The aim of employing the nation was a definite success, with only 0.2 million unemployed by 1938, and an overall success of 0.8 million more employed in comparison with1928. However wages for the employed steadily decreased as a percentage of national income. The Public Works Schemes brought about a large number of jobs in building of autobahns and hoems. . Tax concessions and grants were provided, which stimulated demand to further strengthen the economy. More jobs were created in government bureaucracy and subsidies were given for hiring workers in the private sector. In terms of employment, Nazi ideology was most definitely not neglected, shown by the fact that jobs for Jews and married women became limited. Likewise, the RAD (Youth Service) took young people off the unemployment register and then all 18-25 year old males were removed from conscription in 1935 and placed in military service. This meant that the numbers in the armed forces grew from 100.000 in 1933 to 1.400.00, in order to prepare for the arguably inevitable war, thereby partly fulfilling the aims of a Wehrwirtschaft.
Autarky in basic food groups such as bread and vegetables was very close to being achieved, the production of goods nearly tripled between 1933 and 1938, national income nearly doubled and again, Germany was indeed prepared enough to achieve European dominance by 1941. However, it should be pointed out that due to the policy of deficit financing government expenditure was nearly twice that of its revenue. Other failures are that as late as 1939, Germany was still reliant on foreign imports for a third of her raw materials needed to sustain a Wehrwirtschaft, especially iron, and Four Year Plan targets for oil and rubber were not met. Also in existence was the debate known as ‘guns or butter’ which divided the government over the issue of whether the people should be provided with all they needed, i.e. butter, or that Wehrwirtschaft would be pushed forward even further, i.e. guns. This emphasises that although there were successes in war preparation, the people may have suffered, as will be discussed later.
The successes of Hitler’s economic aims varied according to demographics. The protection of the economic interests of the Mittelstand did not really come about. Two laws, the 1933 Law to Protect Retail Trade meant that special taxes were placed on large stores, and the Reich Entailed Farm Law protected peasants and farms from creditors, yet there were no real benefits for the middle classes. Many went bankrupt, including artisans, whose number decreased, not helped by the cartelisation process. Long hours, low incomes and generally poor conditions own farms meant that the Mittelstand did not make the expected gains. SOPADE noted that ‘the small businessmen are in a condition of gloom and despondency’, so it can be said that overall the Nazi economy failed the Mittelstand. It would seem that the elite and big business were the social group who experience the greatest benefit from the new German economy. The income of big business increased by 116%, as rearmament benefited rich industrialists. Two examples of this success are the Daimler-Benz Aeroplane Company, which was state funded and their production rose by 800% and the IG Farben chemical company also benefited. The historian Hiden states that ‘profits went above all to the industrialists, who were prepared to collaborate actively with the regime’, indicating that success depended upon working with the Nazis such as by working long hours to reach targets. Conversely, this group had to tolerate more government intervention and therefore lost their political influence, which resulted in them becoming suspicious of the regime. In this way although the elite and big businesses benefited from this change to the economy, which for them was a success, the Nazi’s lost popularity with this group. The greatest improvement due to the economy for workers was employment and ‘Councils of Trust’ which represented their views in order to create a feeling of a Volksgemeinschaft, despite the abolition of trade unions. The Strength Through Joy movement provided incentives for good work and the Beauty of Work campaign financed the improvement of facilities. The Nazi Ley even went as far as acknowledging that ‘without the German worker, there is no German nation’. Yet, perhaps this only meant when creating a Wehrwirtschaft, as the general lifestyle of workers decreased, as they ate much less enjoyably and healthily, with less wheat bread and beer. By 1939 workers were under the control of the government who could direct them in any way they wished and employment was used against them, when they complained about the poor conditions.
In conclusion, the economy can be said to have been neither a great success nor a great failure.. reduce state benefits, increase public expenditure and investment and stimulate consumer demand; all crucial for a healthy economy. Hitler was resolute that Germany had to be strengthened principally in a militarily sense. Rearmament and autarky were always contradictory, as Germany had need of more raw materials than she possessed, which would mean looking overseas. Therefore, not all the aims of Hitler’s new economy could ever be realistically achieved and some failure would have to occur even before any of the policies had been put into action.
Here's what a star student thought of this essay
Quality of writing
The quality of written communication is average in this essay. As a piece of coursework, some mistakes are almost unacceptable. Such small mistakes leave a bad impression on some examiners and this is, of course, best to avoid. Needless to say, double (and triple) checking is very important and this is especially if the markscheme has marks for the quality of written communication! (They are 'silly' marks to lose!!)
Level of analysis
The answer is evident but the essay seems to try to address too much in one go. Certainly, according to the student's approach, it is important to address the other factors of employment demonstrating a successful economic policy but don't get too caught up on the one side. It is definitely more quality than quantity that gives way to a strong essay. The strengths of the essay is the detail that is given (there are many examples evident in the essay). This gives the argument more support but the student must remember to always fully develop the evidence they use.
Response to question
This is a very tough question to approach as the student has to address the question of whether Hitler had achieved full employment and then whether this dictates completely the success of the economic policy. The student has made a good attempt at answering the latter part of the question and has only skimmed over the former. This said, the argument is evident and validly supported in some cases. In attempting to address whether Hitler created full employment, a simple approach would to fully and explicitly state that, for the sake of argument, in the essay the argument that is presented is assuming that Hitler did (or did not) create full employment. Whilst this avoids a part of the question, it is perhaps a valid approach instead of simply skimming over it as this leaves out the main question - of course full employment was never achieved as Hitler never counted people like the Jews or the Gypsies, for example.