The Economic Miracle

During the 1950s, the population of West Germany experienced an economic miracle. Fueled by pent-up demand after the lean post-World War II years, people had many needs: clothing, household goods, and appliances. Young married couples began their new life under the same roof as their parents and often, grandparents.

Demand – and supply – for appliances was great, especially refrigerators and electric stoves. Also popular were washing machines, toasters, immersion heaters, and hair dryers. Luxury articles like radios and record players became more common toward the end of the decade. TV sets, on the other hand, were still out of financial reach for most households. If you didn’t have a relative or friend who owned a TV set, you would head to a Gasthaus (German for public house/tavern) to watch soccer games or other special programs. It is therefore no surprise that the 1950s were the golden decade for movie theaters – more than 6.000 in West Germany alone.

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