The interwar period, from 1919 to 1939, was dominated, in both Europe and the United States, by issues related to the economy. In Europe the war had left most belligerents’ economies in ruins. Germany was especially hard hit with the call for reparations posing an added burden to its post-war recovery. The United States, however, had come through the war relatively unscathed to emerge in the post-war world as a major economic player. Consequently, many European governments turned to the United States to secure loans in order to rebuild. A complex web of loans, loan repayments and reparations helped to entwine the economies of Europe and America, which meant that any problems in one area could spread to another. Germany’s immediate post-war slump in the early 1920s led to years of hyperinflation and German citizens found that literally whole wheelbarrows full of Deutsch marks could go towards purchase of small, essential items.
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