Financial Chaos and the Resignation of Cuno

  • Hermann J. Rupieper
Part of the Studies in Contemporary History book series (SICH, volume 1)


Besides foreign policy problems, the Cuno cabinet had also inherited unsolved domestic problems from its predecessors. While reparations remained the single most important issue in foreign affairs, the cabinet slowly overcame its domestic paralysis during the summer of 1923 and endeavored to tackle the country’s major domestic problem — the adaptation of taxation to monetary inflation. The constant depreciation of the mark followed by a decline of its purchasing power had made the balancing of the budget more and more difficult during 1922. When the Reich’s budget for 1923 was discussed in the Ministry of Finance, it had become clear that growing inflation had made calculations of expenditures and revenues nearly impossible. The Ministry’s bureaucracy clearly recognized the effect of currency depreciation upon the Reich’s fiscal system. Indeed, this system was the result of Matthias Erzberger’s reforms in 1919 and had been developed under the precondition that the currency could be stabilized and that reparations would be adjusted to Germany’s capacity to pay.1 Nevertheless, the bureaucracy proved unwilling or unable to base taxation upon gold marks or any other stable standard of values.


Discount Rate Foreign Exchange Foreign Currency Treasury Bill Food Stuff 
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    See especially: Klaus Epstein, Matthias Erzberger und das Dilemma der deutschen Demokratie (Frankfurt, Berlin, Wien 19762), 2nd ed., pp. 373–391.Google Scholar
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    Stresemann, op. cit., I, pp. 77–78. A different version is given by Marx. Marx-Nachlaβ, I, p. 186. He reports that Brüninghaus of the DVP told him that the DVP couldno longer support Cuno.Google Scholar
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    Kab. Cuno, No. 243, August 10, 1923, 10 p.m.Google Scholar
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    Marx-Nachlaβ, I, p. 286.Google Scholar
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    Kab. Cuno, No. 247, August 12, 1923. This meeting gives some details of the events the night before.Google Scholar
  153. 144.
    Ibid., No. 246, August 12, 1923.Google Scholar
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    Vorwärts, No. 374, August 12; DAZ, No. 269, August 12; Frankfurter Zeitung, No. 598, August 11; Vossische Zeitung, No. 373, August 9.Google Scholar
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    Ibid. See also No. 246 and No. 247. Moldenhauer (DVP) reports in his diary that Cuno felt he was overthrown by the Center. Moldenhauer Nachlaβ, No. 1, p. 132.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., No. 246, footnote 12. General v. Seeckt’s letter to his sister, August 19, 1923, Seeckt Nachlaβ, No. 67.Google Scholar
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    Kab. Cuno, No. 250, Havenstein died in November, and Marx wrote later on “Zum Glück starb am 20.11. Havenstein.” Marx Nachlaβ, I, p. 286.Google Scholar
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    Rosenberg-London, August 13, 1923, PA AA, Büro RM, Reparationen, D 720892. It is possible that Curzon’s note which was made public the same day was a last minute attempt to keep Cuno in office, or to aid the formation of a new cabinet. Von Rosenberg had discussed the matter with Lord D’Albernon on August 11 and had announced that Cuno would resign. Kab. Cuno, No. 246, August 12, 1923.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hermann J. Rupieper

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