Before Hitler: The Expansionary Programme of the Brauns Commission

  • Antonio MagliuloEmail author
Part of the Archival Insights into the Evolution of Economics book series (AIEE)


In spring 1931, Friedrich Hayek sent an article to Wilhelm Röpke, who at that time was the most authoritative member of the ‘Brauns Kommission,’ a board of experts appointed by Heinrich Bruning’s government to put forward proposals that might reduce the dramatic rise in unemployment. The Commission had just published a Report containing guidelines for an expansionary policy based on public works. This chapter provides the stylized facts that characterize the business cycle in which the Great Depression is embedded; examines the expansionary programme put forward by the Brauns Commission; Hayek’s criticism and Röpke’s defence; and explains how Heinrich Brüning’s government (30 March 1930–30 May 1932), after considering the Brauns (and Lautenbach) Plans, decided to continue with their deflationary policy. Adolf Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933.


  1. Borchardt, K. (1991). Perspectives on Modern German Economic History and Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Eichengreen, B. (1992). Golden Fetters. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Eick, E. (1963). A History of the Weimar Republic. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Gregg, S. (2010). Wilhelm Röpke’s Political Economy. Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Haberler, G. (1963). Prosperity and Depression. New York: Atheneum.Google Scholar
  6. Hagemann, H. (Ed.). (2002). Business Cycle Theory: Selected Texts, 1860–1939. London: Pickering and Chatto.Google Scholar
  7. Hayek, F. A. (1931a [1935]). Prices and Production (2nd ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan (1st ed. 1931).Google Scholar
  8. Hayek, F. A. (1931b). Konjunkturankurbelung durch Investitionen? In H. Klausinger (Ed.), F. A. Hayek Geld und Konjunktur (I, 499–506). Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Google Scholar
  9. Hayek, F. A. (1932 [1984]). Das Schicksal der Goldwährung. Deutsche Volkswirt, February. Reprinted under the title The Fate of the Gold Standard. In R. McCloughry (Ed.), Money, Capital and Fluctuations: Early Essays (pp. 118–135). London: Routledge & Kegan.Google Scholar
  10. Hayek, F. A. (1933 [1939]). Der Stand und die nächste Zunkunft der Konjinktur forschung. Translated into English under the title The Present State and Immediate Prospects of the Study of Industrial Fluctuations. In F. A. Hayek, Profits, Interest and Investment (pp. 171–182). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Hayek, F. A. (1975a). A Discussion with Friedrich A. von Hayek (pp. 1–20). Held at the American Enterprise Institute on April 9, 1975. Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.Google Scholar
  12. Hayek, F. A. (1975b). Full Employment at Any Price? (pp. 3–52) (Occasional Paper 45). London: The Institute of Economic Affairs.Google Scholar
  13. Hicks, J. R. (1967). The Hayek Story. In J. R. Hicks (Ed.), Critical Essays in Monetary Theory (pp. 203–215). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hudson, M. (1985). German Economists and the Depression of 1929–1933. History of Political Economy, 1, 35–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Keynes, J. M. (1930 [1971]). A Treatise on Money. In The Collected Writings of J.M. Keynes (Vols. V, VI). London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  16. Keynes, J. M. (1931 [1973]). An Economic Analysis of Unemployment. In The Collected Writings of J.M. Keynes (Vol. XIII, pp. 343–367). London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  17. Kindleberger, C. P. (1986). The World in Depression 1929–1939 (Revised and Enlarged Edition). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  18. Klausinger, H. (1995). Schumpeter and Hayek: Two Views of the Great Depression Re-examined. History of Economic Ideas, 3, 93–127.Google Scholar
  19. Klausinger, H. (1999). German Anticipations of the Keynesian Revolution? The Case of Lautenbach, Neisser and Röpke. The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 3, 378–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Klausinger, H. (2001). Gustav Stolper, Der deutsche Volkswirt, and the Controversy on Economic Policy at the End of the Weimar Republic. History of Political Economy, 2, 241–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Klausinger, H. (2012). Introduction. In Business Cycles, Part. II, Collected Works of F.A. Hayek (pp. 1–43). Carmel: Liberty Fund.Google Scholar
  22. Lee, S. J. (2010). The Weimar Republic (2nd ed.). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Magliulo, A. (2012). The Great Depression of 1929 in Italy: Economists’ Views and Government Policy. In M. Psalidopoulos (Ed.), The Great Depression in Europe: Economic Thought and Policy in a National Context (pp. 153–185). Athens: Alpha Bank, Historical Archives.Google Scholar
  24. Magliulo, A. (2016). Hayek and the Great Depression of 1929: Did He Really Change His Mind? European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 1, 31–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nicholls, A. J. (1994). Freedom with Responsibility: The Social Market Economy in Germany 1918–1963. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  26. Overy, R. J. (1996). The Nazi Economic Recovery 1932–1938 (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
  27. Patch, W. L. (1998). Heinrich Brüning and the Dissolution of the Weimar Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Robbins, L. (1934 [1971]). The Great Depression. New York: Freeport. Reprinted in 1971.Google Scholar
  29. Röpke, W. (1931). Praktische Konjunkturpolitik. Die Arbeit der Brauns-Kommission. Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, 34, 423–464.Google Scholar
  30. Röpke, W. (1933a). Die sekundäre Krise und ihre Überwindung. In Economic Essays in Honour of Gustav Cassel. London: Frank Cass.Google Scholar
  31. Röpke, W. (1933b). Trends in German Business Cycle Policy. Economic Journal, 171, 427–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Röpke, W. (1936). Crises and Cycles. London: William Hodge (Originally Published in German in 1932).Google Scholar
  33. Röpke, W. (1937 [1963]). Economics of Free Society. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company (First Published in Austria in 1937).Google Scholar
  34. Rothbard, R. M. (1963 [2000]). America’s Great Depression (5th ed.). Auburn: Mises Institute (1st ed. 1963).Google Scholar
  35. Schulze, H. (1987). La repubblica di Weimar. La Germania dal 1917 al 1933 (German Edition, 1982). Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  36. Temin, P. (1989). Lessons from the Great Depression. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  37. Tooze, A. (2007). The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EconomicsUNINT UniversityRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations