A British diplomat on excessive money-printing (1921)

Joseph Addison was charge d’affaires at the British embassy in Berlin during the early Weimar period. In a report to the Foreign Office in London, written on September 20th, 1921, Addison commented on the government’s excessive money-printing:

“The daily creation of fresh paper money which the government requires in order to meet its obligations both at home and abroad (services and goods which is obliged both to render and deliver) inevitably decreases the purchasing value of the mark and leads to fresh demands, which in turn bring about a further decline, and so on ad infinitum….

Millions of persons in this country are, I think accurately, reported to be buying foreign currencies in anticipation of precious tax burdens, and to be hoarding foreign bank notes… I hardly know a single German of either sex who is not speculating in foreign currencies such as Austrian crowns, Polish marks, even [Russian] Kerensky roubles.

In as much as a fall in the value of the mark is inevitably accompanied by a rise in the quotation of industrial shares, speculators are supposed to be operating systematically to depreciate the mark, with a view to reaping the benefit of higher quotations in the sharemarket.”