The current debt crisis in Europe evokes painful memories of the German hyperinflation. Price increases began with the start of World War I in 1914 and ended in disaster in 1923. The event still influences sentiment about monetary policy in the country today.
There's a number that illustrates the brutal dynamics of the hyperinflation of 1923 better than anything else. It's the number four. In the fall of 1923, prices were doubling in Germany approximately every four days.
Grotesque price increases have occurred in other countries and at other times, such as in Greece in 1944, China in 1949 and Zimbabwe in 2008. But hyperinflation has left behind deeper scars in Germany than anywhere else. Three generations after the collapse of the German mark, the fear of hyperinflation is more alive today than ever before.