Bamberger, Ludwig

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BAMBERGER, LUDWIG (1823–1899), German banker, politician, and economist; leading advocate of a gold standard for German currency. He studied law at Heidelberg and practiced as an attorney in his native city of Mainz. He joined the revolutionary movement of 1848 and edited the republican newspaper Mainzer Zeitung which advocated the unification of Germany and democratic government. He took part in the insurrection of 1849, fled to Switzerland, and was condemned to death in absentia. When, in 1866, a general amnesty was declared, Bamberger returned to Germany, and entered politics as a liberal, sitting in the German Reichstag from 1871 to 1893. During the years of his exile in London and in Paris he had entered the family firm of *Bischoffsheim where he acquired considerable knowledge of finance. In 1870 he was a leading founding figure of the Deutsche Bank (together with Adelbert Delbrueck) and became one of Bismarck's principal advisers on financial matters after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. Later, Bamberger disagreed with Bismarck's policy of protective tariffs which he considered reactionary and in 1884 he and other followers seceded and formed the more liberal Freisinnige Partei. Though in opposition, he continued to exercise great influence on legislation of economic or financial character. He was an enthusiastic advocate of the gold standard and a champion of free trade and founded an association for its promotion. Bamberger was not a practicing Jew but in his memoirs he deplores German antisemitism. Stung by the antisemitic attacks of the German historian, Heinrich von Trietschke, he published a pamphlet "Deutschtum und Judentum" which was a vigorous rejoinder. He made numerous contributions to political and economic literature and his articles in the weekly Die Nation were published in book form under separate titles: Wandlungen und Wanderungen in der Sozialpolitik (1898); Bismarck Posthumus (1899). He also published his collected writings in five volumes (1894–98), and his memoirs appeared posthumously (1899).

add. bibliography:

S. Zucker, Ludwig Bamberger (in English, 1975); L. Gall (ed.), Die Deutsche Bank (1995); M.-L. Weber, Ludwig Bamberger (in German, 1987); B. Koehler, Ludwig Bamberger (in German, 1999).

[Joachim O. Ronall /

Marcus Pyka (2nd ed.)]