A Brief Explanation of Hyperinflation in Weimar Germany

A fascinating case study of what happens when money printing gets out of control

Ben the Trader
Yard Couch
Published in
7 min readJan 10, 2022


A headline in a German newspaper saying 1 US dollar was equal to 1 Million marks
A headline in a German newspaper saying 1 US dollar was equal to 1 Million marks — Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 102–00134 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia


This is a term we see thrown about quite a bit at the moment. Indeed it is becoming part of our everyday lexicon. Take this tweet from Jack Dorsey, the (former) CEO of Twitter.

Whilst we are experiencing inflation across the globe right now, this isn’t “hyperinflation”. Hyperinflation is a situation where inflation is running at over 50% per month. We are currently miles off of this…

But as the term has (re)entered the mainstream, I thought it would be useful to give an account of one of the most famous cases of hyperinflation. That of the Weimar Republic (Germany) in 1923.

For many months during 1923, the German public faced crippling inflation. It created ridiculous situations, not to mention significant suffering for the German people.

The average German needed vast quantities of paper money just to do their daily shopping. It was commonplace to see them hauling it to the shops in backpacks or even wheelbarrows.

Weimar hyperinflation is an interesting case study in its own right. But, it is also instructive on how we avoid repeating the sins of the past.

The prelude to hyperinflation

Many people think of the Rhur occupation by France as the cause of hyperinflation.

But the root of Weimar hyperinflation actually began some time before 1923. One of the key causes was the advent of the First World War.

To fund the significant costs of the war, Germany suspended its gold standard. The gold standard had, until then, meant the currency had protection from inflation.



Ben the Trader
Yard Couch

Top Writer in Investing, Finance and Economics | Follower of precious metals, commodities and crypto | Contrarian | Dad to two daughters | Husband | Musician