Advertisement

Abstract

There seems to be no doubt among scholars assessing its modern economic growth that in the period from the middle of the 1830s to the early 1870s, the German economy gained momentum for an unprecedented rate of growth. Thus according to Hoffmann’s figures, between 1850 and 1913 net domestic product grew at an average yearly rate of 2.6 per cent; from 1850 to 1871 it was somewhat lower but still well above 2 per cent. The per capita figures were around 1.5 per cent a year (1).

Keywords

Import Substitution Freight Rate Trade Diversion Railway Construction Iron Export 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 1.
    W. G. Hoffmann et al., Das Wachstum der deutschen Wirtschaft seit der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts (Berlin, 1965) p. 13; on population data ibid., pp. 172–4; on value added figures ibid., pp. 454 f.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    On the railway mileage see R. Fremdling, Eisenbahnen und deutsches Wirtschaftswachstum, 1840–1879: Ein Beitrag zur Entwicklungstheorie und zur Theorie der Infrastruktur (Dortmund, 1975) p. 48; on the railways’ share in the economy’s capital stock, ibid., p. 30.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    A broad discussion of the following issues is to be found ibid., pp. 107–63. The early history of railway construction, its driving forces in the context of Germany’s level of economic development with a special emphasis on the role of governmental authorities versus the bourgeoisie, represented by agents of merchant capital, has recently been exemplified by P. Beyer, Leipzig and die Anfange des deutschen Eisenbahnbaus. Die Strecke nach Magdeburg als zweitälteste deutsche Fernverbindung und das Ringen der Kaufleute um ihr Entstehen1829–1840 (Weimar, 1978). The scope of this study is much broader than the title suggests; Beyer complements and moreover revises the works by Marxist scholars, e.g. Mottek and Eichholtz. He underlines the hindering role of state bureaucracy, but he sets forth the key role commercial bourgeoisie played in promoting the first long-distance railways.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    In this paragraph I draw mainly on R. Fremdling, ‘Railroads and German Economic Growth: A Leading Sector Analysis with a Comparison to the United States and Great Britain’, Journal of Economic History, XXXVII (1977) pp. 583–604; furthermore see Fremdling, Eisenbahnen und deutsches Wirtschaftswachstum, pp. 74–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 6.
    On capital formation in Prussia during the 1840s see R. H. Tilly, ‘Capital Formation in Germany in the Nineteenth Century’, Cambridge Economic History of Europe, VII (1978) pp. 382–441. According to his estimates, railway investment far exceeded that of manufacturing and was about the same level as agricultural investment and non-agricultural construction.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 7.
    See for example H. Wagenblass, Der Eisenbahnbau und das Wachstum der deutschen Eisen- und Maschinenbauindustrie, 1835–1860 (Stuttgart, 1973) pp. 23 ff.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Prussia, Ministerium für Handel, Gewerbe und öffentliche Arbeiten, Statistische Nachrichten von den Preussisehen Eisenbahnen, vols. 1–27 (Berlin, 1855–80). All newly purchased locomotives are referred to in a special section of each volume.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    The significance of locomotive construction for the whole engineering sector is shown by their increasing proportion of all steam engines. Measured by horse power, the locomotive shares were as follows (in percentages): 1840 = 2.8; 1846 = 35.7; 1855 = 55.0; 1861 = 56.5; 1875 = 74.0. Source: E. Engel, ‘Das Zeitalter des Dampfes in technischstatistischer Beleuchtung’, Zeitschrift des Königlich Preussischen Statistischen Bureaus (1880) p. 122.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    R. W. Fogel, Railroads and American Economic Growth: Essays in Econometric History (Baltimore, 1964) pp. 147–90;Google Scholar
  10. A. Fishlow, American Railroads and the Transformation of the Antebellum Economy (Cambridge, Mass., 1965) pp. 132–49.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    For example in the 1973 published work on the backward linkage effects of the German railway by Wagenblaes, Der Eisenbahnbau, pp. 268–270; he relied on the contemporary estimates done by Oechelhäuser for his 1852 publication: W. Oechelhäuser, Vergleichende Statistik der Eisen-Industrie aller Länder und Erörterung ihrer ökonomischen Lage im Zollverein (Berlin, 1852) pp. 129–31.Google Scholar
  12. In the second issue of his book Oechelhäuser stressed the growing importance of railways as suppliers of iron: ‘… dass wir bereits bedeutende Walzwerke haben, die mehr Stabeisen und Schienen aus altem Eisen als aus Roheisen darstellen’ (There are important rolling mills which produce more bar iron and rails from scrapped iron than from pig iron). W. Oechelhäuser, Die Eisenindustrie des Zollvereins in ihrer neueren Entwicklung (Duisburg, 1855) p. 64; see also ibid., p. 74.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cf. Fishlow, American Railroads, p. 142; Fogel, Railroads and American Economic Growth, p. 132; G. R. Hawke, Railways and Economic Growth in England and Wales, 1840–1870 (Oxford, 1970) p. 240;Google Scholar
  14. W. Vamplew, ‘The Railways and the Iron Industry: A Study of their Relationship in Scotland’, in M.C. Reed (ed), Railways in the Victorian Economy (New York, 1968) pp. 66, 74; see alsoGoogle Scholar
  15. B. R. Mitchell, ‘The Coming of the Railway and United Kingdom Economic Growth’, in M. C. Reed (ed), Railways in the Victorian Economy (New York, 1968) pp. 13–32.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wagenblass, Der Eisenbahnbau, pp. 85, 171 f.; see also T. C. Banfield, Industry of the Rhine (London, 1848, rpt. New York, 1969) pp. 48, 236 f.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    See M. Sering, Geschichte der preussisch-deutschenEisenzölle von 1818 bis zur Gegenwart (Leipzig, 1882) pp. 292 f., 300 f.; for rails the relation between imports and exports of the Zollverein was as follows (source, ibid.):Google Scholar
  18. 19.
    On pig iron production see H. Marchand, Säkularstatistik der deutschen Eisenindustrie (Essen, 1939) p. 115. It was not before 1855 that coke-smelted pig iron exceeded charcoal-smelted pig iron in Prussia, where nearly all German coke-using blast furnaces were located, ibid., p.39.Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    As shown by Spree in his analysis of the cyclical pattern of non-agricultural output in Germany between 1840 and 1880, the railway was the dominating cycle-maker. R. Spree, Die Wachstumszyklen der deutschen Wirtschaft von 1840 bis 1880 (Berlin, 1977) pass., in particular pp. 261–312.Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    For coal mining see C.-L. Holtfrerich, Quantitative Wirtschaftsgeschichte des Ruhrkohlenbergbaus ’im 19. Jahrhundert (Dortmund, 1973).Google Scholar
  21. 24.
    C. K. Hyde, Technological Change and the British Iron Industry, 1700–1870 (Princeton, 1977) p. 173.Google Scholar
  22. 28.
    In this paragraph I draw mainly on Fremdling, Eisenbahnen und deutsches Wirtschaftswachstum, pp. 55–73; see also R. Fremdling, ‘Modernisierung und Wachstum der Schwerindustrie in Deutschland, 1830–1860’, Geschichte und Gesellschaft (1979) pp. 201–27.Google Scholar
  23. 29.
    R. Fremdling, ‘Freight Rates and State Budget, The Role of the National Prussian Railways, 1880–1913’, Journal of European Economic History, IX (1980) pp. 21–39.Google Scholar
  24. 30.
    E. Adolph, Ruhrkohlenbergbau, Transportwesen und Eisenbahntarifpolitik (Berlin, 1927) p. 120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 31.
    Calculated from F. Ulrich, ‘Die fortschreitende Ermässigung der Eisenbahngütertarife’, Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie, und Statistik, 3 series, I (1891) p. 58, table 5; Holtfrerich, Quantitative Wirtschaftsgeschichte, p. 22.Google Scholar
  26. 32.
    K. Bloemers, ‘Der Eisenbahntarif-Kampf’, in K. E. Born (ed), Moderne deutsche Wirtschaftsgeschichte (Köln, 1966) pp. 151–70;Google Scholar
  27. Martini, ‘Die Einführung des Einpfennigtarifs für die Beförderung oberschlesischer und westfälischer Kohlen nach Berlin’, Archiv für Eisenbahnwesen (1890) pp. 533–52.Google Scholar
  28. 33.
    Archiv für Eisenbahnwesen, p. 533; Prussia, Königlich Preussischer Minister der öffentlichen Arbeiten, Berlin und seine Eisenbahnen, 1846–1896, vol. 2 (Berlin, 1896) pp. 356 ff. The state controlled the other railway company involved.Google Scholar
  29. 34.
    For price data see: Prussia, Königlich Preussisches Ministerium für Handel, Gewerbe und öffentliche Arbeiten, Erläuterungen zu der Karte über die Production, Consumtion und Circulation der mineralischen Brennstoffe in Preussen während des Jahres 1871 (Berlin, 1873) Appendix C.Google Scholar
  30. 35.
    Ibid. These detailed statistics were published for 1860, 1862, 1865, 1871, 1881. They comprised information for up to several hundred cities in the last edition for 1881. Later, however, British coal was able to slightly increase its market share again. On this see Fremdling, Eisenbahnen und deutsches Wirtschaftswachstum, p. 63.Google Scholar
  31. 38.
    See R. Heidmann, Hamburgs Kohlenhandel (Hamburg, 1897) pp. 5 f., a. pass.; in 1913 Ruhr coal had a market share of 39.2 per cent, whereas British coal delivered the remaining 60.1 per cent to Hamburg. H. Schoene, Der Wettbewerb zwischen Eisenbahn und Rheinschiffahrt und sein Einfluss auf die Kohlenzufuhr nach Baden, Württemberg und dem Rechtsrheinischen Bayern, Doctoral Dissertation (Köln, 1923) p. 1.Google Scholar
  32. 42.
    The general discussion on the issue of social savings is comprisingly summarised by P. O’Brien, The New Economic History of the Railways (London, 1977) pp. 22–54. For recent assessment see now the Presidential address to the Economic History Association by R. W. Fogel, ‘Notes on the Social Saving Controversy’, Journal of Economic History, XXXIX (1979) pp. 1–54.Google Scholar
  33. 44.
    See for example W. v. Nördling, Die Selbstkosten des Eisenbahn-Transportes und die Wasserstrassen-Frage in Frankreich, Preussen und Österreich (Wien, 1885) pp. 155 ff.Google Scholar
  34. 46.
    R. Fremdling and G. Hohorst, ‘Marktintegration der preussischen Wirtschaft im 19. Jahrhundert-Skizze eines Forschungsansatzes zur Fluktuation der Roggenpreise zwischen 1821 und 1865’, in R. Fremdling, R. H. Tilly (eds), Industrialisierung und Raum (Stuttgart, 1979) p. 64 f.Google Scholar
  35. 47.
    In the early nineteenth century no systematic network of canals was constructed which could have supplemented the navigable rivers, and the few canals which existed had mainly been built in the middle of the eighteenth century. On this subject see E. Sax, Land- und Wasserstrassen. Post, Telegraph, Telefon. Die Verkehrsmittel in Volks- und Staatswirtschaft, vol. 2 (Berlin, 1920) p. 328 f. and Nördling, Die Selbstkosten, pp. 134f.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 48.
    On this see the recent contribution by R. H. Dumke, The Political Economy of German Economic Unification: Tariffs, Trade and Politics of the Zollverein Era (Doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1976).Google Scholar
  37. 49.
    The introduction of the railway in Germany during the nineteenth century has recently been used as a paradigm or guide to assess the potential effects of a future high-speed and long-distance transport system by P. B. Huber, Die deutsche Eisenbahnentwicklung: Wegweiser für eine zukünftige Fernschnellbahn?, Deutsche Forschungs- und Versuchsanstalt für Luft- und Raumfahrt (Köln, 1978). In the context of the debate on the historical importance of railway construction Huber’s conclusion is remarkable: ‘A detailed comparison of the supply and demand conditions prevailing on the introduction of the railway and of a potential future high-performance system yields the conclusion that neither the success of the railroad nor its importance is likely to be duplicated in the foreseeable future.’ This conclusion is drawn by taking a full and moreover sympathetic account of the revisionistic approach through which New Economic Historians defined the role railways had played.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© St Antony’s College, Oxford 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rainer Fremdling

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations