I will suggest that a reason why Germany has been so powerful exists in two realms. The first would be that it is a major exporter, and this results in a trade surplus as opposed to a trade deficit. Another reason why Germany possesses economic strength is because they have joined the European Union, which has benefits for Germany, but they have also maintained and sustained trade relationships on their own. This has allowed them enjoy the best of both worlds, and contributing to economic strength.
No doubt that Marshall Plan and membership of European Union have helped German economy and industry. But I think we must give some credit to Germans also.
While I have not studied the reasons for Germany's success, the following factors appear to be good candidates.
- Well established German culture of industry.
- Well established large economic institutions such as banks. Although a lot of physical facilities in Germany were destroyed, the culture and the basic institutions remained intact.
- Technologically superior and innovative products developed and manufactured by Germany.
- Renewed determination of German people to reconstruct their nation after WW II.
- In absence of any defence program, Germany could concentrate all its resources and efforts for economic development.
After the WW II, Germany has rehabilitated itself, due to the Marshall plan, which has invested in Germany more than in any other country of Europe. Besides, their own sobriety and their dutifulness, the tax system built their economical strength.