Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type



Moore School of Business

Director of Thesis

Dr. Agnes Mueller

First Reader

Dr. Gerald McDermott

Second Reader

Dr. Gerald McDermott


This paper examines the state of Germany immediately after World War II, describing how the American government intervened in West German reconstruction. It analyzes three specific German companies that overcame hardship in the 1940s and 50s and have become powerhouses today. Additionally, an overview of the current German economy shows how the country is positioned as a world leader.

Research was conducted using literary print sources, scholarly internet databases, and a formal interview with Klaus Becker, Honorary Consul to Germany. He is a German-American businessman who has held roles in several non-political associations, including President of the Charlotte World Trade Association, President of the North Carolina German-American Chamber of Commerce, and Founder of the Zeitgeist Foundation. The interview offered a personal account of life in postwar Germany and an important take on German-American relations.

Several influential factors contributed to Germany’s Wirtschaftswunder, although one stands out: American aid. American forces implemented necessary economic and political reforms and cultivated a working business environment in West Germany. Decades later, Germany is known for its superior quality of manufactured goods and dominates the market in several industries such as chemicals and automotive vehicles.

American economic aid in West Germany in the 1940s and 50s was a key factor in Germany’s return to the economic superpower and world leader it is today.

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© 2020, Gabriella Barber and Emily T Carlstrom