The Fall of the House of Speyer: The Story of a Banking Dynasty

The Fall of the House of Speyer: The Story of a Banking Dynasty

by George W. Liebmann

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The dramatic story of the last fifty years of the Speyer banking dynasty, a Jewish family of German descent, is surprisingly little known today, yet at the turn of the twentieth century, Speyer was the third largest investment banking firm in the United States, behind only Morgan and Kuhn, Loeb. It had branches in London, Frankfurt and New York, and the projects it financed included the Southern Pacific Railroad, the London Underground and the infrastructure of the new Cuban republic. Later, it was the first major banking firm to finance Germany's Weimar Republic, as well as providing League of Nations loans to Hungary, Greece and Bulgaria. Yet, the firm was doomed by the nationalist passions aroused by World War I. Its English partner was denaturalised and exiled; its American partner enjoyed reduced standing because of his connection to Germany; and the Frankfurt branch closed with the coming of the Third Reich, its German partner fleeing into exile. The firm was dissolved in 1939, a surprisingly anticlimactic end to one of the great international banking companies of modern times. George W. Liebmann here tells the story of the firm and the family – shedding new light on the protagonists of a remarkable dynasty, who came undone in the dramatic years of the early twentieth century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780857729286
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication date: 08/06/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 8 MB

About the Author

George W. Liebmann is a lawyer and historian specialising in American and international history. His publications include Diplomacy Between the Wars: Five Diplomats and the Shaping of the Modern World and The Last American Diplomat: John D Negroponte and the Changing Face of US Diplomacy (both I.B.Tauris).

Table of Contents


Early Days

The London Tube / English Philanthropy / The House of Music / The Scott Expeditions / Leonora / Influence on the Liberal Party / Anti-Germanism and Its Consequences

Mediation Efforts / Ellin / U.S. Railway Promotions / Cuban Loans / Philippine Railroads / Mexican Railroads / Brazilian Loans / Industrial and Municipal Investments

Rehabilitating Central Europe / Last Days in Germany

Epilogue: James Speyer Kronthal

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