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How far can it be said that Nazi policies in Germany were more successful in reducing the effects of the Great Depression than the approaches taken by other European countries?

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Introduction

How far can it be said that Nazi policies in Germany were more successful in reducing the effects of the Great Depression than the approaches taken by other European countries? Throughout 1929 and even some way into the 1930 few people appreciated that the world was on the point of experiencing one of the worst depressions in history (1914-1990 The European Economy pg63). The Great Depression began in 1929 in the United States and spread, affecting almost all of the countries in the world. It was a depression combining duration and great severity and it had a tremendous effect on Europe. By the mid-1930's most countries were in the midst of a deep depression. John Maynard Keynes called it "The Greatest catastrophe". Most countries initially continued in their 'laissez-faire' approach until literally forced to intervene and once they did intervene with one or two notable expectations, the intervention was orthodox. For example Britain's attempt at a recovery was remarkably orthodox. The economic crisis did not give rise to big public works project. Fiscal policy was very orthodox. The government were reluctant to deficit finance, the aim was to balance the budget. Apart from a small increase in public expenditure between 1929 and 1931, government spending (both at central and local levels) ...read more.

Middle

Whilst other countries like Britain and France continued with their liberal economic policies and also Sweden to some point, the German economy travelled in the opposite direction moving from a sceptical introduction of states policies in 1933 to a command economy. Without such a 'package' the economy might not have recovered to the extent that it did in the way that Hitler's future war plans dictated (The Nazi Economic Recovery 1932-1938 p41). The central feature of Nazi policy was, nevertheless, a programme of government spending and public investment designed to stimulate and demand and expand income. Hitler argued that economic recovery would only occur 'if measures are taken again and again with energetic attacks and fanatical tenacity against unemployment". The Third Reich was originally piece orientated, concentrating on the eradication of unemployment. Germany again had one of the worst records, between 1929 and 1930 unemployment had doubled to reach a figure of 4.5 million, two years later it had crept up to 6 million. This was seen as crucial to electoral success. As soon as the Nazi party gained power they extended the relief policy by launching a massive public works programme, some 6 billion reichsmarks were spent. This after a period of time soon cleaned up a good deal of the unemployment. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sweden the country that had undertook a similar sort of line to the Nazi policy of large public spending was the second best performing economy in the recovery period. Germany was the only country to eliminate unemployment and her record in aggregate output was impressive. Germany's policy differed from Britain's, where are Britain argued money was better spent in the private sector, Hitler re-directed funds from the private to the public sector. Forced saving and price fixing kept demand for consumer good under control. So if the Nazi party were more successful in pulling Germany out of the recession, why did they succeed? Some people point to the authoritarian government. This style of government allowed them to push through whatever they liked and since there was no effective opposition as they was so much dislike for the Weimar government, it allowed the Nazi party to do what it liked. However given the high priority accorded to investment by the government it is not surprising that the productive performance of the economy was not higher (Nazi Economic Recovery 1932-1938 pg 55). R.J. Overy also states that because the state had taken control over large sections of the economy and areas of investment, market pressures were missing from increasing efficiency. Also since the economy had been geared towards capital goods, there was a lack of consumer goods and services, shops were running out of food. ...read more.

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