled the Nazi command economy and ushered in the fabled "economic miracle" of the 1950s. By abandoning Nazi era economic controls, the West Germans discarded a pre-1945 economic and industrial culture.
Preface; List of abbreviations; Introduction; 1. Planning for reconstruction; 2. The future of the Ruhr: socialization, decartelization, restoration, 1945–8; 3. High hopes and disappointment: the SPD and the planning regime, 1945–7; 4. Ludwig Erhard, the CDU and the free market; 5. Free markets, investment and the Ruhr: the Korean war crisis; 6. The social market economy and competition; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
"This book is to be welcomed as a valuable contribution to an overdue reconsideration of the social market economy, in Germany, and elsewhere." American Historical Review, A.J. Nichols
"...closely and empirically argued...because of Van Hook's thoroughly grounded analysis of policymaking, students and specialists will need to take his findings into account."- German Studies Review Roland Spickermann, University of Texas
"Van Hook's analysis is convincing, based on a solid understanding of the existing scholarly literature and wide research in German, British and American archives." - Ronald J. Granieri, University of Pennsylvania
"Van Hook is to be commended...for his compelling treatment of Erhard's annus mirabulus in 1948. Considering the highly technical and model-driven state of economic history, it takes a certain boldness for non-quantitative historians to assert a casual relationship between economic policy and economic outcomes." - William Glenn Gray, Purdue University