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Did Hitler achieve an economic miracle?

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Presentation on theme: "Did Hitler achieve an economic miracle?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Did Hitler achieve an economic miracle?

2 Unemployment in Germany/Total
January million January million January million January million January million January million January ,000 Is this evidence for an economic miracle?

3 “History will judge us according to whether we have succeeded in providing work.”

4 Aims: Understand Nazi economic policies
Make historical judgement regarding success of policies Situation in 1933 Unemployment Autarky National Labour Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst or RAD) German Labour Front / Robert Ley Strength through Joy (Kraft durch Freude /KdF) Hjalmar Schacht Conclusion: was there an economic miracle?

5 Situation in 1933 Recap: discuss in pairs for 2 minutes what the situation was in 1933 (you’ve already covered it!)

6 Situation in 1933: crisis Unemployment peaked at 6 million during the final days of the Weimar Republic – near enough 50% of the nation’s working population Government unable to resolve problems Great Depression sparked by Wall Street Crash Hitler had promised to get German’s working again - propaganda played on fear of no hope This was his economic priority:drive for full employment: aim of first 4 year plan (1932-6)

7 Economic policy? Before coming into power rhetoric had been socialist e.g. control of big business This did not survive into practice Economic discussion in party forbidden “Let them own land or factories as much as they please” state is supreme over owners and workers - Hitler So economics was subordinate to politics

8 Unemployment in Germany/Total
January million January million January million January million January million January million January ,000 Reminder of figures

9 Methods used to decrease unemployment
Aim of first 4 year plan (1932-6) Public works schemes (started by Von Papen and Bruning) extended: Arbeitdienst - afforestation & water conservation schemes Also building barracks & motorways (Autobahnen) 7000km Regulations: labour not machines

10 Unemployment did decrease
But: how much of this was propaganda? Women no longer included in the statistics so any women who remained out of work under the Nazi’s rule did not exist as far as the statistics were concerned. The unemployed were given a very simple choice: do whatever work is given to you by the government or be classed as "work-shy" and put in a concentration camp. Jews lost their citizenship in 1935 and as a result were not included in unemployment figures even though many lost their employment at the start of Hitler’s time in power. Many young men were taken off of the unemployment figure when conscription was brought in (1935) and men had to do their time in the army etc. By 1939, the army was 1.4 million strong. To equip these men with weapons etc., factories were built and this took even more off of the unemployment figure.

11 Autarky (self-sufficiency)
Think: what were the possible aims for autarky? Why was it needed?

12 Autarky (self-sufficiency)
Second aim of 4 year plan Goering in overall charge / Hjalmar Schacht - Reichsbank president also influential (later Minister of Economics) Independent of world economic trends Necessary because of boycotts & possible war Bilateral agreements with Balkan countries Less successful than hoped: by 1939 oil production 40% of what hoped & 30% raw materials imported

13 Schacht and Big Business
Larger enterprises supported - needed for rearmament and self sufficiency Paid off foreign debts in Reichmarks Trade agreements Financial orthodoxy - reluctant to spend more than income nearly stopped rearmament Showpiece successes

14 Hermann Goering Steel Works at Salzgitter

15 The Peasants Protected from rising industrial prices and falling income from goods Debts suspended for Mar-Oct 1933 Imported goods = higher tarriffs Only Aryan farmers Law went against larger farming units & modern methods - didn’t help search for autarky


17 National Labour Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst or RAD)
Public works Wore a military style uniform, lived in camps near to where they were working and received only what we would term pocket money Compared to the lack of success of the Weimar government and the chronic misery of 1931 to 1932, felt at least the Nazi government was making the effort to improve their lot

18 German Labour Front Set up by Robert Ley
Equivalent of banned trades unions Workers could not be sacked on the spot - had to have government permission to leave jobs Government labour exchanges organised jobs Hours 60 to 72 per week Strikes banned

19 Kraft durch Freude (KdF)
Strength Through Joy Organised workers’ leisure time Subsidised activities and holidays Volkswagens - hire purchase

20 Conclusion Production had increased Unemployment had decreased
Workers lost freedoms Wages never rose above levels Were they better off? KdF Economy ‘chaotic’: low foreign currency reserves; deficit Confiscation of Jewish property & Austrian assets after Anschluss Still impressive results FOR STATS SEE PAGE 316

21 Interpretations Marxists: Nazi regime front for capitalist aims (Trade unions / big business) Cf. T. W. Mason - ‘primacy of politics’ (co-operation until 1936) How far did economic recovery depend on war preparation? Some debate over this: Klein (didn’t want tough measure to alienate) denied success related to war preparation - strong economic activity vs Milward (more prepared for war) Both interpretations subsequently challenged Karl Bracher: ‘ruination’ of economy through exploitation - aiming for rearmament

22 The Bigger Picture German (and other countries) already beginning to recover by 1933 Recovery depended on heavy state control Unsound basis: no overseas investment so many loans (often forced) = heavy deficit Not geared up for total war from the start Once Nazis put on total war economy in 1943 increases remarkable but too late

23 An economic miracle? In pairs draw up a list of factors pro and con the existence of an economic miracle

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