German mark

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Deutsche Mark
June 21, 1948 to December 31, 2001
1 DM piece from 1967
Country: GermanyGermany Germany , German Democratic Republic (Monetary Union 1990)
Germany Democratic Republic 1949GDR 
Subdivision: 100 Deutsche Pfennig (abbreviated: Dpf .; often short Pfennig or Pf.)
ISO 4217 code : DEM
Abbreviation: DM, DEM, D-Mark
Exchange rate :

EUR = 1.95583 DEM
1 DEM = 0.51129 EUR

1 DM note of the first edition in 1948
front and back

The Deutsche Mark (abbreviated DM and in international banking DEM , colloquially also D-Mark or short Mark , in English-speaking countries mostly Deutschmark ) was the official currency in the Federal Republic of Germany and before as book money from 1948 to 1998 , until 2001 only as cash their establishment in the three western zones of occupation of Germany and the western sectors of Berlin . A Deutsche Mark was divided into one hundred pfennigs . The currency was issued in coins and bills . There were four series of banknotes.

The German mark was introduced as legal tender on June 21, 1948 in the Trizone and three days later in the three western sectors of Berlin through the currency reform of 1948 and replaced the Reichsmark as the legal unit of currency. Even after the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany on May 23, 1949, the Deutsche Mark remained the unit of currency in the Federal Republic, including West Berlin.

When the currency, economic and social union came into force on July 1, 1990, it replaced the GDR mark . The D-Mark remained the legal tender in reunified Germany . After the establishment of the European Economic and Monetary Union , the Deutsche Mark was finally replaced by the euro on January 1, 1999 as book money and on January 1, 2002 as cash .

On May 31, 2020, according to the Deutsche Bundesbank , DM banknotes with a face value of DM 5.81 billion and coins with a value of DM 6.62 billion (total: DM 12.43 billion) had not been exchanged. That was 5.1% of the volume in circulation in 2000 of 244.8 billion DM.


The name “Deutsche Mark” for the new currency of the Trizone was linked to the traditional German currency unit, the mark . It was accepted unanimously at conferences of the occupying powers on the proposal of the American officer Edward A. Tenenbaum , who acted as assistant to the financial advisor to Military Governor Lucius D. Clay . Tenenbaum, who came from a Polish-Jewish family and did his doctorate on National Socialism and international capitalism at Yale in 1942 , was also one of the leading theoretical thinkers and pioneer of the currency reform of 1948. His significance as the “father of the D-Mark” is in the German public little known and was recognized relatively late in the history sciences, for example with Wolfgang Benz , Hans-Ulrich Wehler and Werner Abelshauser .



Obverse of the current Deutsche Mark coins from 2000, with the 2 DM coins Ludwig Erhard , Franz Josef Strauss and Willy Brandt
Backs of the coins

From 1948 to 1950, the Bank deutscher Länder held the right to issue coins . This is why the first DM coins were labeled “BANK GERMAN LÄNDER”. With the law on the minting of token coins of July 8, 1950, this right was transferred to the federal government. Since then, all DM coins have been minted with the inscription "BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND".

The coins were produced according to a specified minting key in the four existing mints of the Federal Republic of Germany: Hamburg ( mint mark  J), Karlsruhe (G), Munich (D) and Stuttgart (F). Shortly before the introduction of monetary union on July 1, 1990, Berlin (mint mark A) began to mint D-mark coins. The coins for the GDR mark had previously been minted there.

The appearance of the coins remained largely unchanged during the 53 years that the D-Mark was issued. Initially there were coins of 1, 2, 5 and 10 pfennig, which consisted of a steel core and were only thinly plated with copper or brass , as well as coins made of a copper-nickel alloy of 50 pfennig, 1 and 2 D-Mark. The 2-pfennig coin consisted of a 95 percent copper alloy until 1967. The 5 DM coin initially consisted of a silver-copper alloy.

Due to frequent confusion with the 1 DM coin, the 2 DM coin was replaced in 1958 by a slightly larger coin with the portrait of Max Planck . Since machines had difficulties distinguishing this coin from some foreign coins, especially those with a lower value, the 2 DM piece was exchanged again in the 1970s and the "politician series", which was valid until the end of the D-Mark Introduced from the three-layer material Magnimat .

On the occasion of the hosting of the Olympic Summer Games in 1972 and from 1987, 10 D-Mark commemorative coins were issued.

The motif and material of the 5 DM coin were also changed in 1975. Because the price of silver had risen so much that the material value of the coin threatened to exceed the face value, the 5-mark coin was now also made from Magnimat.

All DM coins have now been "called" , that is, suspended, but will continue to be exchanged for euros by the Bundesbank (with the exception of the 2 DM coin from the first issue).


This version of the twenty-mark note was the banknote that had been unchanged for the longest time. It was first issued as the first banknote of the third series on February 10, 1961, and the successor note was only put into circulation after 11,371 days (over 31 years).

There were four officially issued series of banknotes. In addition, the existence of two replacement series is known, which were stored in the Bundesbank bunker in Cochem , but were never brought into circulation. In addition, there were federal cash bills, a series of replacement banknotes that were supposed to replace the coins in times of crisis, but were never issued either.

The banknotes of the first series (around six billion marks) were printed in the USA and transported to Germany via Bremerhaven in the top secret operation "Bird Dog" . The banknotes did not yet have the name of the issuing bank and did not contain any information about the place of issue or the exact date of issue. These banknotes, which are visually reminiscent of the US dollar, were then issued with the currency reform on June 20, 1948 by the Bank of German States under the sovereignty of the western allies. Four days later the Deutsche Mark was introduced in the western sectors of Berlin, but these banknotes were marked with a stamp and / or a perforation "B". The denominations of this series were ½, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 marks, whereby there were two different designs for the 20 and 50 mark banknote. Since there was still a shortage of coins, certain Reichsmark coins could be used temporarily at a tenth of their face value.

The name of the issuing bank "Bank deutscher Länder" was now printed on the second series. It gradually replaced the first edition. In addition, three banknote denominations were designed by Max Bittrof , with head portraits or figures from mythology dominating the banknote. This series consisted of the denominations 5 and 10 pfennigs as well as 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 marks.

The third series of banknotes was issued from 1961 to the early 1990s and suspended on June 30, 1995. The plans for the new banknote series were drawn up as early as 1957 when the Bank deutscher Länder was converted to the Deutsche Bundesbank, because the information "Bank deutscher Länder" printed on the previous series was no longer correct. As the first series to be published by the Bundesbank, it bears the internal name “BBk I”. The Swiss Hermann Eidenbenz emerged as the winner in a design competition, but the head portraits, inscriptions and the format of the banknotes had been determined in advance by the Bundesbank. This series comprised the denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 marks. In addition, the values ​​500 and 1000 marks were newly introduced.

In 1981 the Central Bank Council of the Deutsche Bundesbank decided to issue a new series of banknotes. It had become necessary due to technological advances, which made counterfeiting old banknotes easier and easier. The new series should be more suitable for automatic payments. Almost ten years later, on October 1, 1990, the first two banknote denominations of the series designed by Reinhold Gerstetter were put into circulation, which was expanded to eight denominations with the new 200 DM note. The banknotes bore the internal designation “BBk III”, as “BBk II” was already used for the above-mentioned replacement series.

In 1997 and 1998 the banknotes to the value of 50, 100 and 200 marks were issued with revised security features, as they were the most frequently forged ones. The most noticeable changes are the kinegram on the left and the pearlescent strip on the right side of the front. These banknotes were given the internal series designation “BBk IIIa”.


Introduction of the German mark

As a result of the Second World War , the previous means of payment, the Reichsmark (RM), was hardly suitable for further use because there was no longer any economic cover and confidence in the currency was shattered. In addition to the Reichsmark, a “ cigarette currency ” had established itself in the post-war years , which means that many people preferred to exchange goods directly. Since the interests of the Allied occupying powers differed increasingly with regard to the further development of their occupation zones, the western occupying powers ( USA , Great Britain and France ) pursued their own goals, including the introduction of a stable currency, which was to be done through a currency reform .

The mark was first issued on June 20, 1948, as here in Essen

This plan was kept strictly confidential; essential parts were worked out in the so-called " currency conclave ". For this purpose, eleven German representatives from banks and economists met with three representatives from the military governments from April 21 to June 8, 1948 in the Posen House in Rothwesten ( Fuldatal ) and worked out the four laws for the reorganization of the monetary system that governed the introduction of the new currency. In March 1948 these had already been preceded by the law establishing the Bank of German States . The new currency was planned from the start as a pure paper currency; gold or currency cover was not provided. Today a museum in Rothwesten reminds of these events. The population was informed about the impending introduction for the first time on June 18, 1948 - three days before the introduction - by a radio report. The corresponding laws came into force on June 20, 1948.

The new money is examined

The German mark was created on Monday, June 21, 1948, in the western occupation zones, i.e. in the states of Schleswig-Holstein , Hamburg , Bremen , Lower Saxony , North Rhine-Westphalia , Hesse , Rhineland-Palatinate , Baden , Württemberg-Baden , Württemberg- Hohenzollern and Bavaria were introduced and from then on they were the only means of payment.

Queue in front of an exchange point in Essen

The new currency was issued at the food stamp issuing offices . Only a so-called "bounty" of DM 60 was paid per person; 40 DM immediately and another 20 DM two months later. In addition, upon application to their bank, companies received a so-called “transaction amount” of 60 DM per employee. The “transaction amount” and the “bounty” were later taken into account when the cash assets were converted.

For the conversion, old Reichsmark cash had to be delivered to a main exchange office and registered by June 26, 1948. There, after approval by the tax office, the total money was converted to a "Reichsbank settlement account". In the case of natural persons, nine times the head amount was initially deducted from the total old pay. The remainder was converted to a free account and 50% to a fixed account. A short time later, the fixed account was closed, with 70% of its amount being destroyed, 20% being transferred to the free account and 10% to the investment account. This should prevent the risk of renewed inflation due to excessive money supply. Ultimately, this resulted in an actual conversion ratio of 10: 0.65, that is, for every 100 RM you received 6.50 DM. In the commercial enterprises, ten times the business amount was deducted from the old money and the conversion was then carried out as with natural persons. The old money balances of the banks and the public sector expired. Wages and salaries, rents and taxes and similar recurring payments were due on the changeover date in a ratio of 1: 1 in DM.


In the three western sectors of Berlin , the introduction of the new currency took place with a delay of three days on June 24, 1948 and triggered the Soviet blockade of Berlin . The “Westmark” only became legal tender here on March 20, 1949. A wage equalization fund was set up for cross-border commuters between East and West Berlin .

Effects on the Soviet Zone of Occupation

The new currency caused inflation in the Soviet occupation zone (later GDR ), as the Reichsmark (RM) was still a valid currency there. As an emergency measure, Reichsmark notes with a maximum value of 70 RM were exchanged on June 23, 1948, and the Soviet authorities simply stuck tokens on them if the owner of the banknotes could prove their legal origin. In the vernacular, the banknotes were therefore called "adhesive mark" or "wallpaper mark". Shortly afterwards, on July 24th, a new currency was introduced in the Soviet occupation zone, which was also called the "Deutsche Mark". This remained the currency of the GDR until July 31, 1964; it was replaced by the Mark of the German Central Bank (MDN).


In the Saarland (Saar Protectorate) the Reichsmark was replaced by the Saar-Mark in June 1947 ; in the same year the changeover to the Saar-Franconia took place . After the Saarland joined the Federal Republic of Germany on January 1, 1957, it was not until the expiry of the currency agreements with France on July 7, 1959 for the D-Mark to become the official currency.

The Deutsche Mark under the Bank of German Lands

Coins from 1949

The Bank of German Lands , which was founded in preparation for the currency reform, had the task of implementing the monetary policy of the American and British, and later also of the French zone. She was also authorized to issue banknotes and coins. After the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany, the right to coin was given to the federal government. She achieved independence in 1951; previously it was bound by instructions from the Allies.

With the currency reform, Ludwig Erhard almost completely abolished fixed prices. This enabled an almost free market economy , in which supply and demand determined the price, and led to strong inflation. After six months, the Deutsche Mark had already lost 11% of its value. In the western occupation zones, the new currency resulted in significant price increases, which caused a general strike on November 12, 1948. About 9 million people took part in this so far only general strike in German post-war history.

When the Korean War broke out in June 1950 , American industrial companies shifted their production to armaments. The emerging companies of the young Federal Republic took advantage of the shortfall in supply and were able to offer their products on the world market. The rate of DM 4.20 per US dollar set by the Allies ensured high profits for German companies and a high export surplus.

From 1 April 1954 it was non-residents allowed to " be limited ko nvertierbare " accounts in DM (the so-called Beko Mark ) to open, the resident individual cash deposits were allowed to make. The accounts were kept interest-free and could be used for payments in third countries. Every German citizen was allowed to exchange up to 1500 DM per year for foreign currencies; thus vacation travel abroad became affordable.

The Deutsche Mark under the Deutsche Bundesbank

Postage stamp from Deutsche Post AG: "50 Years of the Deutsche Mark", 1998

When the Deutsche Bundesbank was founded in 1957, it issued the Deutsche Mark. According to the Bundesbank Act, it had sovereignty over the banknotes and the determination of the amount in circulation (the banknote privilege ). In addition to the official issue, the Deutsche Bundesbank kept secret substitute money for times of crisis ready from 1960 to 1988 with the Bundeskassenscheine and a series of replacement banknotes (see replacement series ).

Since June 30, 1958, the Deutsche Mark and the balances of the Beko accounts were freely convertible.


In the course of monetary union with the GDR , the D-Mark was introduced in the GDR on July 1, 1990. For the citizens of the East this was probably one of the biggest changes during the process of reunification , as the D-Mark in the GDR was a symbol of the economic miracle and prosperity in the Federal Republic. At the same time, not only was an essential demand of the GDR citizens fulfilled (during the demonstrations there was chanting: "If the D-Mark comes, we'll stay; if it doesn't, we'll go to it."), But also the massive relocation The GDR in the old Federal Republic slowed down significantly, which was politically urgently necessary in view of the integration possibilities both in terms of jobs and living space. This political necessity explains the exchange rate from GDR Mark to D-Mark. It varied for GDR citizens depending on age: people aged 60 and over were allowed to exchange up to 6000, under 60 years up to 4000, children under 14 years up to 2000 “Ost-Mark” in a ratio of 1: 1. Wages, salaries, grants, pensions, rents and leases as well as other recurring payments have been converted to this rate. For credit balances and debts above the specified upper limits, the ratio was 2: 1. A uniform exchange rate of 3: 1 applied to non-GDR citizens.

In the case of monetary, economic and social union, for domestic political reasons, the mistake was made of setting a much too high exchange rate for the Ostmark for the D-Mark. The change in stock sizes (cash, accounts receivable and payable) led to a money supply in the GDR that was 50% above the recommendations of the Bundesbank. However, this did not result in an inflationary impulse because most of the savings were made and therefore did not affect prices. However, the changeover led to an inflation of the balance sheets, especially the liabilities. In the GDR it had been customary to purchase fixed assets at excessive values ​​and thereby assume excessive liabilities. This inflated the GDR's balance sheets dramatically. After the changeover to DM balance sheets, almost all East German companies were over-indebted because the fixed assets had to be written down to realistic values, but the liabilities remained at their nominal value.

The conversion of the economic flow variables and in particular the wages in the ratio 1: 1 caused problems because it increased the unit labor costs to a level that clearly exceeded those of competing companies abroad and in the old federal states . These factors eliminated the national and international competitiveness of most east German companies. This is clear from the exchange rate on the gray market (there was no official exchange rate, but exchange offices and banks traded with the Ostmark), which had been 10: 1 (East to Westmark) before the Wall opened. After the onslaught in the first few weeks, however, it dropped to 20: 1, and then established itself in the 7: 1 to 6: 1 range, which should have been the economically correct value. After the currency conversion conditions were announced, the rate rose to 3: 1. With the expiry of the transfer ruble offsetting on December 31, 1990, East German exports suddenly collapsed.

The German mark after the introduction of the euro

With the establishment of the European Economic and Monetary Union and the introduction of the euro on January 1, 1999, the D-Mark was replaced as an independent currency unit. It was then a fixed fraction (1 / 1.95583) of the new euro currency unit. The DM coins and banknotes were legal tender up to and including December 31, 2001. Since then, they can be exchanged for euros for an unlimited period of time and free of charge at the Bundesbank and its branches. After the introduction of euro cash, the old means of payment was accepted by large parts of the trade and banks as part of a voluntary commitment until February 28, 2002. Years after the introduction of the euro, individual shops occasionally offered the option of paying for goods in DM.

Account management was a special feature. If the prices of shares and similar securities were quoted in euros from January 2, 1999 (bonds are denoted in “percent” and are therefore not affected by the price notation), most financial institutions offered their customers the choice to either continue to keep the account in DM or to switch to euros (only a few used the latter). The changeover of all accounts still in DM took effect on December 31, 2001, in some cases a little earlier: In the course of the last quarter of 2001, some financial institutions converted all of their accounts to euros to avoid overlapping with end-of-year business (interest calculation) .

In some areas, the DM still exists - not just in the form of cash leftovers. Telephone booths still accept coins of the previous currency at a rate of 2: 1. Furthermore, all bonds issued before 1999 have not been converted, but are still calculated in DM for purchases, sales, interest payments and repayments and are only given today's value in euros after conversion using the official rate. In corporations , the shares can still be denominated in DM, although most companies have switched to euros or pieces. Mortgage liens that were ordered before the introduction of the euro are still denominated in DM until they are deleted.

Exchange rate and monetary value

External value of the German mark

year 1 USD 1 GBP 1 CHF year 1 USD 1 GBP 1 CHF 100 JPY year 1 USD 1 GBP 1 CHF 100 JPY
1948/49 3.33 - - 1970 3.6463 8.736 0.84601 1.0183 1990 1.6161 2,877 1.16501 1.1183
1950/52 4.2 - - 1971 3.4795 8.505 0.84578 0.9996 1991 1.6612 2.926 1.1574 1.2346
1972 3.1889 7.974 0.83537 1.0534 1992 1.5595 2.753 1.111198 1.2313
1953 4.2 11,702 0.97861 1973 2.659 6.514 0.84005 0.9795 1993 1.6544 2.483 1.11949 1.4945
1954 4.1993 11.7353 0.97929 1974 2.5897 6.055 0.8701 0.8888 1994 1.6218 2.4816 1.18712 1,587
1955 4.2107 11.7376 0.98247 1975 2.4631 5.449 0.95232 0.8301 1995 1.4338 2.262 1.2124 1.5293
1956 4.2027 11,708 0.98073 1976 2.5173 4,553 1.00747 0.85 1996 1.5037 2,3478 1.21891 1.3838
1957 4,2012 11.732 0.98018 1977 2,3217 4.051 0.96843 0.8671 1997 1.7348 2.841 1.19508 1.4378
1958 4.1919 11.715 0.97794 1978 2.0084 3.853 1.12924 0.9626 1998 1.7592 2.9142 1.21414 1.3484
1959 4,1791 11.738 0.96717 1979 1,833 3.888 1.10229 0.8424 From 1999 exchange rates in euros
1960 4.1704 11,709 0.96564 1980 1.8158 4.227 1.08478 0.8064
1961 4.0221 11.271 0.93133 1981 2.261 4,556 1.15252 1.0255
1962 3,9978 11.225 0.92461 1982 2.4287 4,242 1.19721 0.9766
1963 3.9864 11,162 0.92249 1983 2.5552 3,871 1.21614 1.0764
1964 3.9748 11.098 0.92035 1984 2.8456 3.791 1.21181 1.1974
1965 3,9943 11.167 0.92309 1985 2.9424 3,785 1.20016 1.2338
1966 3,9982 11.167 0.92421 1986 2.1708 3.184 1.20918 1.2915
1967 3.9866 10.961 0.92111 1987 1.7982 2.941 1.20588 1.2436
1968 3.9923 09,558 0.92507 1988 1.7584 3.124 1.2006 1.3707
1969 3.9244 09,381 0.91002 1989 1.8813 3.081 1. 15042 1.3658
  1. a b GBP: From 1993 as well as 1954 and 1955 the prices were quoted with four decimal places.
  2. JPY: Data up to 1970 are missing because there was a fixed exchange rate between the yen and the US dollar.
  3. JPY: Listing suspended from September 7, 1971 to January 5, 1972.
Exchange rates for 100 DM to USD, GBP, CHF and 1 DM to JPY

The exchange rates from the DM to the dollar and to other currencies were fixed until around 1971 within the framework of the Bretton Woods system . During this time the mark was gradually revalued. It later reached its all-time high against the US dollar on April 19, 1995, when 1 US dollar was only worth 1.3620 DM (converted 1 € = 1.4360 $). The D-Mark had its lowest point against the dollar from April 3 to April 9, 1956, when 1 US dollar cost 4.2161 DM (converted 1 € = 0.4639 $). The D-Mark also appreciated significantly against the British pound . While the pound was traded for 11.881 DM on March 1, 1955, on November 17, 1995 only DM 2.1845 was paid for 1 pound.

The situation with the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen is different : for a long time, a D-Mark was worth more than a Swiss franc; The mark reached its highest value on October 31, 1973, when only 79 DM were paid for 100 Swiss francs. On December 16, 1975, the value of a D-Mark fell below that of the Swiss Franc for the first time. After a brief recovery of the mark, it fell again in the second half of 1977 and was last listed above the Swiss franc on October 17, 1977 (CHF 100 = DM 99.97). A short time later, on September 26, 1978, the Swiss franc was quoted at 132.70 DM for 100 CHF, the historic high against the D-Mark. For comparison: on August 9, 2011, the Swiss franc, at 1.0070, almost reached parity with the euro. Converted into D-Marks, this would correspond to an exchange rate of 194.22 DM for 100 Swiss Francs.

After the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Japanese yen was lifted, the exchange rate between the DM and the yen remained at around 100 yen to 1 DM for a few years. In 1974, however, the DM began to soar and peaked on December 3, 1979 at 100 YEN = 0.6875 DM. After that it went steadily downhill. The lowest point against the yen was reached on April 10, 1995 at 100 YEN = 1.6909 DM.

Impact on international competitiveness

German unit labor costs in national currency (blue) and in US $ (green). Index: 2002 = 100. Up until the implementation of the Plaza Agreement (1986/87), the exchange rate to the dollar tended to favor German competitiveness, after which it tended to disadvantage it.

The currency reform of 1948, which was essentially planned in the United States, led to an undervaluation of the D-Mark, which increased the international competitiveness of the young Federal Republic. The Bundesbank Act of 1957 gave the Deutsche Bundesbank price level stability as the most important goal; However, participation in the Bretton Woods system from 1949 to 1973 meant that the Deutsche Bundesbank often had to buy foreign currency to support the fixed exchange rates , which increased the money supply, but at the same time led to a stabilization of the undervaluation of the DM and thus to favorable export conditions . The chronic undervaluation of the D-Mark up until 1973 made a major contribution to the rise of the German automotive industry.

After the end of the Bretton Woods system in the early 1970s, a regime of flexible exchange rates was introduced worldwide. There was a strong tendency towards appreciation of the DM and thus a deterioration in price competitiveness. It was shown that the cost advantages of the below-average wage development in Germany by international comparison were consumed by the appreciation of the exchange rate of the DM. The German manufacturers responded with an increase in quality; nevertheless, growth slowed. Economists see a deterioration in the competitiveness of Germany after German reunification , as the Deutsche Bundesbank saw itself induced to a restrictive monetary policy due to suspected inflationary pressure and rising national debt , which caused the exchange rate of the DM to rise. In order to correct the price level, an internal devaluation was necessary, in particular due to real wage losses.

Overall, it can be said that the appreciation and depreciation of the DM with a time lag of about one year led to a decrease or increase in German exports.

Monetary value

country Remaining Monetary value
versus 1950
Great Britain 18%
Japan 19%
France 21%
Italy 22%
Sweden 23%
Netherlands 27%
Belgium 35%
United States 40%
Switzerland 42%
(Federal Republic)

The DM had a reputation as a “hard” currency. This is based on comparing the “remaining monetary value” of the DM with other currencies. This describes a statistic which in 1977 compared domestic purchasing power to 1950 in the following countries (table opposite):

After that the monetary value of the D-Mark had decreased by more than half; however, this was less than for major reference currencies . In the roughly 50 years from its introduction in 1948 to the introduction of the euro in early 1999, the monetary value of the Deutsche Mark fell to around a quarter. The inflation rate averaged just under three percent per year during this period; this is higher than before (as of 2012) for the euro, which is perceived as rather “soft”.

Meaning of the German Mark

In other states

The D-Mark established itself as a parallel currency in the Balkan countries as early as the 1960s . Guest workers from what was then Yugoslavia brought the money back to their old homeland. After the outbreak of violent conflict in this region, the Yugoslav dinar lost value. After the currency reform in 1994 a dinar was worth exactly one mark, the official rate in 1999 was 6: 1 (on the black market and in exchange offices between 10 and 16 dinars were paid for one German mark).

In Bosnia and Herzegovina , the D-Mark was a parallel currency that circulated at the same time as the 1: 1 pegged local currency, the convertible mark . On November 2, 1999, Montenegro also introduced the D-Mark as a parallel currency. Only one year later, on November 13, 2000, the D-Mark was even declared the country's sole currency. In Kosovo , the D-Mark was used as the official currency at times.

In 1997 the Bulgarian lev was pegged to the D-Mark at a rate of 1: 1. In other European countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Croatia, even in Turkey, the D-Mark was seen as a stable currency and was hoarded by the population. The 1000 D-Mark note was often used for this.

In the GDR, the D-Mark was used as an unofficial parallel currency. With " blue tiles " it could be indicated in classified ads that one was prepared to pay with the blue 100-D-Mark bills or generally with western money .

Alongside the Swiss franc, the D-Mark was considered the most stable currency in Europe. The average inflation rate between 1970 and 1980 in Switzerland was only 3.39% (Germany: 5.1%). In France and the UK, the average inflation rates over the same period were 14.2% and 8.08%, respectively.

The following graphic shows the increasing function as reserve currency :

Reserve currencies used internationally (abbreviated representation)
currency 1970 1972 1976 1980 1984 1995 1998 1999 2002
U.S. dollar 77.2% 78.6% 76.6% 67.2% 65.8% 59.0% 69.3% 70.9% 66.5%
Euro - - - - - - - 17.9% 24.2%
German mark 1.9% 4.6% 8.8% 14.8% 12.1% 15.8% 13.8% - -
Pound Sterling 10.4% 7.1% 1.9% 2.9% 2.8% 2.1% 2.7% 2.9% 2.9%
yen - 0.1% 2.1% 4.3% 5.4% 6.8% 6.2% 6.4% 4.5%
French Franc 1.1% 0.9% 1.6% 1.7% 1.0% 2.4% 1.6% - -
Swiss franc 0.7% 1.0% 2.2% 3.2% 2.0% 0.3% 0.3% 0.2% 0.4%
Others 8.7% 7.7% 6.8% 5.9% 10.9% 13.6% 6.1% 1.6% 1.4%

That is why the DM was the unofficial reserve currency in many countries for a long time , especially within the European Economic Community .

In Germany after the introduction of the euro

Conversion currency

After the introduction of the euro, the German mark was primarily used as a reference currency for assessing prices. However, this can give the wrong impression of prices as most people ignore inflation and compare prices to 2001. This is helped by the fact that the Germans, with an exchange rate of € 1 = DM 1.95583, i.e. approximately € 1 ≈ DM 2 (with an error of 2.2%), have a very easy exchange rate if the calculation is rough - similar to the Portuguese (1 € = 200.482 escudos , so that with the approximate assumption of 1 € ≈ 200 escudos the error is only 0.2%) - for comparison: 1 € = 13.7603 Austrian schillings = 6.55957 French francs = 2.20371 Dutch Guilders .

A TNS-Emnid study published in November 2004 came to the conclusion that 66% of all citizens in the Federal Republic still converted the euro amounts into D-Marks. It was 54% for men and 74% for women. In terms of age, 41% of younger people converted to D-Marks in 2004, and 71% of those over 50.

Perception of the Deutsche Mark as stronger money than the euro

Inflation rates before and after the introduction of cash on January 1, 2002 in Germany

The Deutsche Mark is still seen by many Germans as a “stronger” currency compared to the Euro. This has to do with the fact that the mark is a symbol of the economic miracle in Germany. This attitude gave rise to the term “ Teuro ”. In this context, it is often stated that many goods now cost a similar amount in euros as they did in D-Mark at the time. This is because the annual rate of inflation is not included. In fact, this effect was also observed in DM times; however, there was no fixed point through a base year. Nevertheless, according to a survey by the Association of German Banks (BdB) in 2008, around half of those questioned (53%) see the introduction of the euro as the main reason for the price increases in recent years.

In fact, immediately after the introduction of the euro, there were drastic price increases in many everyday consumer segments: for example, bees' honey increased in price by 39% between 2001 and 2003, eggs by 15% and cinema visits by 8%. Prices, with which one is less likely to deal directly with in everyday life, did not change or even fell. Apartment rents or insurance premiums, for example (which also have a higher weighting in the calculation of the inflation rate) have hardly changed after the introduction of the euro; There were falling prices for gas (−2.7%), heating oil (−16%) and telephone calls (−1.6%). Things that are less popular often became cheaper, like computers that were about 17% cheaper.

Due to the different weighting of the individual factors (see shopping basket ) and the opposing development of prices in various areas, the overall inflation rate has been relatively low at an average of less than 2% since monetary union; The euro is thus one of the most stable currencies and is superior to the D-Mark in this respect. The diagram on the right also shows that there was no increase in the rate of price increases immediately after the introduction of the euro; Rather the opposite is the case. Nevertheless, 34% of those questioned in the above-mentioned survey would like the euro to be abolished and the Deutsche Mark reintroduced.

In the course of the euro crisis, there is growing skepticism towards the common currency in Germany; Various media are discussing whether a return to the Deutsche Mark is possible or sensible. According to a survey by Infratest dimap from December 2010, over half of those questioned are of the opinion that Germany would have better kept the Deutsche Mark instead of introducing the euro. However, an abolition of the euro is rather unlikely, as it would mean Germany's exit from the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the exchange rate security that came with the euro would be abolished, which, in the opinion of some economists, would have negative consequences for the economy.

See also


  • Erik Hahn, Marcus Reif: She is still alive, not dying - the D-Mark is still suitable as a consideration . JURA 2008, pp. 569–573.
  • Jens Peter Paul: Compulsory exchange. How Kohl and Lafontaine abolished the D-Mark , Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2010, ISBN 978-3-631-57658-8 .
  • Holger Rosenberg : The German banknotes from 1871 . ISBN 3-924861-73-0 . ("Rosenberg catalog", standard work for collectors of German banknotes, all banknotes illustrated, including test prints and unissued GDR military money).
  • Federal Ministry of Economics : Ten years of Deutsche Mark - reports, speeches, comments , Bonn 1958, DNB 453220304 . Only 500 copies printed.
  • Helmut Kahnt et al .: The history of the Deutsche Mark in East and West . Gietl, Regenstauf 2003, ISBN 3-924861-68-4 . Chronicle from the 1940s to the introduction of euro cash, economic and monetary policy aspects, details on the production of coins and banknotes.

Web links

Commons : Deutsche Mark  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Deutsche Mark  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on December 24, 2008 .