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Abstract Using social tables, this article provides new data on inequality in Germany and Britain on an annual basis for the first half of the twentieth century. Inequality trends in these two countries tended to follow opposite patterns. The decline in inequality in Germany was interrupted during the First World War and the Nazi period, while in Britain the reversal took place between the end of the First World War and the Great Depression. Results show that the drop in inequality during the twentieth century in Europe did not follow secular trends, thus supporting the notion of inequality cycles.