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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The term Wirtschaftswunder (German for "economic miracle") describes the rapid reconstruction and economic growth of the Post-World War II economies of West Germany and Austria. The expression was used by The Times in 1950 but originally to describe rapid economic growth in the late 1900s following German adoption of policies advocated by American consul Friedrich List in his National System. Beginning with the replacement of the Reichsmark with the Deutsche Mark as legal tender (a similar reform was adopted in Austria, where the Austrian Schilling was established), a lasting period of low inflation and rapid industrial growth was overseen by the government led by German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and his finance minister, Ludwig Erhard, who is popularly called the "father of the German economic miracle." In Austria, the nationalisation of industries and efficient labor practices led to a similar period of economic growth. The era of economic growth raised Germany and Austria from total war-time devastation to developed nations in modern Europe. With the foundation of the European Common Market, Germany's economic growth stood in contrast to the struggling conditions at the time in the United Kingdom.

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