Nazi Control of the Economy

            However, it is also necessary to analyse the other methods which the Nazi party used to maintain power. One aspect of Nazi rule which is potentially central to their stay in power was their control of the economy. Unemployment dropped significantly during Hitler’s reign- from 29.9% in 1932 to 0.2% in 1940- however, it was falling before Hitler took power, and most economists agree that it would have continued to fall without the Third Reich. However, ordinary Germans at the time were not to know this, so of course it would appear that the Nazis had solved a particularly pressing national problem. Also, the drop in unemployment would garner support for the Nazis from all of the people who gained jobs in that time. However, in actuality, on average, though more people were employed, most working class families’ living standards fell during Hitler’s rule. Large sums of money were spent constructing railway and Autobahnen networks. This worked in conjunction with the German Workers’ Front, as it provided employment for over 100,000 Germans. These were positive developments for Germany, and so the Nazis were looked upon favourably for them. Workers’ housing was also built, which again would have increased Nazi popularity as it gave working class families jobs with a home. If the Government needed money, it was simply printed, but this never got out of hand due to the Labour Front’s tight hold on wage levels. The Rearmament of Germany also created a great many jobs in shipyards, aircraft factories, engineering works and the like. This made the Nazis popular in fact in two ways. Firstly, it gave more people jobs, but secondly, and more universally, it began to restore German national pride. This is a crucial point as Germany was completely humiliated by the Treaty of Versailles and so the Nazis were held in high esteem for moving past this. The symbolic tearing of the Treaty was also seen as a restoration of German pride for which Hitler was admired by many. However, the rearmament was inflationary, causing imports to rise sharply, as the industries were paying their workers but not producing anything of commercial value. However, this did not have the chance to become a problem as the outbreak of war invoked emergency measures which allowed the Nazis to duck the potential problems of rising inflation and trade deficit, so no detrimental opinions were formed on the subject.

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