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The Deutschmark Wonder (1998)|
Authors: Wolfgang Schoen and Ralph Piechowiak
The day, America brought West Germans the Deutschmark. Opening film for the ZDF-series „Our Century“. The Germans owe their favourite piece to the Americans. In May 1946 a US-military group of experts designed plans for a currency reform. On April 20th, 1948, in the dead of night, German finance experts were bundled off to the Rothwesten barracks near Kassel. Behind barbed wire they discussed the modalities for a new currency. Joining the table a very young US officer. Edward A. Tenenbaum. With dedication and juvenile enthusiasm he stirred up the old guard of German finance experts – with a lot of expertise and new ideas. It was him, who coined the term for the new curency one day (“…why don’t we just call our baby “Deutsche Mark”). In the 60s, he died in a car accident.
The D-Mark – the German citizen’s compensation for a discredited national spirit, spearhead of the German Federal sense of unity, benefactor of German post-war identity and for many Germans, more than just a coin or bank note. It is a part of the Federal Republic in the minds of the citizens. First, there was the D-Mark, then there was the FRG. The founding myth of the new state had not been the constitution but the “shop-window wonder”. That was the real zero hour. The D-Mark: something one could rely on. A solid support in a world of change.