Ludwig Erhard and the Economic Miracle


Ludwig Erhard was a West German statesman who is credited with West Germany’s spectacular economic recovery following World War II. The recover is often referred to as the “German economic miracle” Erhard advocated a social market economy, combining open market competition with a strong central bank and a social safety net to protect the disadvantaged. He opposed planned economies with price controls and high taxes.

Early Life of Ludwig Erhard

Ludwig Erhard came from modest circumstances. He attended school only to the junior secondary level, entered an apprenticeship program at age 16 and was drafted to serve in World War I. He was seriously wounded in 1918. Following the war, Ludwig Erhard attended college in Nuernberg and studied marketing, management, political economy and sociology at the University of Frankfurt/Main. After obtaining a doctorate, he became a consumer market researcher at the Institute of Restaurant Economics.

Ludwig Erhard becomes known as an economic expert

While the first German democracy collapsed in the aftermath of World War I and the Nazis established themselves, Ludwig Erhard maintained a low profile. But he also wrote a memo in 1944 on war financing and debt consolidation. That memo began with the assumption that Germany would lose the war. The document found its way to the Western Allies who saw in him a man who could help rebuild a democratic Germany. Erhard’s lack of compromising political ties and his reputation as an economic expert got him appointed as the Director of the Economic Council for the joint Anglo-American occupation zone.

At the same moment that the Allies introduced a new German currency, Ludwig Erhard abolished price controls. These were the darkest days of the postwar economic crisis. This decision became the foundation of Germany’s economic rebirth. The Black Market disappeared, shortages ended, and inflation halted.


Ludwig Erhard, "Father of the Economic Miracle"

Ludwig Erhard, “Father of the Economic Miracle”


Ludwig Erhard leads West Germany

When West Germany was established, Ludwig Erhard became Minister of Economics. The “Father of the Economic Miracle” held this post for 14 years and guided the West German economy through a recovery that outpaced the growth of the European countries that had won the war. In 1963, Ludwig Erhard became chancellor. He resigned in 1966 and died in Bonn, West Germany, in 1977.


For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, “Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom,” click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of

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