Germany After World War I
In 1919, Germany stood in ruins, grappling with the effects of World War I. Forced to pay burdensome reparations to the conflict’s victors, the government began printing vast quantities of currency. By the 1930s, the German mark was so worthless, many burned it for fuel. A lost sense of patriotism and sky-high unemployment contributed to growing social unrest that drove many to rally behind Nazism—by 1930, the movement was six million strong. Its leader, Adolf Hitler, promised to end the country’s suffering and restore its wounded pride by destroying the “enemy within”: Jews.