Golden Twenties

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Golden Twenties or Happy Twenties is a term, mostly used in Europe, to describe the 1920s, in which most of the continent had an economic boom following the First World War and the severe economic downturns that took place between 1919–1923, and before the Wall Street Crash in 1929. In France, the period was called Les Années folles.

It is often applied to Germany (Goldene Zwanziger), which enjoyed a healthy economic growth and a liberal, creative and experimental phase in society and arts. Beforehand, it experienced record-breaking levels of inflation of one trillion percent between January 1919 and November 1923. The inflation was so severe that printed currency was often used for heating and other uses, and everyday requirements like food, soap, and electricity cost a wheelbarrow full of banknotes. Such events, among many other factors, triggered the rise of fascism in Italy, as well as the ill-fated Beer Hall Putsch, masterminded by a young Adolf Hitler.

Before long, the Weimar Republic under Chancellor Gustav Stresemann managed to tame the extreme levels of inflation by the introduction of a new currency, the Rentenmark, with tighter fiscal controls and reduction of bureaucracy, leading to a relative degree of political and economic stability.

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