It can take years or decades for a bad economy to recover if government throws enough obstacles in the way, like high taxes, costly regulations and class warfare against “millionaires and billionaires.” But a turnaround can begin within hours when government gets out of the way.
That’s what happened in West Germany. The Nazis had established a regime with totalitarian control of the economy, and for four years after World War II the Allied occupation authorities continued to enforce Nazi economic regulations. “When I got out of the airport bus in Frankfurt,” recalled the American journalist William Henry Chamberlin, “A crowd of barefooted boys clamored for a chance to carry my bags to the hotel, where they expected compensation not in paper marks, virtually worthless at the time, but in the universal substitute currency – cigarettes. Such scenes suggested some poverty-stricken Asiatic country, not Western Europe.”